Greetings to all! This is a tough one to start because I feel like I am really putting our hearts out there, but I need to write about it because this is kind of like my therapy. I also ask that there be no “advice” left in the comments this is just my feelings today ,words of support are fine just no advice please. I would normally not ask this but that is just how very close to my heart that is this.
Ali and I had a WONDERFUL evening last night we sat on our balcony and just talked for hours. We covered an array of topics from budgets, to work, to the kids school and of course our precious Cate. I had gone back inside to check on the kids and then came back outside to meet Ali. As I sat down she had “that look” on her face. The look that every man knows, “Oh no, here it comes!” We do not usually know what “it” is but we know that it is going to be big and so we clinch our teeth real hard and wait for the question that ALWAYS follows, “Can I ask you a question?” We are trapped, there is no other response than “yes” and this is how quickly a woman can back us simple creatures, men, into a corner so there is no way out. It is like that Twix commercial where the guy is shoving both candy bars into his mouth at the same time and the announcer says, “Need a minute?” That is exactly how guys feel and you ladies do it with such easy and beauty that we are obliged to listen to the question that is about to bring up some kind of emotion inside of us. We do not know what that emotion is going to be so we nod our head in painful surrender in the yes motion and wait.
Finally after what felt like an eternity she asked, “Are we done having children?” It was like a cannonball hit me dead in the chest. The question that has loomed in my heart since all of this began. It is a question that I have asked myself numerous times over the past month, but I sure as heck was not bringing it up, not right now anyway, maybe like it TEN YEARS. I know my wife and I knew that when she was ready to talk about it she would. As the depth of that question penetrated my heart my eyes filled with tears. Ali and I have always been open to children. We had one miscarriage and three kids in five years. That means that Ali was pregnant more than she was not in the first five years we were married. Pregnancy, although unexpected at times, was always a joy for us, well I say “us,” I really did not have to do much during the whole thing, but we love each one of our gifts that our God has given us, even our little Rachel, she was our first that we miscarried. On the anniversary of her passing we go out to breakfast in memory of her and to celebrate the very short time she was with us.
After Cate’s death, things have felt real different, pregnancy feels unimaginably scary. I remember when Ali was pregnant with Ella, God began to reveal to my heart that I was going to experience a new love, one that I had never experienced before, the love of a father and boy did I! I remember seeing each of my children when they were seconds old and LOVING THEM, I mean lay down my life kind of love and I did not even really know them yet. They had not “done” anything to make me love, that fact that they existed provoked love in my heart.
Love is always a risk. It is honestly a crazy reality if you think about it. You put all of yourself out there to be hurt, rejected, and let down, but at the same time you also open yourself to the opportunity to experience real joy, peace, comfort, encouragement, and life. If we do not ever make ourselves vulnerable to love then we will never experience these wonderful realities that spring forth from the act of loving. When Cate died I felt as though a part of my fatherly love was just crush, robbed, and obliterated. If you can remember back to your first “love” and your first break up, do you remember swearing off the opposite sex? Whether it was, Boys are stupid! Who needs them? or Girls are just ridiculous, hanging out with the guys is more fun away. All because you put yourself out there in an act of love, as young as it may have been at the time, and you were hurt, you were let down. As silly as it sounds that is the way I feel RIGHT NOW. I feel hurt, I feel let down and so my reaction is to avoid what hurt me, a baby. I am honestly scared to risk loving again right now. I do not want to try to “replace” Cate and I am scared out of my mind of hurting this bad again. I know that in no way was Ali asking to get pregnant today, tomorrow, or next week, but I know there will come a time when I think she will want to get pregnant again. My stomach is tightening even as I am writing these words, but I know that in time God will heal this hurt and feelings of being let down. I know that in time He will ease the fear of loving again.
After talking to Ali last night I realized that I have to begin to invite God into this specific hurt. That I cannot and will not let there be a wall built that protects this hurt. If I do that then I do not allow God to take me into the middle of that hurt and show me that He is and has been in the middle this pain the entire time. I know that this is what I must do if I am to allow the healing to begin. I believe that there is a new love to be experienced from all of this, just as God revealed to me that I would experience a new love with the birth of Ella. I believe that this pain will birth a new love in my life and so I open my heart, broken as it may be to the Divine Healer and the one who IS Love. Please pray for this specifically for Ali and I for this healing as well as if and when it is time for God to bless our family with another child we are ready, eager, and welcoming. We love you all so very much and continue to ask that you remain with us in prayer. Much Love, The Cantrells