Sunday, July 27, 2008

The Long Ride Home

Greetings to all! We just arrived home from a weekend at my sisters’ camp in Mississippi. It was an awesome weekend with family! We just hung out, rode four wheelers, fished, and ate like kings. There has always been something about the woods that sets my heart free. I do not feel trapped by a fence and suburban living. My mind and heart are free to roam where they may. My cell phone was dead and my computer was in my briefcase in my truck, and it was wonderful. No thoughts of work, bills, or anything else that ravages my mind on a daily basis. I thought about Cate often, but they were different thoughts, they were peaceful thoughts. Our families have truly been such a great blessing during this time, they let us talk if we want to talk and they do not ask us, “how we are doing?” They know that if we want to talk about Cate or about our hearts we will.
As we began our drive home my heart began getting heavy. The memories and the pain of Cate’s absence grew stronger. When I was a kid, as I wrote about in a previous blog, my mom and I would fight like cats and dogs mainly over her drinking. It would usually end the same way every time with me slamming something and walking out getting on my bike and riding away. I would just ride for hours, sometimes I would end up at a friend or a family member’s house, or sometimes I would just ride. The whole time I was riding the world was “good,” but when I would turn my bike back towards home I would be filled with all the emotions I had before I left, anger, sadness, and helplessness. It would all come flooding back, filling my heart and soul like a levee break. I have experienced that same occurrence many times over the last year. When I would be at work everything was fine, but when I would turn my truck back towards home all the emotions over Cate, her heart defect, her upcoming surgery would rage in my heart and I usually would arrive home in not the happiest mood. My poor wife, she has to deal with me ALL the time, that girl is going straight to heaven for sure.
This morning as we were driving on the interstate heading back home I felt so sad. I missed Cate, I missed her car seat being in the middle of our other two hooligan’s seats and them talking to her and making her laugh. Oh how Dude could make her laugh, at times he would make her laugh so hard that the rest of us would start laughing too. I knew that we were coming back to a house that was full of her memories that would just fall out like an overstuffed closet when the backdoor opened. I had just had this wonderful weekend with my sisters and brother-in-laws filled with laughter, scrabble, celebrity gossip, stories, and horseshoes, which I am sore from, aint that ridiculous. It was just an amazing weekend and not an hour after leaving I was right back to where I was on Friday before we left, heartbroken and helpless.
It is hard to believe it has been a month since Cate’s passing. It feels like it has been an eternity and a blink of an eye since she filled, or should I say overflowed her baby swing. Reality has set in that is for sure and if you read Ali’s blog then you know of the pain that she is experiencing. Our kids are still hurting, even yesterday sweet little Ella woke from her nap in a rather melancholy mood and of course I do not handle whining well so I was quick to fuss at her about trivial things that she could not do because she can be hard headed like her daddy. She went in the camp and sat in a chair and just cried. I went in to see about her and FINALLY asked what was wrong, to which she looked at me with tear-filled eyes and said, “Daddy, I miss Cate, I didn’t want her to leave us.” My heart was immediately filled with pain as I watch my little girl grieving over the death of her sister. I pulled her close to me and told her that I missed Cate too and I didn’t want her to leave us either. They all are hurting and as I watch and pray ferverently for them and try my best to lighten the cross that they are all carrying I know that this is just part of the process and it is just the road that we must walk right now, but it is a painful one. We are and will be a stronger family because of Cate. We are still and will continue to cling to the Cross of Jesus Christ right now. Someone included a quote of Mother Theresa of Calcutta in a card they sent us and I wanted to share it with you all as right now I find a real comfort in knowing that Christ is very close to us during this painful time. Mother Theresa said, “Pain, sorrow, suffering is but the kiss of Jesus. A sign that you have come so close to Him that He can kiss you. May God give you all the courage to accept your cross with resignation and love in union with the passion of Jesus. God Bless you.” We will accept and embrace this cross knowing that our God loved us enough to lower Himself to become Man and to endure the Cross to pay a debt that humanity could not. We will let Christ kiss us and be close to us right now because we need him more than we need our next breath. Please remain with us in prayer, and know that we love to hear stories of how Cate has impacted your life or how you have used her for an intercessor in Heaven, it truly helps us bear this cross knowing that there is a bigger picture that God is still creating through the loss of Cate. We still have some prayer cards if you would like one please just send us your mailing address to We love you all and pray for you often. Much love, The Cantrells

I also am sad to say that I will be attending the wake tonight for sweet Baby Cooper, he passed away last Wednesday night. I asked Cate to meet him at the gates of heaven and show him around. He and Cate are now causing a ruckus together in Heaven. I am saddened for his parents and his family who now have to walk this road that we are on. I wish this pain on no one. Please pray for his parents and family as the mourn the loss of their precious Cooper.


Anonymous said...

well today i am ashamed to say that i have been the brat of all brats, but instead of brat insert another b-word. anyway, as i sat to read your blog, i have to go and say i am sorry to my family for my ugliness...thanks for reminding me in a way that only you can...loving you guys today...i was having a "woe is me, my life is horrible" day today, and then reading more about your sweet children and you guys hearts, and then baby cooper, shame on me..shame on me..


Anonymous said...

My heart and prayers go out to you and Ali and your children. I know there are no words to make any of this easier, just know you are not forgotten.

Anonymous said...

You all continue to be such a beautiful inspiration to me. I have been touched deeply by yours and Ali's words. Please know that you are not alone and so many have continued this journey with you. Many blessings and prayers to your lovely family.

Crystal said...

WOW, that was awesome, thank you both for leaving such beautiful messages. I am just getting back from vacation and haven't read in a week. I was itching to get on the computer to catch up on the blog. I'm so glad Ali decided to write, I was very curious of how she feels. Thanks again for sharing ya'lls lives with us all. I will keep praying for you and your family. May God bless all of you in every way you need and of course deserve.

Crystal Judice

Anonymous said...

Dear Charlie and Ali,
I lift you up just about every day, in prayer, and just ask God to hold you and comfort you. It is amazing to me how much your family stays on my heart and how connected to you I feel....and I know this is true for so many other people, too.
You asked, Charlie, for us to let you know how Cate impacted our lives. Her prayer card stays in my Magnificat. I look at her precious face every morning, knowing--without a doubt--that she was in fact "His servant from the womb"...called from birth, His "polished arrow". She literally pierced my heart...which means it is intact...not shattered, as I had feared.(Can't break shattered glass, right?) She is my hope, my reassurance, that He calls us all by name--that what looks like pain, what feels shattered, is in fact, His kiss. It is His Grace.
And so on the days when I hurt so much, when breathing in hurts in my chest, I think of you. I offer up any pain that I feel for you and Ali--for your agonizing journey(against which mine seems so small)...and I carry my own hurt as a way of lightening yours--a small gift to you--and that becomes my prayer for the day. It takes the focus off of me...and becomes a means of lightening your load a little. I humbly walk right beside you and will keep working to embrace the cross I've been given.
Thank you for that gift!
Much love to you both!

Anonymous said...

well I could just write exactly what Maria wrote! I have had such a rough day and I totally took it out on my family and reading your blog just reminded me that when I am suffering there is no need to make everyone around me suffer as well!
Teresa Clark

Anonymous said...

I just wanted to say that I really do believe that I am a becoming a better mom through all of this with Cate and with you and Ali. Not that I thought I was a bad mom but I had my moments when I was just freaking out over anything that my children did. I still have my moments but not as many and I catch myself now and find myself saying how can we make this situation better and lets see if we can keep it from happening again (and when I say again I mean minutes from the first time)
example today in church which is always and adventure for our family. Our youngest decided that she was going to be loud and do everything that she shouldn't (let's just say I broke a sweat in church today :)
well i would normally be in such a bad mood after church and be asking myself why i even attended and that I would not do this again for a while but today was different I found myself kind of catering to her and if I had to walk outside or let her feel like she was in control I did and I found myself laughing about it after church.
sorry i am rambling on but I just feel like you and Ali should definitely know that your family has made me feel like a better person......

Love you and pray for you daily....

BreezieGirl said...

My prayers are still with you... I received Cate's prayer card and am so touched to have received one. Thank you! What a beautiful little angel!

My prayers will also be with Baby Cooper's family, I pray that your families can lean on each other.

Pat Broussard said...

Baby Cate interceded for me and a wonderful miracle took place. I will share it with you one day when I see you.

I read of the miracles just within you. Through the trials of Cate's short life you have become a better father, more loving husband and better friend.

My prayer is that your home will be a place of comfort to you and your family.

I love you guys. Thank you both for sharing your hearts.

Lila Lambert said...

Just as the leavening yeast, though hidden, transforms the mass of dough; so did, Cate transform the masses...

Geralyn said...

Charlie & Ali,

We know that each day brings new challenges for all of us. We hope you can draw strength in the fact that through your witness--the joy, fear, anger, messiness, questions and hope--you have made the world a much smaller place by drawing together people who never knew how much they needed each other. Know that arms from across the globe are here to help lift you up, provide a virtual hug, shelter you from a bit of rain, stir along in the murkiness with you, and even drag you along on the days when simply getting out of bed seems like an insurmountable challenge. It's easy to be faith-filled when times are easy, but true inspiration comes from those who find faith in the most difficult of times. Know that you are loved, and that by sharing your journey, you are completing the circle of arms across the globe as you reach all of us.

We love you guys.

Chris, Geralyn & Ashleigh

Kayla Gaspard said...

I work at Vermilion Catholic and our faculty retreat next Wednesday will be taking us to the Fr. Seelos shrine in New Orleans. I will definitely be saying some extra prayers for you guys while I am there. Let me know if you want me to bring any specific intentions for your family or bring anything back for ya'll! Love and prayers for both your family and baby Cooper's.

Kristen Dunbar said...

Charlie, thank you for sharing your heart again. Our prayers are still with you. Also, thank you for your presence yesterday and today. Our family is so grateful. Please send sweet Ali our love, and I'm holding Ella close to my heart. God Bless.


Megan Perkins said...

Beautiful words from the both of you, Ali and Charlie. You remain in our prayers as you walk this road of pain and suffering.

And I once again thank you from the bottom of my heart for sharing this journey with us. You are two very special human beings and are incredibly blessed to have each other.

We love you!
The Perkins

marsha said...

Charlie and Ali, This past weekend was so very special to me and my family. Having you guys there meant so much to us. I enjoyed our time together...our laughs, our talks, our quiet times. I continue to pray for you and your family. I am here for you always. Love you...Marsha

TracyQ said...

I know I can't understand your pain, I can only imagine it. But know from Amherst, NY (next to Buffalo, NY), that prayers are being forwarded to you (and Cooper's family) via our beautiful Blessed Mother Mary. May you be comforted in a way you can't even yet imagine, and may your pain of the cross to which you are all bearing be lessened by the support, love, and prayers that are being lifted up on your behalf. Cate blessed the world, and continues to bless it from Heaven. What a gift, and what a blessing her life is to all of us!

With Love in Jesus,
Tracy Q

Anonymous said...

Charlie and Ali,
I wanted to share with you how Baby Cate touched my life (and continues to )....she taught me to appreciate the important moments in enjoy the laughs as well as the cries, to love the new smiles as well as the afternoon whinings, and make the most of each moment with my family! I've also gained a newfound respect and love for the power of prayer...she taught me a new way to let God in and to love what He reveals to us throughout our life experiences.
Charlie and Ali, THANK YOU both for being an inspiration, THANK YOU for sharing Baby Cate.....and THANK YOU God for the Cantrells' HERE'S to Baby Cate, to letting God in, and to loving more each day ALL of those moments in life!

Breyan and family