Greetings to All! These pass few days have been getting adjusted to our new "normal" life. For those of you who know us personally, you know that we have never been, "normal." It has also been a time of becoming aware of how each of us as Husband and Father, Wife and Mother, Son and Brother, as well as Daughter and Sister are dealing with this grieving process. We all are doing it very uniquely although we are all walking the same road. We have had to come to understand and to respect each other's personal process of dealing with our loss.
I want to back up a few years to when Ali and I first were married. We had made a decision that we would always be a family of gratitude, with others, but even more consciously, with each other. We always say "please" and we always say "thank you" ALOT! And we do not only say that we are "sorry" if we hurt or offend someone in our family. We also ask for their forgiveness. Sometimes, it’s given quicker than others:) Even with our children if we lose it with them we will go back to them apologize and ask their forgiveness.
My mother was diagnosed with Cancer four years ago, I am an only child, and Ali and I were living in Houston, TX at the time, while my mother was still back here in Louisiana. Once diagnosed, she moved in with our family while she was receiving treatment in Houston. For those of you who knew my mom, she could be a tough old bag when she wanted to be. She was very honoree and stubborn MOST of the time, I can't imagine where I get it from:) And it took some adjusting for all of us, her having lived alone since I had moved out and us being newlyweds, new parents, and having two mothers in the house, but we continued our families tradition of gratitude and asking forgiveness during that whole journey. As you can imagine there were moments for all us being, stress, tired, a little put out, but we strived for it anyway. As time went on I saw a softening in my mother. She began to say please and thank you, and asking for forgiveness ALOT! One night her and I sat outside my home in Houston and she ask for FORGIVNESS, for things in the past that had happened between her and I, both us sat there with tears streaming down our faces, and I told her, that I had forgiven her years ago, but I was SO GRATEFUL, to hear her say that. She died only a month later, but there was nothing left unsaid between her and I. All wounds had been healed between us and I don't wish there was anything else that I should have said.
Here we are again only three years later, walking the road of mourning once again. As I sat back the other night reflecting on my family and how each of us was mourning differently, I realized that we must do, what we have always done. Be gracious and be willing to ask for forgiveness. As a Father, the things that tug on my heart strings or make me angry over Cate's death are going to be VERY different than what pulls on Ali's heart strings or makes her angry about Cate's death. And the same goes for Ella and Charlie. We are all processing and coping with this time VERY differently and we cannot become impatient with one another, for that will only create a divide and set us back. There must be a mutual admiration and respect for one another, something that we have always strived for, but now it is a little more important. I truly believe it is part of the glue that continues to unite our family as the storm rages on. So, if right now, Ali struggles seeing little babies, I have to allow her “her mourning” and strive to not get impatient with that. If the kids want to carry around a framed 8x10 of Cate and talk to her and sing songs to her, Ali & I can't get frustrated with their processing. If I want to shoot guns and hang out with the boys from time to time, Ali strives to allow me my time to mourn and process. We all are going to do it differently and that is ok. And when we get short or impatient with one another, we need to simply ask for forgiveness and not let anything get a foothold in the door of our family. We must remain a united front that is moving forward toward our goal of being reunited with our girl one day in Heaven and we will not let anything, including our pride, mine especially, get in the way of that.
I know it may sound like a small thing but "please", "thank you", and "I ask your forgiveness" are some of the key things that keep our family what it is today and will continue to keep it that way as we walk this road. Small acts that have a big impact on the life of a family! We ask that you pray that we remain in mutual admiration towards each other as we mourn our beautiful Cate!
I want to leave you with this story that Ali told me last night that LITERALLY, I was like WOW, from the mouth of babes. Ella, our oldest is quite the little artist, she get ALL of that from her mother. She loves to draw pictures of our family. There is actually one on the flicker account that she drew the day we brought Baby Cate home from the hospital, www.flickr.com/photos/cantrellkids. In Ella's drawing Cate has ALWAYS been a little swaddled up baby in the picture down around our feet. The other day Ella, was at my in-laws, and was drawing pictures of the family. She drew one of the family and Nana, Ali's mom, was asking her about it. Ella told her who everyone was, Daddy, Mommy, Dude, Ella, and Cate, but this picture was different than any picture Ella had ever drawn before. You see in this picture she and Cate were holding hands and they were the SAME size. She told Nana, that Cate wasn't a baby anymore that she was a big girl like Ella and that she could now run and play! Wow, tell me that God doesn't speak to the heart of Children!!! If you would like a prayer card from Baby Cate's Funeral please see the Previous Blog Post "In Addition" Much Love, The Cantrells