Monday, August 11, 2008

Dirt Filled Nails

Greetings to all! Ok guys I wish today I had some pretty flowery words to give you all, but I don’t. I just wanted to share my heart and where it finds itself over the past week. I have not written lately because honestly the messiness of grief has just overcome me and I have found it difficult to put into words or have the energy to sit down and write a blog, not to mention work got kind of crazy at the end of last week.

I feel as thought I have been struggling to keep my head above the water lately. I feel like there is a true and real battle raging in and for my heart. I am not giving in by any means, but at the moment I feel like my fingernails are full of dirt as I do my best to cling to hill the of the cross. Last week was probably the hardest week so far in this journey of grieving. There were two days that I sat at my desk and cried for most of the day. I cried over the fact that I miss Cate so much and I cried over the fact that I have REALLY been stinking it up as a husband and a father. I had my guys group last Thursday evening, which I have every other Thursday night. It is a sacred time for me and the men that sit at that table are sacred to my heart. They are they one’s that no me inside and out and have my back no matter how ugly life gets. We get together and play cards and whenever someone is ready to talk about what is going on in their heart we all just put our cards down and listen. We had been playing for a while when out of the blue one of my brothers just flat out asked me, “Ok, Charlie, seriously, How are you really doing brother?” I lost it right there, the tears came streaming down my face and I just shared with them for what felt like thirty minutes all the miseries that my heart is experiencing right now and they just listened, no one offered advice, no one tried to compare my suffering to what they are going through, the biggest brother, who sits at our table got up came behind me and wrapped his big burly arm around my neck tightly and just said, We love you man, and we are here for you. They then talked about how they didn’t know how I was doing it and didn’t know how they could do it if they were in my situation. Those where all nice words and good to hear but the truth is I feel like I am sucking it up big time right now and my heart is breaking even more because of it. I always try to do whatever I do the best I can and attempt to be great in whatever situation life brings my way. This particular situation just feels so much bigger than me. It feels at times and at the same time most of the time like I can’t even breathe because I feel like such am stinking things us so bad and I do not even know where to start to stop stinking it up.

As some of you may have heard Steven Curtis Chapman, a very popular Christian musician, lost his 5 year old daughter Maria in May in a very tragic accident. He and his wife were on Good Morning America the other day and a friend sent me a link to the interview. Although our situations are totally different and I have no idea what they are going through I saw a similarity in the way that he and his wife are handling their loss to how Ali and I are handling it. He seemed to be the strength, the one directing his family in Hope while in the public eye and his wife Mary Beth was so honest and beautiful and said, “I don’t care whose lives are touched or whose lives are changed by this story, at the heart of a Mom, I want Maria back.” These words just struck me to the very core and confirmed even more concretely that Ali’s heart just wants Cate back and there is nothing that I can do, nothing I can write, nothing on this earth that will change this. I have been so short with Ali lately, it doesn’t matter what she does, I get frustrated and yet I too feel like I can’t do anything right either. I find myself being very selfish, instead of generous, impatient, instead of patient, and harsh, instead of gentle. Then when I am finished being all of these things, usually within a period of five minutes I am frustrated with myself because of it, but it feels almost impossible to be anything else.

As interview went on they talked to Steven and Mary Beth’s three older children and their oldest Emily said, “Grief is this windy road I feel like sometimes you turn a corner and you’ve got a straight away and its beautiful and then you can turn a corner at the end of that straight away and its thunderstorms and mountains and it can be hard and even within the same day.” I think that young lady is wise beyond her years I feel like our lives right now are like those road signs that you see in the mountains that have a wavy line with an arrow on the top pointing up. I just feel like there are a lot of corners that we must go through before we get to where that arrow is point, up. Right now it does not feel like there are many straight aways and that is what I am finding that very difficult. There just seems to be no rest for the weary… right now. The other night was a particularly rough night for all of us and I found myself as I was putting the kids to bed lying in bed with Dude and I called Ella over to come lay down with us. I proceeded to apologize and to ask there forgiveness for the brunt that they often bear because we can quickly take out our anger on them. I explained that mommy and daddy were just having a hard time right now and that it was not in anyway their fault and that we were very sorry for the times that we treated them unfairly, to which Ella said, awe dad, we love yall, can I go get back in my bed NOW! Kids! Even last night we were over at the in-laws having dinner to celebrate family birthdays and after a while I just had enough and I felt like if I stayed any longer I was going to unleash a fury of words that would not have benefited anyone so what did I do in all my wisdom? Walked out of the door and walked home.

I am not sure where this particular blog is going, but for me it had to come out, as you know this is my therapy of sorts. I just ask that you continue to diligently pray for us as we continue to grieve the loss of Cate. I know that things will change and I know with confidence that God will heal our broken hearts. It is just the interim that is difficult. So with dirt filled nails that are clinging to foot of the cross we ask that you remain with us. Much Love, The Cantrells

I am attaching the link to the Chapman Family interview if you would like to check it out.
You will need to copy and paste this into your address bar at the top of you browser. Please keep the Chapman family in your prayers as well.

Also if anyone would still like a Baby Cate Prayer Card just let me know by emailing me at


Anonymous said...

I love you all with all my heart! Constantly thinking about you guys.
Love and graces,

Anonymous said...

Thanks again for sharing your story and the Chapman's story. Both are very touching. I will continuely pray for you, Ali, Ella, & Dude! And I know ya'll will one day dance with Cate again as well! Praying for an easier week for ya'll.

Much love and peace :)

Anonymous said...

Prayers are flying to heaven on angel's wings.

Lila Lambert said...

Lord, the ones You love are hurting... in Your great mercy and compassion...come to them, stay with them that they may feel Your presence through this grief stricken and heart-wrenching times, that others may look at them and see Your light shining through to light their way....I just keep lifting you all up in prayer each day. I'm here for the long haul..praying with you, crying with you, praising with you

Crystal said...


What a wonderful message this is, don't ever think it has to be put together because your words are awesome in itself. We are here to listen and pray for all of you, so please continue to let loose. I talked to Ella and Dude at the Pouch the other day. They ran up to me like we were best friends, they hugged me and told me hi. What sweet kids you have. God Bless all of you!!!!!!!!

God Bless
Crystal Judice

Anonymous said...

We are still praying.

The Chapman family was also on Larry King Live last week. It's on Youtube broken into several clips. Well worth watching. "I found it by searching Steven Curtis Chapman Larry King Live."

Anonymous said...

Praying constantly for you and your family. Saints are the sinners who fall down and get back up.

Anonymous said...

Prayers are always coming your way!!
And I just have to share this...
in my particular journey I have said many times to my husband that I've felt like I'm drowning and my head is about to go underwater any minute... so I've used the same anaolgy you used, and I always think to myself, we are all in this sinking boat and if we just reach out and ask for help we won't go under! That's what you do with your blogs... and what I will do in response is reach out in prayer and pray for you to stay afloat! I am sure the rough days are going to keep coming, but don't stop being real and asking for help!!

Teresa Clark

Alicia said...

Couldn't help but think of ya'll when I read the comment by Therese' on this blog post by Danielle Bean: editor of Faith and Family Magazine.

Still praying


Anonymous said...

Charlie....I'm praying so so hard for you and Ali. Hearing your words just make my heart break but you just keep writing them as best you can...and not so much for others to read but for YOU. Please try to be just a little more tender with "Charlie". You and Ali both are wounded in every sense of the're both going to react to things differently than usual....your view of your immediate world has changed and your responses will sometimes disappoint you. I personally think you are an amazing husband, father, and leader of your family...because you are not afraid to talk about your weaknesses, your fears, etc.

My prayer for you tonight will be that you feel God's mighty presence and that you will hear Him right next to you whispering "His" words when you are speaking with your family....that when you do for your family each and every day, that it will be "His" Hands....working through you..leaving you to find some peace in your heart knowing that He is your God.

Love you,
Jane W

The Maturin 5 said...

I also watched the interview with The Chapmans on Good Morning America and Larry King Live and thought of your family immediately. I also wonder how you handle such heartache and realized it is only by the grace of God. i found somethings that they had said were very similiar to your family stories. I will continue to think of you often and pray for you even more.

Jolene said...

Very honestly said and felt. I will continue to pray for y'all. God bless,

Bartas in Texas said...

love you guys more and more each day. we hold you in our hearts and prayers. courtney & jeremy

Anonymous said...

we're here to stay with ya'll forever...your family is embeded in my heart and have become 'regulars' on my prayer list which is my honor to lift you, Ali, Ella, Dude up in prayer!

kellysuch said...

Continuing, Charlie, to pray for you and Ali and the kids everyday. Cate's journey had a profound effect on me and I have a solid relationship with God because of her. In every single part of my day, I think of you..of Ali and her teaching..of the kids in school and of Cate...watching over each of you, praying for you. I know I won't be at the "men's table" with you ever, but just the same...I'm always here for you and the family. Love you!
Kelly Such Stewart

Anonymous said...


As after reading Ali's "A Mother's Heart..." I have no right words, only a BIG HUG and prayers. Hang in there.

Mommy of 2 heart babies in GA

Anonymous said...

Matthew 11:28-30

I am praying so hard for you both.

Anonymous said...

Just know that we are all still here praying for you asking the Lord to heal your heart and give you the strength to get through each day easier. You must remember that even though you are the strength in your family"the glue" you are also grieving and have to cut youself some slack. Nobody is perfect or strong all the time and those around you will forgive you as you have forgiven them. Hang in there!!!
Lots of Love and Prayers sent your way

Anonymous said...


Like the person said earlier, try not to be too hard on yourself. All the feelings you are having are perfectly normal for what you all are going through. As Ella so eloquently put it, "We love you" and that's all that counts. You are an AMAZING father, husband, son and I love you with all of my heart.

Much love & God Bless,

Anonymous said...

we are still here, praying and focusing on your specific needs

the bermans

Anonymous said...

Hey Charlie,keep venting if its good therapy for you.We won't even seen you a bill for listening.(HA!)our prayers continue. Tricia Granger