Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Independence vs. Interdependence

Greetings to All! I know I have been sparatic in my blogs lately and as I drove to work this morning I was questioning myself as to why I have not written. First and foremost I want to thank all of you who responded to the “Quiet Loneliness” blog with your comments and prayers. We even got a card of support in the mail signed a “Loyal Reader” which Ali and I thought was very sweet. It has been very difficult for me lately and I have been trying to process my thoughts and feelings but I keep coming to a dead end, therefore I feel I have nothing to share or to write for that matter.

Ali and I started a class called “Financial Peace University” by Dave Ramsey last week. It is a once a week class for thirteen weeks. As I sat in the class last night one of the questions we had to answer in small group was, “When you are tired and stressed how does that effect your financial decision making?” When I read that question it was as if it jumped off the page at me, but not in the financial sense. It got me thinking about how I feel and what decisions I make and have made when I am tired and stressed and especially in regard to the past three months, by the way this past Saturday made three month since Cate’s surgery day, hard to believe uh. I have been coming to realize that I have gotten to the point of being so tired and stressed that I just do not care anymore. I don’t care about anything but not in the sense of I want to die or anything, but I just don’t care. Nothing really seems that important to me, until it frustrates me and then I just go off the deep end.

The only thing I seem to care about or the only thing that fills my heart and mind lately is that Cate is not with us anymore and I miss her so much that my heart just seems to be consumed with her and the grief of the loss of her. Even yesterday as I drove back from the area I have been working in, which is about a three hour drive I started thinking about the hospital staff that took such good care of Cate and how I wish there was some way that we could show them our appreciation. All of a sudden I was taken back to her hospital room, the beeps, the hustle, the looks on the staff's faces as hope for her recovery dwindled away and of our sweet Cate just laying there lifeless. Right then every bit of pain, hurt, and sadness flooded my heart and from that moment on and the rest of my day went to crap. I got home, I was ugly to and impatient with Ali not to mention completely non-compliant with anything she said or did. As we drove to our meeting I asked her questions that were just looking to pick a fight so I could blow up and get what was inside of me out of me out, but of course Ali being the virtuous wife that she is mostly likely saw through my childish attempts and did not play into my game. Even as I was doing it I was questioning myself, “Charlie, what are doing? You are acting like you did ten years ago," but did that stop me no of course not I charged on in my efforts to spark an arguement anyway. Which proved to be futile because I am married to such a wonderful woman. So, I spent the remainder of the night in quiet and at times not so quiet desperation for release.

For those of you who don’t know me, I am a rather stubborn guy, I am a pull yourself up by your boot straps, either you make it for yourself or nobodies going to do it for you kinda guy. This has kind of been my mindset through this grief process. If I just keep walking even when I am not sure where I am going, just keep walking and eventually I will get on the right path. All the while, I also feel, and my wife may disagree with this, that I have been so focused on her and the kids and their process and what direction they are going in, that honestly I have not thought too much about how I feel or my own journey of grief, which right now isn’t much of a journey at all, more of a stale mate that looks like grief and I bashing into each other over and over. Therefore when I allow myself to finally “feel” is comes out in a burst tears that lasts for twenty minutes and then I dry my eyes and say, ok, enough of that you have got to pull yourself up and get yourself together for the sake of your family!

So, as of today I have not pursued any real “help” on this journey and as I type that I realize how silly that sounds. Well, as I drove to work this morning I realized my way isn’t working. It is not working for me, it is not working for my marriage, and it is not working for my family. I need help and I have to be proactive in finding it and I need to find it now. I don’t want to be ten years down the road still feeling like I feel right now, hell I don’t want to be one year down the road and feel like I feel right now. No matter how much I try to convinced myself that “time will heal,” which it will, but I think time and good direction are the necessary tools, if you will, that I need to walk this painful path in a positive and lasting way.

So, for all of you still out there, this is my prayer request for you all. That Ali and I, individually and as a couple, can find the right person/people to journey with us through this process of grief. God has revealed to my heart, yet again, that I am not as independent as I think I am, but that in fact, I am interdependent and if I am to begin the process of healing that I need to allow Him to guide me out of the miscontrude independence that I cling to and move towards a healing and holy interdependence. Thanks for the thoughts and prayers. Much Love, The Cantells


Anonymous said...

As many have said before, the amount and depth of what you share is amazing and so very touching. I'm sure many of us wish we could be the help that you are looking for, but for now, I'll just keep praying that you and your family find what you need during this time.

Lila Lambert said...

Lighting my blessed candle I hold the high watch of prayer and faith for you and yours that God will send you someone to help you through this time....

Marlo said...

Definitely praying for you guys always. May God bring the right people into your life! Peace in Christ.

Anonymous said...

Charlie, we are with you and are praying for you as always. Rather than being specific with the Good Lord, I am just asking him to give you what you need.


Anonymous said...

i am completely floored by your amazing faith and strength. you may not see it, but it is so clear in your writings. i have been sharing your blog with friends since i learned about it last week from your friend, claire. as i read your entries, i am flooded with so many feelings and emotions. my heart aches, feels like it is breaking at times, is lightened, and at times, i actually feel relieved. i have felt all those emotions in the same entry before. God has given you such a gift for expressing your feelings and thougths. i think the greatest thing is that you and Ali along with your children are being disciples of our Lord. he is using each of you to minister in different ways to millions of people around the world. how incredible, in your darkest days on this grief journey, you are still saying YES to Him. my family and i are continuing to lift the cantrells along with a friend of mine and her husband who recently buried their 5 day old infant son, in our prayers daily. may God continue to give you strength, comfort, and peace, during this journey and everyday of your lives. Peace and Prayers, Sharee Wells

Anonymous said...

Hey Charlie. In the past I, too, have not allowed myself to focus on my grieving process and have focused on being "strong" for my family instead. I kept my grief to myself, stuffing it downward, but it found a way out -- in the form of severe panic attacks. I ended up in therapy, diagnosed with an anxiety disorder. Trust me, you want to talk to someone before it gets to that point -- the pain will find a way out eventually. Wish I could recommend someone for you, but I'm in NYC. Praying for you!

Anonymous said...

Cantrell family,
As always you are in my prayers and I check the blog daily looking for your words because even in your pain you teach a lesson to my heart. May our ever Loving God continue to shower His mercy and love upon your family. JESUS I TRUST IN YOU! YSIC,Melanie

Anonymous said...

Rosa and I went through FPU together and it was an amazing blessing for our marriage. We are praying that the class will be a source of renewal for you as well.

Paul and Rosa Hood

Anonymous said...

The good news is that GOD already has a plan, He has already picked our someone to help you and Ali through your grief. Praise God, Praise God, help is on the way!!!

Crystal said...

Ali and Charlie,

Please know that you stay in our hearts throughout the day. We just hurt because your heart is hurting so bad right now. Please let us know if there is anything we can do. Call for a dinner date for the four of us when you are willing and ready. Call if you need help at home. Please know you will get through this and know your not alone in this journey.

volpecircus said...

Reading your entry for today brought to mind this poem that I read this morning:

Lead, kindly Light, amid th’encircling gloom, lead Thou me on!
The night is dark, and I am far from home; lead Thou me on!
Keep Thou my feet; I do not ask to see
The distant scene; one step enough for me.

I was not ever thus, nor prayed that Thou shouldst lead me on;
I loved to choose and see my path; but now lead Thou me on!
I loved the garish day, and, spite of fears,
Pride ruled my will. Remember not past years!

So long Thy power hath blest me, sure it still will lead me on.
O’er moor and fen, o’er crag and torrent, till the night is gone,
And with the morn those angel faces smile, which I
Have loved long since, and lost awhile! was written by Cardinal Newman before he became a cardinal. You guys are doing a wonderful job! Rely on Him to be the light for your feet. Our prayers continue to be with you. May Our Lord send you those you need to help you on this road.

In Christ, The Volpes

Anonymous said...


I didn't respond to your last post, because I just kept hoping that some words of wisdom or something would come to me to say to make you feel less alone or better or whatever... but of course nothing came. Anyway as I read your blog today I realized the reason nothing came is because I am like you! I just avoid and avoid and assume time will heal! Well sometimes we just have to do the work! It sucks and it's hard but sometimes we just have to! Anyway I will try to stop avoiding myself and pray that you too will work through this and not just push through.

In Him,
Teresa Clark

Ragin-Cajun said...

I know a professional family counselor in Lafayette that you can talk to. My wife and I have been through some tough times dealing with depression and I would recommend him to anyone. The best part was that he is a devout Catholic so Faith was always a part of the conversation. Call or e-mail me if you're interested and we'll talk offline (

Anonymous said...

Yeah! A new direction. Know that I am praying for you. May God bring the perfect healer (the healer He has deemed to stand with you physically and provide verbal words of healing). God bless us all as we strive to do God's will.

Anonymous said...

Charlie & Ali, My prayers continue daily for you and your family, and your precious Baby Cate has become a special prayer partner for me. She nudges me, Charlie ... often. Sometimes I imagine that when you are having really difficult moments, she sees to it that I and so many others keep you surrounded in vigilant prayer. She always makes me smile. Continued thoughts and prayers, pal ... Mary B.

Anonymous said...

Although I am female I feel just like you. I am always the strong one in my family the one carrying the weight on my shoulders. I have never lost a child but I can say that the stronger you try to be the harder the fall when it all comes tumbling down. Talk to somebody, anybody even if its a stranger because it helps to get things out. I rarely ever leave a comment but I check this blog daily actually several times a day looking for an update....u r not alone we are listening! I sent a gift your way just to let you know I am here and you and your family are in my prayers daily.

houseadventure said...


My husband and I also have been through the FPU program and have found it to be a blessing in our marriage and communication. I hope that you find it the same and I will be praying for you guys to find the right person to guide you on your journey.

Anonymous said...

Charlie, your words touch my heart and soul. I am praying for you and Ali everyday. There is not a day that goes by that I don't think of you and your sweet family. I will pray for God to send the right people in your path. Much love to you, Ali, Ella, and Dude.
Stephanie Johnson

Anonymous said...

Praying with you in New York. I thought I could tough it out and let time heal me after September 11but too many tears later, I was led to some wonderful help.


Carol in NYC

Anonymous said...

Charlie, I KNOW. I have carried my grief and my resentment towards my spouse (he didn't understand, he didn't comfort me, he DIDN'T etc. etc.)for 30+ years. Maybe if we would have gotten the "HELP" we both needed things would have turned out better. BUT reading your post has bought me healing and peace with GOD; you and your family is never far from my thoughts.

Anonymous said...

I agree with an earlier post, Charlie....I believe that there is someone out there who will be an "open channel" through which God will work his most powerful healing for both you and Ali and this person is already known and chosen by God. My prayer for you both is that you will discover this individual very soon whether it be by recommendation or just a chance happening. In the meantime, I want to share today's message in God Calling. I love you both. - Jane

DWELL THERE / September 18th
Hidden in a sure place, known only to God and you. So secret that no power on earth can even "find" it! But, My child, you must dwell therein. No fitful visit....but a real abiding. Make it your home...your dwelling place. Over that home shall My Shadow rest, to make it doubly safe, doubly secret. Like brooding mother-bird wings that Shadow rests. How safe, how sure you will feel there. When fears assail you, and cares trouble you, then it is because you have ventured out of that protecting Shadow. Then the one...the only thing to do is to creep back into shelter again. So rest. - God

maureen said...

once again, your sharing your heart is a blessing to me so very much. how do you do it? certainly God has ordained your gift of sharing charlie... your heart is a gift, brother.

Claire said...

thank you for being you and for being a part of my life...not that i am thankful for your grief and pain, but for the blessing of having you share so openly and honestly, even when you are lost and dont even know what to helps me to be more open and communicative in my own life...
i love yall and pray for yall always, and one of these days i will make it over there to babysit, i promise.
love ya!!

Anonymous said...

Charlie, I wish there was something I could do to ease this pain for you. Since this all happened I have prayed about your journey in this because I know you so well and despite your "stubborness" you are a person of true selflessness. You need to take care of you too. I think of Cate all the time, especially during my Sociology class that I told you about. Everything we learn I put in respect to Cate. I love you and Ali so much and will continue to be here for your family no matter what. Take care of yourselves! Love you! Erin Dawson

Geralyn said...

Charlie & Ali,

As Hurricane Ike made its way through our area, forcing trees to bend against their will, stripping leaves from trees to make them appear more vulnerable, howling through crevices and pelting with millions of pinpricks of rain, I think it forced all of us to realize how alone we can be in our daily lives, holed up in our independence. While we are all fine, loss of electricity and questionable water made us rely on the kindness of others (which, like you, Charlie, I hate to do because I like to be seen as an independent person, too!) and help others as well. We all get too busy or too self-centered in our 'regular' lives to take time to truly connect with one another because we are so exhausted from simply getting by all the time.

I don't have any 'pixie dust' to sprinkle over you and your family to make things seem better, but I want you to know that the fact that you took time to pour--once again--your raw emotions onto the blog allow an unbelievably large community of faith to help buoy you up from across the globe. You may not feel the lift that we all offer, but know that love is carrying you all no matter where you go.

We love you guys!

Anonymous said...

i remember being in mexico with you and a song that we often comes to mind here:

"I lift my eyes up, unto the mountains, where does my help come from? my help comes from you, maker of heaven, creator of the earth. oh how i need you lord, you are my only hope, you are my only prayer. so i will wait for you, to come and rescue me, to come and bring me life...i lift my eyes up, unto the mountains, where does my help come from!?"

love you guys so much!! continue to lift your eyes up!

maria ben and the girls

Laura Griffin said...

Charlie and Ali,

Thank you for opening up your inner thoughts and feelings to us, the reader. As others have said, I wish I could be a close friend who could be there for you. I will send my prayers, and the angels, to be with you to comfort and lift you. You all and beautiful Baby Cate continue to be in my prayers,

Anonymous said...

Cantrell Family,

I have just stumbled upon your blog through a facebook group asking for prayers for your family. I came to your blog unsure what to expect, but have been completely floored. Charlie, you have such an incredible gift for sharing emotion making your reader feel. Your faith in God is inspiring and touching to say the least. While reading the last few months of your blog I have seen that God is working so deeply within all of you.

Know that you are my thoughts and prayers. I am praying that God will guide all of you to the outlet that you need for your pain; and that he will bring you inner peace and happiness once again.

I will also say do whatever feels right, it might not be, but it's definitely part of the journey. Take this time to learn the things about each other that make you family.

I would also like to say that if you ever choose to write a book, I'll be the first person to purchase it. You have a gift for writing, and I'm thanking God for giving that to you as it is something that is so special.

You're in my constant thoughts and prayers

The Ridgway Family said...

I understand completely how you are feeling and the pain. loss and loneliness that invades you at times. Our sweet Eden passed away about 2.5 months ago and the circumstances surrounding her passing were much like yours with Cate. Please know that I think of and pray for you often as I know how difficult the journey is. There are times when my arms ache so badly to hold my baby that all I can do is cry. I think that prayerfully finding someone who can help you work through your grief is a wonderful idea. Although I have not done that, I think I will need it to be about to move forward.

Love from one heart family to another,

Anonymous said...

Hi guys! I just want to say that I may not know your family but I think of you guys often and feel you help me and my family go through all we've gone through this year. I had a baby with a birth defect, lost our home in foreclosure, my husband's aunt found out she has cancer, his mom then got leukemia and we are still okay. I have gotten much of my strength from cate and your beautiful family. And for the first time in years I started going to church again. Cate gave me a relationship to god that I never had before and that beautiful baby gave me that gift. My heart still breaks when I think of her and the pain your family is going through. Then I look at your strength and the determination you have to be a great parent, spouse and child of god. You all inspire me and know that my family has not forgotten you.

Anonymous said...

I love the new picture of Baby Cate. Good Job :)

sumi said...

Charlie, i love your honesty, and I will be praying for you all.

Anonymous said...

Thinking of all of you and praying as always.

Love and prayers,

Anonymous said...

We havent forgotten and continue to think of you often.

Angie and Mark Dore

Anonymous said...


I just wanted you to know that I am thinking and praying for you still! We're here when you need us!

Teresa Clark

jennie g. said...

Charlie & Ali,

We are always thinking of you and the kids. In fact, Ethan came home with a picture that he colored in class of a Doll, since they are on "D" this week. He said, "I colored it with yellow hair, just like Ella." He wanted the doll to look like Ella. He just grinned. Maybe the two of them will go to Homecoming some day :-). Your children are so special and will continue to be. Well, so is Cate. Even though she is not living in the now, her spirit and memory are so strong that she touches people and will for a long time. I cannot even imagine the loss of a child. My grandmother lost two children, a baby girl right after she was born and a little boy when he was six from leukemia. We want so badly to have our children healthy and with us till we grow old. Sometimes, life is just so unfair and you say "Why me...why my family?" But, as most say, God has a plan. The day that baby Cate passed away, I was so angry at God. I felt like he took away something so precious...why couldn't he spare her one little life? You really need to move forward with getting some kind of counsel and direction. A healthy mind for Dad & Mom makes for a healthy, happy, household. Your two wonders at home need to feel that it is okay to mourn, but "life" and "joy" have to remain too. There will be a light at the end of your's just a long road getting there.
Much Love From the Garys,
Jennie, Stephen, Ainsley and Ethan

The Vaughn Family said...

Time does help the heartache...not that it will ever completely go away, but once you hit all the anniversaries/milestones you sort of realize what to expect after the first year has passed (sad, isn't it?). I don't know that time heals, but maybe you get more used to the way things are and learn to better accept the new normal. I'm sure you'll always yearn to have your baby back in your arms again. That's only natural. I pray you & Ali feel God's presence often and see some wonderful Cate signs to allow you a peace like none other.

I read something recently - witten by a mom who lost her young daughter from an inoperable brain tumor just a few months after losing her baby (under a year old) from liver surgery complications. She was looking back at what she went through and commented that earlier on in the grieving, she just wanted someone to take away the pain, then as time went on she could appreciate the pain a little more as it was a reflection of how much love she had for her precious angels....and she never wanted someone to take away her love for them. So, she continues to miss them terribly, think of the what if's, but embraces the pain and the love that she will always carry with her.

I hope that came through in a way that is compassionate and helpful. I found it to be heartbreaking but touching and did make sense. You & Ali have so much love for Cate - for eachother - embrace that and all the hurt that comes with it. I think it's admirable that you are taking the steps in realizing that you need someone to help you both, and your family, to work through this unimaginable loss.

I've never met you, but I've been praying for your family for a while. Sending hugs from Michigan.

gillberk said...

"Independence" is diffuse, incorporating various national and regional campaigns, agitations and efforts of both Nonviolent and Militant philosophy and involved a wide spectrum of political organizations, philosophies, and movements which had the common aim of ending the British Colonial Authority as well as other colonial administrations in South Asia.

Interdependence is a big word, but it means "dependent on others for some needs." In other words, you can't produce everything you need.

Isolated independence is not the goal of the world States.It is voluntary interdependence.


Anonymous said...

Thank you Charlie. I never read blogs, but I was doing research for a talk I am preparing for church and I stumbled on to yours. Your comments have opened my heart today and allowed me to feel more connected than I have in a long time, my heart has been a little hard. I too am a rugged individualist, but I guess there are some things we can do together, that we can't do alone, especially if one of us is the Lord.