Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Life in the Here and Now...A Mother's Heart

Matter of the heart come easily…however, putting them out there for the world to read is quite a stretch for me. Thanks for listening.

A dear friend, who has recently lost a daughter, shared with me that the grief process is not one of those things that you can check off your list and say…yahoo, I am finished with the anger stage, what is next…she told me that she learned that we won’t get a gold star at the end, and that we will continue to jump back and forth from stage to stage because… well, you never really finish. This grief will continue to be a lifelong process, but she did promise it gets better.

We have heard it before, that “time” will heal you. And to “them...whoever they are” I say that on Thursday it will be a month since Cate died, and “time” is sure taking a long time to show up. Days seem to go on forever, and the tough moments take an eternity to pass. I sit and sob through this soul-shattering experience and wonder what the lessons to be learned will be. And, I am trying to be open to learning them. Charlie asked me the other day if I was praying; he wanted to make sure that I am inviting God into my heart, and to be open to His healing powers and graces. I told him that I really wasn’t praying, and that I was really pissed off at God. I had never been so faithful, I had never been so devoted to prayer, nor had I ever been willing to sacrifice so much for His greater glory…only to feel completely let down. I was quick to tell Charlie that it is so painful to pray, and that I fear that praying right now might actually require even more out of me…and that God would ask even more of us. “I can’t do it,” I told him. With all of the intense anger and grave sadness, it takes all of my physical and emotional energy that I have to just get out of bed in the morning. I told him that often my day of suffering is offered up, and that is really all the praying that I can muster.

It is difficult and trying each day to answer the same questions from Ella & Dude, about “why can’t we see Cate?” and “why do Jesus and Mary get to take care of her?” and “where is heaven…is heaven in the clouds” … AAAHHH! I can hardly understand any of this myself, imagine trying to explain it our children. It gets tough somedays to be available to two kiddos who are struggling to “figure out” their way through this grief. Ella, in her sorrow, cries often and wants to spend countless hours at the cemetery coloring with chalk on Cate’s grave, blowing bubbles for her, and bringing her flowers. She and I spent the morning there on Saturday, we walked and looked at flowers, and every so often we would happen upon a child’s grave, and she was so delighted that Cate would have a friend. Precious to come from a four year old, and devastating that she should need to know of death and grief so young. For Dude it is a bit different, he can be both raging and soft-hearted…He will throw play dough and kill lizards in the yard one minute, and the next he wants to be hugged and held. A friend of ours brought her infant son over to our house a week ago, and Dude just wanted to take care of him, and rub his head, and talk to him like he was so accustomed to doing with Cate. My heart broke, and I cried for days after. Our kids are definitely our greatest joys and our greatest distraction right now, but I feel it is such an unfair journey that they are forced to walk. I believe that no child should be robbed of their security, as ours have unfortunately been. And unless you have walked this road as a young sibling, you can’t begin to imagine how much innocence is lost.

What is also so unnerving about this process is that it isn’t “pretty, and it can’t be hidden.” I have worked a long time to try to shelter my heart from the “ugly & messiness” that life can show. I would chose to focus my energies on the positive and the “neatly packaged” lessons that life was teaching me. With friendships I would often skim the surface of issues, and seldom let others deep into my heart. My tried & true way of “guarding” my heart is, however, starting to unravel. I originally thought that getting back to routine and staying focused on the “positives” in life would keep me moving forward. But grief had a way of showing up and slowing me down to an almost standstill, and let me tell you it isn’t “pretty.” It has shaken me down to my core and even to do the everyday “usual” stuff is so unbearably painful. Changing the toilet paper roll means opening the cabinet where Cate’s diapers are, putting away dishes means seeing her empty bottles. Simply going into our bedroom, means walking through her nursery. I still sit in her nursery’s rocker and rock most days, and sing to no one but myself. I glance into her bed each morning trying so hard to remember what it looked like to see her there. There are days that I take out her clothes and refold them, not to torture myself, but to hang on to the scent of her and the memory of the days she wore them. At moments I cling to every picture I can find, and other moments I have to turn them upside down and can’t even begin to process it. I am so deeply saddened, and so visibly hurt by her loss. I find myself with little energy to answer the phone, check emails, pay bills, or fold clothes. I can’t bring myself to be with (or even talk to) friends who have babies, or who complain about trivial stuff, and I am tired of having to answer… “How are y’all…or better yet…are you having a good day?” So, I avoid the grocery store, the post office, the bank, etc… at all cost, but when duty calls, and I must go I usually wear my trusty UL baseball cap, keep my head down, and avoid eye contact at all cost. Grief is a very lonely place to be, but the energy that it takes to make small talk or to share is incredibly draining.

This grief journey is so different and so individual. Although Charlie and I both witnessed the same child suffer, and we both watched the same doctors perform the same tasks, and we both left the hospital together, we are mourning Cate so differently. I mentioned to Charlie that being back home and having to get back to the business of life is much harder than watching Cate struggle in the hospital. It was easy to feel God’s graces during her hospital stay and the funeral services. I felt that God showed up BIG for us (during her burial) and allowed us to truly celebrate Cate’s life. And even though I know of His presence now it does feel so far away and so less tangible. It is a whirlwind of emotions and we are ALL experiencing them, at different times and in different ways.

Along with this time of never knowing more misery, I, have also never know more love. In the midst of this terribly trying time I still cling to Charlie, and we cherish our kids more every day. I have finally learned to lean into the wisdom of my parents. I have shared with my mom that I have never needed her as much nor appreciated her as much as I do now. She has become one of my best of friends. I pray that my sisters, my children, or anyone else will never need to know this wisdom of hers and now mine. It is not my parents’ experiences or pains, but rather their hope and joys that continue to renew in me a peace that … time and God will heal us.

And still through all of this pain…like it or not… there is still a real life to be lived. I don’t want to look back in ten years and think that I just existed through this time. Most days it is a decision to live well and search for the beauty that life still offers. Other days it comes a little easier and I can buy milk and cheerios without a baseball cap. But to each day that has passed so far and to all that are to come… I am committed to welcoming the daily joys and will continue to attempt to graciously invite in the grief. I don’t desire to run from this time & I sure can’t make it pretty or tie it with a bow, but I choose to not to just exist. So, here’s to living life, living it well, and inviting God in!

To my friends, I ask you to be patient with me. Unlike Charlie, I often don’t hold my heart up for others to see. I shelter it carefully and I have protected it for a LONG time. It has been bumped and bruised before, but never shattered. I am still searching on the ground for any remaining pieces, please be patient. I will come up soon, and need your help mending & reassembling. I can’t thank you all enough for your supportive love, your respect, and your continued prayers. I love you dearly, Ali

61 comments:

Anonymous said...

Ali,
I just wanted to share a piece of beauty that someone once shared with me.

Nothing sparkles like shatter glass.

You mentioned that your heart had never been shattered before and that thought came to mind. You are a beautiful daughter of God! Thank you for being real and honest.
All love,
Kristi

Claire said...

Ali-
Just a reminder that I, like most others, I'm sure, am here and have a huge longing to "help" -- to do anything at all, big or small, to possibly ease one tiny bit of the pain even if just for a moment.

I hope that by now this goes without being said, but call/text me anytime. I won't even ask how you're doing, but I'll be there...even if it is just to change the toilet paper roll :-)

You're beautiful, thanks for sharing your heart with us. Love you.
Claire

Anonymous said...

Ali,

I have struggled these past weeks in search of the right words, but there are none, and so, just a BIG HUG and prayers. Hang in there.

From Irene - Mommy of two little girls living with tetrology of Fallot in Georgia

Anonymous said...

Ahhhh. A mother's heart. Thank YOU for taking the time to write! I have often wondered about your side...your sufferings and graces in the midst of this. I love the cyber-world. It is "safer" to "talk" here sometimes. Thanks for letting us see the truth of your heart's ramblings in these past days. You are a witness in all your suffering. Just BE and God will use you, heal you, fill you with His graces. Thanks for just "being" with us today. I will take your words with me throughout the day!!! You guys have my prayers. Sara Boster, Atlanta, GA

gina said...

WOW!

I wish I was your close friend so I could just sit with you and say nothing. Sometimes, like this, there really is nothing to say that will make you feel better. Just sitting would be nice.

know of course that you are in my thoughts and prayers.

Anonymous said...

Ali,
As I sat reading your blog this morning, crying, and aching for you, brings me to a loss for words. I am continuing my daily prayers for you, Charlie, and your family.

Rachel Istre said...

Ali,

I ache for you everyday and pray for you and your family in my daily rosary. I love you very much. You have the best mother in the whole world. She is absolutely amazing in times of need. I know this for a fact. Cleave to her and your father during this time of suffering. I will continue to pray for you everyday. You are never out of my thoughts. I love you.

Rachel

Anonymous said...

Well done! You have a beautiful and honest spirit. Your journey is so real and has forced me to appreciate the little things that I typically complain about. Thank you, Thank you, Thank you!

Jolene said...

Ali,
You are an amazing woman and mother. It must have taken alot for you to lay your heart out there for others, but maybe that is how God is going to use you and help you to heal. You may never know what or how your words have helped someone else. I continue to pray for you, your kids and Charlie to continue to heal separately and together. I ask that God give y'all what you need each day to get by. God bless.
Love,
Jolene

Colleen said...

Ali,
First of all, I love you and your family and we've never even met. You were so nice as to send me a prayer card of Baby Cate, and my whole family prays to Saint Cate the Great daily.

I have absolutely no idea what you must be feeling, so I won't even try to understand. All I know is that as a mother, our main goal in life is to get our children and ourselves to Heaven, and you have already done that with your beautiful Cate.
You have a wonderful saint praying for you from up above, where she is 100% content and loved. I hope one day you will feel this same peace and happiness.
May our Mother Mary comfort you during these hard times, she too knows what it was like to lose a Child.
You guys are all in my thoughts and prayers, thanks for everything you do!

Lila Lambert said...

Ali, there are no words to help the pain I read in your words and what Ella and Dude are feeling, as a mother you want to help them when you are struggling to get by...all I know is your weakness is an invitation to His strength, your littleness calls out to His greatness. Your nothingness is irresistible to His "Allness". Your very need of Him is the perfect complement to His desire to give of Himself completely to you and to fill you....Hang in there...

Marsha said...

Wow Ali...that was amazing...truly amazing. Although you do not feel strong some days...you are the strongest woman I have ever met. That incredible strength along with your children and your husband will get you through this dark time. I am here for you always...with or without the baseball cap..anytime, anywhere, for whatever reason. Love you, Marsha

Anonymous said...

oh, ali...a mother's heart is such an ocean of emotions, longings, wishes, aches, and pains that we often try to keep hidden from the world...thanks for opening up yours and sharing! I know you don't feel it now, but your strength is there..its in your words...God may not be as far off as it feels. I have no "words of wisdom" to make it "feel better", but I will continue to pray hard for you and now I know "how" to pray for you...thanks for opening your heart, it was real and honest and beautiful!
Love always,
Breyan and family

Anonymous said...

Ali, you are AMAZING. Even though you don't feel strong at times, know that your strength has been shining through since the beginning of this journey. Give yourself more credit :) Yes, it will take some time, but you will one day have an easier time with life. I pray that day comes soon and gracefully. When Ella & Dude are sad, just hold them both tight. Hugs always makes things a little easier to get through. You are in my prayers daily. Thanks for being so honest. Now I know exactly what to pray for.....keep going strong Ali!!!!!

Love you dearly :)

Anonymous said...

Ali-
You are in my thoughts and prayes in a special way today. I pray that Our Lady hold you in her arms and comfort you as you comfort your children now. I pray that you feel God's presence in you home. I pray for the needs of your heart. Wishing I could do more.
With Love,
Amanda

Helene said...

Thank you so much for sharing with us your inner-most feelings. I sit here at work trying not to let my tears spill over on my face. I am so sorry for your loss, and for the empty place that Cate has left.

May God bless you and keep you! May He make His face shine upon you and give you His peace!

Anonymous said...

Ali,
WOW. You are amazing. I know there is nothing that I can do to help and no words that I can say to relieve the pain...but know that you and your family are in my heart and prayers. I think of you daily and hope as time passes you will once again find your heart full of happiness and love, with Cate helping out from above. I just want to let you know that I am here in case there is anything I can do.
Love,
Casey

Anonymous said...

Ali,
I may never know you, but I feel so honored to know of you and to be able to learn from you. I hold tighter to my children each day because of your broken heart and I know it is no solace right now to know that you helped heal so many while you are broken, but the Lord is using you just as He used Cate....to be an intrument of His peace. God Bless you my sister in Christ, May our God pour His Mercy and Peace over you. JESUS I TRUST IN YOU!! YSIC, Melanie

Sharon in Michigan said...

Ali, I have no words of wisdom for you, nor do I think you were looking for any. All I have to offer is my continual prayer that God will hold you ever so tightly in His arms and surround you with His peace as you struggle through this painful period in the desert. I only know you through this blog, and wish I could be there and be a friend to you, but I am sure you do have friends there who will understand your need to be alone, or at least not fill silence with small talk, at this time.
Do your kids watch My Friends Tigger and Pooh by any chance? There is an episode in which Eeyore feels sad, and all of his friends try in vain to find something to cheer him up. In the end they discover that it's okay to feel sad sometimes, and that often the best way to help is just to quietly sit with your friend when they're sad, and just BE with them. Wish I could BE with you; please remember that I, and so many more people who care, ARE with you in spirit, every hour of every day. God bless.

alison said...

Ali,
You emulate so much courage and sincerity. Grief is not pretty, no body is "good" at it, however, "if we do not grieve, we stay frozen in pain; only by grieving can we enable our lives to continue."
You are doing the work, baseball cap or not, and your honesty is God's presence, whether or not you feel Him or not.
I will continue to check in on you and am available (small talk not included :)
In my prayers,
love you all, alison

Lori, Willie & Anna said...

Ali,
I continue to pray for all of you and am giving thanks that you were able to open your heart to us. As another poster said, we wonder about your side. As I have learned in just a few short months, it's different when you are the Mama.

My prayer is that God will continue to hold you all in His arms and love the Cantrell family. I also pray that you all will find comfort in some small way each day. All of my co-workers are still reading the blog and praying, as are my parents.

Continued love and prayers,
Lori Thomassee

Anonymous said...

Ali,
You don't know me, but I continue to check for new posts. I was looking forward to reading your blog when Charlie mentioned it yesterday. His posts are so touching and I feel like I know you and your family. I got to hear how Charlie was doing and was looking forward to hearing from you. I continue to pray for you and your family. I can't imagine how you do it. I have 2 small kids of my own and I would probably be doing exactly what you are doing. I wish I could offer a hand, but it would be kind of hard living 2 hours away. But infact you do need one, please feel free to contact me via Claire (she is my husbands cousin). I look forward to reading new blogs and hearing new stories from Claire.
With Love,
Shannon

Anonymous said...

Ali,
I am so sorry for your loss and the pain that won't escape you. I have never been so affected by people I've never met, the way your family and story has affected me. The moment I heard of your story I felt a bond with you. My son was born in april with a birth defect, he was born without his left hand. I got depressed and felt victimized in a way. And my husband just acted so fine with everything and I went through so many emotions. But I learned that he is the glue in our family holding everything together including myself. If he broke down we all would. Now we are dealing much better, but now other difficulties have headed our way, and I'm not going to lie it's hard. But everyday I think of Cate, You, Charlie, Ella and Dude and I draw strength from your beautiful family. I too felt confused about god and everything when Cate passed, but I went to church for the first time in years. I had to make some sense of everything. I am so sorry for your loss and the pain that is following you. I have no clue what you are going through. But in someways I feel the kinship with you that our lives are not turning out the way we both planned. Not that we don't have great lives, but if something was going to happen to anyone in our family I would want it to be me, not my son. I sure the same way you feel for cate. If you ever want to talk, I would love that. Hang in there.
Julie Martin-jmartin@migincorporated.com

Anonymous said...

Ali,
You share so beautifully and honesty. Thank you for that. Know that you are still being prayed for and loved by all of cyberspace still following the journey of your family.

Anonymous said...

Ali,

When I read your words today, I just sat here kind of numb. I don't have the perfect words...really none of us do...no words will make any of this easier sooner than later for you. Keeping your emotions within the protected fortress of your heart is understandable...for many, it is self-preservation. It can be extremely scary therefore when the fortress walls start to crumble. My prayer for you today and every day will be that you feel more and more the love of your Father, comforting you and holding you through this pain. He loves you so much and He understands your anger at Him, your frustration and lack of patience with other's petty complaints, He understands your immense feeling of loss and your inability to pray right now, He understands your shattered hopes, and your darkest fears. He will continue to reach out to you and speak to you each and every day, Ali,...through the people on this blog....through your beautiful parents...through all your friends...through Charlie and definately through your children. Sometimes people are hurting so bad that they simply don't have the energy to pray. Allow us, your friends to double our efforts and pray "for you". I pray for a peace to envelope you "sooner than later" that you will have not believed could have been possible.

Jane W

Anonymous said...

I wanted to write to you today as a mother who is suffering too. My heart is breaking with yours and although we've never met, I feel as if our hearts are beating very closely together. May our pain unite others to Christ. Jesus I trust in you.

Angie Smith said...

hi ali...a sweet friend of yours sent me a link to your blog and i wanted to let you know i stopped by. i am praying for you, with the heart of a mother who lost a daughter a few months ago. please feel free to contact me anytime, i would be blessed to hear from you:)

www.audreycaroline.blogspot.com
angelac519@yahoo.com

god be near to you, ~angie smith

Anonymous said...

The book and tape at the following link might be helpful to you in this painful journey. http://womenofgrace.com/catalog/advanced_search_result.php?keywords=grief&x=0&y=0 Throughout life's ups and downs I always find it helpful hear how someone else did something or got through something. I am praying for peace for you.

God bless,
Barbara

jennie g said...

Sweet Ali,

I hurt for you every day. I was angry at God too when I found out about Cate's passing. I hope you don't feel like you are in the "Public Eye" when you go to the grocery store. I can go for you any time...I pass by your house twice a day and can drop off anything you need...no questions asked. I offered to bring Ella and Dude home yesterday from Mary's, but Ella wanted to walk that big block, not ride. We do not argue with "Princesses", so I bowed down to her. Dude was "rocking" my world, so to speak. Rocking me in the chair I was sitting in so hard...I obliged by flopping like a rag doll in the chair. They are a reflection of you and Charlie's kindness. I said to my husband, when I first met you that you were the most genuine person I had ever met. You are sooo loving and sweet and true. That is why I ache for you. Call me for anything you might need. When we saw you and the kids at the store I knew it was hard for you, that is why I didn't say much (just the hug/kiss). When we stepped out into the parking lot, there it was "Cate's rainbow". I believe that she sends us rainbows to let us know she is watching over us. Ainsley and Ethan swear that she is reaching down to them.
Much much love to you and your Cantrell Crew...Jennie Gary

Anonymous said...

Ali,

Thank you so much for opening your heart to everyone! It's so refreshing to hear how hard it is to do that. I can not understand the kind of grief you are experiencing, but I know how hard it is to put one foot in front of the other and do the day to day stuff when you are struggling! Hearing your words reminded me again that we are never alone in this journey of life... we often think we are, but when I hear your heart speak I know that I can relate and MANY other people are! So so encouraging to know we are all suffering, some more than others, but protecting our hearts really only makes the suffering more difficult! So thanks! I will try to be more open with my husband, family and friends and pray that you can do the same!!

Teresa Clark

nicole sue said...

ali,
you don't know me and probably never will. i do not have any children and haven't lost a child either. however, i did lose my youngest brother when he was 16, a week away from 17. a girl approached me at his funeral ... i had known her sister, who died at the age of 17. she said, "it takes time." i very distinctly remember her words and her kindness and credibility as she delivered those words. though i thought she was young and didn't have a clue, six years later, i have found that she was right. instead of thinking and paining for my little brother every minute of every day, i now think of him every day of the week. it's not that we want to forget our loved ones, it's just that time does allow our hearts to heal. so ... the recycled words of wisdom ... it takes time ... it just does.

Anonymous said...

Ali -
It is not just God who is cradling you in His palm but also Baby Cate. She lives on in you. You carry her spirit; her heart; her love. You are stronger than you realize and your strength is a gift to all of us. You and your family are in my daily prayers. Thank you.

they call me the boss said...

Continuing to pray for you and your family.

they call me the boss said...

http://www.audreycaroline.blogspot.com/
Ali- A friend sent me the link to this blog and I thought it might be of comfort to you. Like you this mother is amazing and is choosing to live not just exist.

Alicia said...

Ali,

“You promised me Lord,
that if I followed you, you would walk with me always. But I have noticed that during the most trying periods of my life there has only been one set of footprints in the sand. Why, when I needed you most, have you not been there for me?”

The Lord replied, “The years when you have seen only one set of footprints, my child, is when I carried you.”

You, Charlie, Ella and Dude are being carried. You can rely on our continued prayer. Your family is so very precious to us. Thank you for renewing our faith.

All our love,
Charles, Alicia and Jacob McDuffie

Tula Karras said...

"The Lord, the Eternal Priest, always blesses with the Cross" - St. Josemaria Escriva

all my love, tula

Donna said...

Ali,
A mother's grief is so different than a father's grief. My son passed away almost 19 months ago at age 8. There are no words that will make it better. Time does not make it better, Grace helps us deal with our grief differently. People often asked 'are you better yet or you knew this was coming so it shouldn't be this hard". Well meaning people but their words made it harder to grieve honestly.Many people do not want honest grief but pat responses.
My greatest prayer is that other parents do not have to watch their children suffer and die.
It took me a long time to feel welcome at church and feel God's presence. I, too, felt God's presence more in the hospital. There were way to many "coincidences" not be God's hand. Our son received his First Holy Communion and Annointing of the Sick exactly 8 yrs to the date he was bapitized by the same priest who had moved to another church several years before. Our son passed away the next day. Every time I take communion I am brought back to his last days and hours. I rejoice in the fact that he was able to participate in the Sacrament especially since he was unable to eat the last 2 1/2 yrs of his life. I am finally at the point I can take communion without crying.
My point is that God will help you through and prayer will come eventually.
It is always darkest before the dawn. My prayer for you is that each day you are able to rejoice in the small blessings in the day.

[A] final comfort that is small, but not cold: The heart is the only
broken instrument that works. ~T.E. Kalem

This is how I feel. My heart is broken without my son yet it keeps on beating.

Anonymous said...

Honesty....Beautiful. Thank you.
I love you.

~Tricia

Anonymous said...

Ali,
As I told you in the fabric store, I am at a lost for words. Know that I have been praying for you and your family.
Amy S.

Anonymous said...

Ali, You are in my prayers...you are in many many people's prayers. You can only go so far down before things start to look up again! Love you so much! Erin Dawson

Kayla Gaspard said...

So after I read your post last night, I pretty much begged, well maybe more like demanded, God to wrap you, Charlie, Ella, and Dude in His loving and healing embrace. I also told Him that He needed to let you FEEL His embrace. I told Saint Cate that she needed to demand this of God also. I ranted for awhile (and God allowed me to go on as long as I needed). When I finally quieted my heart, God gave me a peace knowing that ya'll are being taken care of. Easier said than done, I know. Please know that you are all in my prayers, but especially in my prayers from one girl to another. I pray that you feel the embrace of Our Lord and Our Blessed Mother.

Anonymous said...

Ali,

Noone knows a mother's heart except a mother and the love you feel for a child is one you will never forget. Cate is always with you, holding you in her heart.
We continue to pray for your family daily-I am proud of you for just being where you are right now and knowing that that's okay-baseball hat and all!

Nicky

Erica said...

Hi, Ali. You have been in my prayers every day. I can't imagine the state of your heart - it brings me to tears every time I try to imagine it. I pray that God gives you many moments of relief amidst the anguish.

I read your post yesterday morning and read this devotional a few hours later. God is good when he brings the perfect words directly to you. I hope it might help. This is from Cheri Fuller's The One Year Book of Praying Through the Bible.

````````````````````

The Holy Spirit helps us in our distress. For we don’t even know what we should pray for, nor how we should pray. But the Holy Spirit prays for us with groanings that cannot be expressed in words. And the Father who knows all hearts knows what the Spirit is saying, for the Spirit pleads for us believers in harmony with God’s own will. Romans 8:26-27

Have you ever just not known how or what to pray? Perhaps you have run out of words, or a situation has left you speechless or in so much pain that all you can do is groan. In Romans 8:26 Paul explains a prayer resource we may not realize we have or do not take advantage of: the Holy Spirit. When circumstances or pain leave us without words to pray, we can yield to God’s Spirit. This means that we do not pray out of our own understanding or try to figure out what to pray but we rest in the fact that he knows our heart and he knows the situation. Verse 27 says that the Father who knows all hearts also knows what the Spirit is saying on our behalf in the most baffling or distressing times. He makes prayers out of our tears, our sighs and our groanings. What a wonderful thing to know that the Holy Spirit is interceding and, even beyond that, pleading for us believers in harmony with God’s will. In addition, Jesus, at the right hand of the Father in heaven, the place of highest honor – is praying for us!

Let us pray: Thank you, Holy Spirit, for praying through us in perfect agreement with God’s will and, with Jesus, interceding for us at the throne of God. When we don’t know the words to say or have no words at all, you carry our sighs, groans and tears into God’s presence for us. What amazing grace!

This is the God-given revelation: that when we are born again of the spirit of God and indwelt by the Holy Spirit, He intercedes for us with a tenderness and an understanding akin to the Lord Jesus Christ and akin to God, that is, He expresses the unutterable for us. – Oswald Chambers

My heart aches with you.

Erica

Tara said...

Ali- Thank you for sharing with us. I am praying for you daily. I love you Ali- Tara

lindsey said...

Ali,

I feel as though I can somewhat understand what you are going through. I lost my mother when I was 10, to cancer. My heart goes out to you and Charlie, as well as your children. I just want you to know that as some days are easier to get through then others, that beauty lies in desolate places. I've found through the years that while the pain is still real, God continuously allows me to embrace suffering.

I pray that your family will be able to continue to dig deep for the hope and goodness that lie beneath suffering, just waiting to be uncovered. And I pray that your family will continue to be able to see Christ in the midst of everything. That His light will shine in the midst of darkness.

Know that Christ will continue to whisper the Truth over your hearts and that healing will come in His time.

Baby Cate is with you now more than ever and her heart is beating full of love for you, Charlie, Ella, and Dude in unison with Christ's for all eternity.

I will continue to pray,
Lindsey Lanier

Bartas in Texas said...

Hi Ali,

Thank you for your words and for finding the strength, however weak you may feel, to share your heart with us. You are immensely beautiful.

We cannot even begin to understand what you're going through. But you have surely touched our hearts, just as your beautiful baby girl Cate has. And we are ever grateful.

We continue to be united with you at the foot of the cross. We pour out our love and prayers over you.

with all our hearts,
Courtney & Jeremy

Anonymous said...

Thank you Ali! You are so real, continue to be yourself, continue to allow GOD into your heart although it may feel as though HE does not even exist.....be real to your feelings and if updating blogs helps (like journaling) you please continue to! Because I know for a fact, after reading your blog this morning, all my prayers of the day were lifted for you, your heart, your emptiness, your hurt and everything that I felt for you while reading your blog. May GOD contine to be with you each and every day! With many continous prayers for you, Charlie, Ella and Dude

Dixie :) said...

Dear Ali,
I was four years old when my baby brother died. I adored and loved him. My parents even let me name him. That was 44 years ago. I always felt like I had my own special angel in heaven and many times while growing up I thought I saw him in the crowd..as a grade schooler, teen or grown up..depending on what stage I was in life. When he died no one in our family was Catholic, but when he was close to death my very young mother HAD to have him baptised Catholic. As the years have gone by one by one our family has become Catholic.(still waiting on one brother!) My daughters and myself have all worked for the church as well. I like to think that my brother had a hand in all this. I know that your children will receive countless graces and blessings through their heavenly sibling. Don't worry they will be O.K.( I think God wants you to know that.)I am a teacher too and will keep you in my prayers as you begin the new school year. Just lean on Jesus's strong arms. He WILL hold you up. I remember not being able to pray when my daughter was diagnosed with MS. It does not compare to your sufferring, but I remember being VERY mad at God. It was sooooo difficult. Just know that there are ALOT of us out here lifting you up when you can not lift yourself. Much love to you.

Anonymous said...

ali
we have been friends for how many years now? and i truly feel that for the first time i know your heart, and that is a beautiful thing. God has a way of making all things new even in the midst of trials. i thank you for sharing your heart with us b/c you are calling us on in our own lives (how often to we say "i am great!" but aren't really having good prayer time at all.) your honest heart reminds us that we all struggle and its okay, but the realization of just how much we need him even when it hurts is what we often need to be reminded of. i say "i'm praying for you" all the time and it was with Cate that i not only followed through with that, but stepped up my prayer..and while we all have days when we say that just getting out of bed and being a nice person (this is my experience .ha) is the extent of my prayer, we also have days where the Lord renews our hearts and we fall deeper in love with Him...I love you so much Ali!

loveyou
maria walther

Anonymous said...

Ali,
We will continue to pray and lift you up through your struggle. I admire you for allowing us to see your "human" side and to share in your pain. There is a great deal of beauty in your honesty that is reflective of God's love and presence even though you are hurting so much. Keep doing exactly as you are doing and know that even in the times where you just can't find the words to speak to God, many others are speaking on your behalf.

Love and prayers,
The Melancon and Landaiche families

Sarah said...

www.caringbridge.org/visit/Jabinlawrence

From one of God's children to another...

Praying for your pain that you know that God's Grace and Mercy WILL carry you through.

Anonymous said...

Ali,
All I will say is I LOVE YOU.
Your friend,
Carla

Anonymous said...

You and your family have affected me so deeply. It's hard for me to put it into words. Baby Cate has brought me so close to God, closer than I ever thought I could be. Please know that your words touch my life, and the lives of so many more. I pray that God gives you strength and peace. Thank you for sharing your story with us.

Anonymous said...

Ali,
You are loved...you are in my prayers...please feel a big hug...

Betsy (and Trey and Fenton)

Anonymous said...

I am still young and I'll never know what it feels like to loose a child until it happens. I just want to let you know that I heard your husbands' talk at a R.I.S.E convention on Thursday. It changed my life and was a great to hear his testimony to the Lord's will. I do have your family and Baby Cate in my prayers. She's beautiful.

Mary Margaret Robichaux

Anonymous said...

Hi Ali....I've been thinking of you so much and lifting you up in prayer. I know that your days are probably long and sometimes even the "moments" may be long and unbearable. Just know that Tommy and I love you very much and are here for you. - Jane

kellysuch said...

I fell asleep last night in the middle of saying my prayers for you and the family. I'm so grateful that you have your mom and dad close by to share and lean on. Know that I am always with you, Ali, as a mom, a friend, a teacher, a daughter of Christ. If you need help with the classroom, just give me a shout;)
Kelly Stewart

Anonymous said...

Ali,
I know what you are going through. I've been there and only those that have walked in your shoes can only know the daily struggles. I can only promise you that it will get better! Everybody's "TIME" is different. I remember feeling angry with God. It was so hard to go to church without crying through the whole mass, feeling like he let me down. I didn't like being there. It's been 4 years since we lost Morgan and we have two girls now and a little boy on the way in 6 weeks and there are times when I think of her and cry. You will always have a broken piece in your heart with Cate's name on it. It hits you sometimes at the most bizarre times. YOu are not alone! Eventually you will be back to a new "Normal". Don;t be so hard on yourself. We are our own worst critics. Give yourself time to heal. You will forgive and you will know if its right to have another child or not. Just think how Cate would feel. She would want you to live life to the fullest because she is still so much apart of it. Hang in there and know once again you are strong and everyone is praying for your healing. In my thoughts and prayers,
from one mother who lost a child to another...PEACE!
Maddy McAnally

Anonymous said...

Hi Ali! It was such a joy to meet you at TIPS today. There was so much I wanted to say but I knew it wasn’t the time or place. I’ve been praying for you and your family for two months now and what a surprise it was when our paths crossed this morning. You are an inspiration to others! I think hearing your story and the words of Ella and Dude will help me when counseling grieving children at my school. A mother’s words are so much more powerful than anything I could have ever read in a book. I can’t begin to grasp what you guys must be going through but just know that God is using baby Cate and her story in ways you can’t even imagine. You all will continue to be in my thoughts and prayers!

Kristy

Anonymous said...

Ali,
I have been waiting for a quiet moment to read your blog. My daughter, Mary Hindelang, told me about it. I lost my little brother and saw my siblings grieve. It was traumatic. I always thought the worst part was that while we at the funeral, someone rushed home ahead of us and removed any trace of Robin from our house. When Mom arrived home, it was like he had never existed. In the following weeks, Mom and Dad and I (I was thirteen) would break down when we found his things that had been stored in the shed or the attic.
Just hearing your account of Cate's life around you, makes me forgive whoever did that because really there is no way to skip grief. Know that we are praying for you.

Also, I have asked Cate to ask Jesus to heal a little cancer patient in Mexico named Ashley. Her mom is believing for a healing in a situation that the doctors give no hope. The sad thing is that the mom has all but "given away" Ashley's baby sister and even resents the baby for interferring with Ashley's care. I know Cate absorbed so much love in her life, I am asking her also to pray that Ashley's baby sister can be loved.

I am honored to have been able to participate in prayer on your journey. "The arm of the Lord is not too short to save." He knows how hard it is for you, and He loves you in the midst of it. Ella and Dude are in our prayers too.

Anonymous said...

Ali,

We have never met but i admire you and your family. I hope that God continues to pour out his graces upon ya'll. I have to say that this totally sucks but i hope that some of the hurt will begin to heal.

In Christ,
Elizabeth Coleman