Monday, September 8, 2008

Quiet Loneliness

Greetings to all! Well we survived Gustav with no problems at all, thank God and now our eyes turn to Hurricane Ike. Dude had his tonsils out the Thursday before the hurricane hit Louisiana and I think for our little family that was worse than the hurricane! He is getting better every day, hopefully now that he is back in school he will have some good distraction, but please keep his recovery in your prayers.

I know that it has been a while since I have written and it is mainly because my thoughts and feelings are so jumbled up that it is hard for me to focus on anything. Ali and I sat outside last night and were talking about the blog. I was telling her that I just do not know what to write or what I want to write could come across in a way that could be offensive to some people. I am going to do my best to explain to you all where Ali and I find ourselves on this journey of grief so that we can ask you to pray for and support us in this specific way.

Over the last few weeks the feeling of loneliness has invaded Ali and I’s life. The road of grief after losing a child is one that we so often feel that we are walking alone. Although we know people are out there willing and or wanting to help, it is almost that we feel secluded and isolated. We have become, “those people” who are sheilded away from and at times it feels, and I use the word FEELS like we are forgotten about. This feeling can range from our family to close friends to anyone else that we want to feel frustrated with because WE feel alone. We are trying our best to work through our grief but as Ali said the other night, “it is crippling.” Now, couple that with having to take care of a four year old and a three year old, who even last night asked why their sister had to leave and if they were going to go to heaven soon, trying to maintain some type of marital bliss, which bliss occurs less frequently than heartache and hurt, and then to get up and go to work, which at often times feels so unimportant. And when the weekend finally comes, there is no relief, we are isolated from our friends because a lot of them have babies or about to have babies, we don’t hear from some people anymore, or when they call, it’s not at a time that we feel like talking, so we don’t answer. The comment I have gotten from the few people I have shared these feelings with is, “when people don’t know what to say, they don’t say anything.” This maybe true and maybe the case but we still desire to hear from people, whether it is a card simply saying, “Love you and praying for you,” a text message saying, “your not forgotten,” someone dropping dinner off at our doorstep,” a call saying, “hey, I am coming over to pick up your kids so you and you can have some time with just the two of you” these small acts help us to feel not so alone and give us the encouragement, time, and ability to continue on and to most importantly focus on healing. It just feels like at times everyone else’s life has gone back to “normal” and we are still here left trudging through the misery and grief of the loss of our sweet Cate.

It is been very difficult because we don’t always want to “talk” because we don’t know what we are even feeling so when people do call that we have not talk to in a couple of weeks, months, or years and ask us how we are doing? We don’t even have the energy to answer them or even pick up the phone. We often feel like a damper on any joyful situation we walk into because we are wondering if our very presence makes people uncomfortable as you watch faces of joy turn to this sympathetic look of, “Oh the poor Cantrell’s.” It really is a terrible feeling, so instead of trying to hang out with people, Ali and I just hang out with each other, which I know for both of us, has gotten old after almost three months. I watch my beautiful wife struggle quietly through this heartbreaking journey and I often think to myself, where is "so and so," why haven’t they reached out. The struggle of being resentful is very difficult because we know that people’s lives must go on. We know that we are not the center of the universe, but we are a couple who needs the people who are closest to us to be here right now and we continue to be surprised by how alone we feel on a day in and day out basis.

I have not wanted to post this because I fear like it could come across as a “need” for attention, food, or child care and that isn't the intention. Yet, at the same time Ali and both feel like we want and need you all to know where we are at so that you can pray for us in that place. Ali said just last night that she has been putting feelings down on paper but was not sure if she was going to post it because, “it’s down right depressing.” We are standing at the foot of the cross and are asking that you lean with your hands on our backs supporting us as we walk this journey of grief. We love you, we are offering this time in thanksgiving for you, and I sincerely hope that these words may be encouraging or enlightening rather than offending. Pray for us…we need each and every one of you. Much Love, The Cantrell’s


Anonymous said...

Love you guys.......missed Ella Bell Cantrell.(That is what I call her at school)We talked about where everyone went for the hurricane.Some days I sit on my steps and cry for my parents .I lost them last year(7 weeks apart)My mom died of cancer on May 14th and my dad died July 9th (broken heart).I too think of my mom everytime I see a butterfly.I can't compare losing my parents to losing a child.But in a way I understand where your feelings come from..Blah blah blah.I could go on forever.What I am trying to say is that the pain is still there for me even though it has been over a year.Ali drop me a note in Ella's folder...I'll come have a glass of wine with you!!! ;-) Love you guys,Kim Hebert

kati said...

although you have no obligation to explain anything to the readers of your blog, you always find a way to explain everything so eloquently and simply. and while it's true that it is almost impossible to think of "the right thing to say" back to you, i always read your posts and think of you all and your beautiful baby cate and have nothing but the best wishes for you that the road you're on right now brings you to happier, less lonely-in-a-room-full-of-people times very soon. xoxo

Anonymous said...

You are thought of often and prayed for much.
Your TCH friends,
the Burroffs

Anonymous said...

We love you very much and remain in prayer for you every day. It is my hope that we will reunite one day soon.

Love, Shelley

Jackie said...

We are constantly praying for your family. Though we have never met you, you are in our hearts always. We have Baby Cate's prayer card on our fridge, and every time I look at it (which is often), I think of all of you, and say a prayer!

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

I want you to know that many people, my self included, across the country do pray for you. a mother in Colorado

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

Hey Charlie and Ali!!! YOU ARE NOT FORGOTTEN! EVER! I check this blog every few days because your honesty and faith is truly inspiring. I've never met you, well maybe once or twice a long time ago when you were at St. Laurence, but I am still praying for you guys. You always have prayers coming from Sugar Land! Dont't forget that. Keep clinging to the cross and running toward Jesus with outstretched arms.

midwestmom3 said...

We pray for all of you every day.
We will continue to pray for support and love from all those close to you as well.
May God hold you closely today and always.
The Andersons

Anonymous said...

This is so cheesy but reading your blog I just kept thinking I wish I were your friend so that I could be there for you, babysit for you, come over and watch tv or a movie and just laugh with you or cry with you whatever it may be.

Anonymous said...

You guys are part of my every day life, I pray daily for you and keep you in my thoughs often throughout the day. I pray the same thing everyday..."Please Lord let Charlie and Ali have a good day and let the healing begin in thier hearts." You are not alone, you never will be. We love you.


Anonymous said...

Dear Precious family
As I sat here reading your blog many things came into my mind. First of all your courage. I reflected on times where I felt very sad, lonely, depressed, grieving and I find those times are very hard to reach out to anyone. But you are reaching out, in a quiet and humble way, when you are the ones in need of being reached for. And so, from where I am I reach out to you. And I pick you up and I lay you gently in our Mother's arms. Because that is all I can do. I am praying and praying and praying that those arms who are able of physically reaching out to you will reach out to you and wrap you in the embrace our Father so desperately wants to give you. Cling to the cross. Much love and prayers.

Anonymous said...

Across the miles my heart and prayers are with you!

Carol in NYC

Anonymous said...

i'm still praying, and i am not stopping. just a couple days ago, during the storm, i wondered how you guys are doing. i can't say that i know you very well, and i have felt like my biggest role in any of this is to remember Cate, and to pray for you all. i'll be sure to remind you from time to time that someone, probably many, but i can speak for myself...someone is still remembering, praying, and waiting patiently for God to send His healing hand upon you, and for Mary to weep with Ali as her heart aches and heals in much the same way that hers must have. i love you guys, through the crappiness of grief, and through the funny light-hearted moments, and through the silent, wordless moments. i'm not giving up. prayers always,

Anonymous said...

Your heart is so real. Your pain so true. Know that you are understood and accepted just as you are.
P.S. Baby Cate's prayer card evacuated with me for Gustav.

Anonymous said...

Dear Mr. & Mrs. Cantrell, I wish I could say something brilliant that would help you to feel better. I am so sorry for your pain. I do have faith in God, and I do know your sweet Baby Cate is happy with the Lord, and I do know you will see her again. I know you would rather have had more time with her here, but God has a plan, and although you cannot see good in this, He is good, and He will lift you up. So many people are praying for you and your children. You have been so brave. Thank you for sharing your testimony with all of us. I know you've heard all this many times, but we are praying for you. Baby Cate has seen the face of Jesus, and there are no tears past the gate. A friend said that to me when my mother died five years ago. It still helps me to feel better. You are all in our prayers. God Bless You, Dianne Latour

siscaboo said...

I have never commented before but, I have read for a while and kept up with you all.

I have been where you are. I felt for a while that no one cared no one wanted to take the time to just be with me and my family. They were always so afraid of how I would react and the real of the matter, talking about my son, would never hurt me, yes, I may cry, but, there are days I may laugh. It is a lonely road at times. And nothing goes back to normal after you loose a child. To quote a cliche I suppose you have to find a new normal because you are not and never will be that same person you was before.

It took some reaching out on my part to get people that really mattered back into my life.

Just the simple, it is ok to talk about JT to people really helped them feel comfortable enough to ask how I was doing and to let me talk about him. I know that is kinda backwards and the comforting should come from the other side, not ours but, people really don't know how to react when you loose a child. They expect you to loose a parent or an Aunt or a Grand parent. But, not a child.

It took me a while also to look around and know that God had provided me with the people that I needed when I needed them. Even though at the time I didn't see it because, I think I didn't want to. Not that this is your case at all I am just letting you know a little bit about my journey.

Praying for you and have been.


Lila Lambert said...

My heart breaks through the pain I feel in your words....the black hole where you feel no one could possibly share or understand, like our Moms did when we were young and she wrapped her arms around us and everything was better in that instant...There is nothing I can say or do to ease that suffering, but I am here, always. There were times when I looked for someone to share my pain, but I was too ashamed and above all, didn't want anyone to feel the horror of what I felt, and sharing it would make it so real. Even though my husband and family were going through it with me...I felt alone and then I began to feel His presence, His warmth, His hand on my back, Her beside me at the cross, and for a few moments the pain would still. It always came back, but I knew, no matter what I felt THEY would be with me through it all....God bless all of you, I pray for your entire family many times throughout the day in hopes that the pain will be still, for just awhile...

Anonymous said...

Your blog was so beautiful and so authentic....i believe most people fear the unknown and thus, are fearful of not giving you both the time and space you need to grieve...even though I know your grief never ceases, people are there waiting with open arms, open hearts and open your loneliest times, please remember that we are praying for your family, praying for the pain to subside some each day, and praying for Cate and the happy memories to shine through the pain!!!!!
Love always,
Breyan and family

Julie said...

I have read your blog for a long time, I don't think I have ever commented. Your sorrow and pain is more than I can imagine. When reading this entry I wanted so much to have some brilliant words that would soothe you - but I don't have them. I do know that you are not alone - that people all over the world are praying for you - for the great comforter, the Holy Spirit, to wash over you.
I will leave you with the lyrics of a beautiful song -
Call On Jesus -
I'm so very ordinary
Nothing special on my own
I have never walked on water
I have never calmed a storm
Sometimes I'm hiding away form the madness around me
Like a child who's afraid of the dark

But when I call on Jesus
All things are possible
I can mount on wings like eagles and soar
When I call on Jesus
Mountains are gonna fall
'Cause He'll move heaven and earth to come rescue me when I call

Weary brother
Broken daughter
Widowed, widowed lover
You're not alone
If you're tired and scared of the madness around you
If you can't find the strength to carry on

repeat chorus

Call Him in the mornin'
In the afternoon time
Late in the evenin'
He'll be there
When your heart is broken
And you feel discouraged
You can just remember that He said
He'll be there

Anonymous said...

I'm praying for your peace of mind and strength of spirit. You're not alone, He is always with you.

Anonymous said...

Dearest Charlie & Ali,
I am so thankful that you had no damage from Gustav-I will pray the same from Ike.
It breaks my heart that I do not live close by ya'll.
Even though we are miles apart, you all are in my heart always. I pray that each day will get a little easier for you.
I know people don't know whether you want to talk about it or what to do. Only you and Ali know what you need and when you want to talk or IF you want to talk about it. I can't imagine how hard it is, but I know God will get ya'll through this. I know you feel all alone, but you have SO MANY people lifting your family up in prayer and thinking of you. I will pray that you and Ali feel all of these thoughts and prayers. We love you all SO MUCH and I wish I was there to wrap you both in my arms.
Know that so many love you and haven't forgotten you-it just feels like it to you and Ali. I love you both with all of my heart!!!

Much love and God bless,
Cathy & Bill

chris,mitch, travis, baby cana. said...

mitch and I often feel isolated and alone. And even tho it may be just fluffy words right now, i know that we carry the same burden of "when people do call, we just don't feel like talking about it..."

now i know that we are preparing for possibly a different road than you all are traveling, but if it ever makes a difference on the days you just can't bear it, please please please remember that we STILL are encouraged by your walk of faith. Even when you just don't FEEL like walking are STILL showing US the WAY to walk it. It isn't an easy journey..and often times, it does feel like we are also alone, carrying the cross..alone. But then i remember that you all lived her life and death with such purpose...and right now, for us..that purpose was to help us. I'm sorry if that's selfish...i can see how it reads...but i carry my heart with yours..with Cate's..and with my own daughter's broken heart. I desperately pray for your hearts to be filled with so much grace and joy that you can't help but show the world how beautiful life is. I'm so proud of you both....

shar said...

Dear Ali and Charlie. As I was getting ready for bed last night I once again looked up at my dresser mirror, where Cate's picture is, and said a prayer for you all. In fact, at that moment I thought how most people's lives have probably just "gone on" while you guys continue to stuggle. You are thought of and prayed for often (at the very least, every evening as I lie in bed). Ali, I have six more caterpillars munching their way thru many milkweed leaves...soon to be chrysalises and then beautiful Monarch butterflies.
much love to you...and I'm glad all is safe and sound after the hurricane. Looks like we will get ours here in Houston! :o)

Anonymous said...

Charlie...don't worry about how your words and feelings are received...they are your feelings and you are justified in expressing them and transitioning through your grief the best way you know how. Everyone's grief is very personal and they handle it the best way they possibly can and you and Ali are no different. I know that I appreciate and stand in awe of your honesty and vulnerability in revealing what is on your heart. I will continue to pray for you all each and every are never far from my daily thoughts. Love you...Jane

Anonymous said...

you know, i read this at 12:45 last night and had nothing profound to say, thinking it was just so late and i was so tired... now here i am again w/ nothing profound to say except that last night, just like on so many other nights, i fell asleep praying for the cantrells

we love you very much,
the bermans

Heather Eberlein said...

I just wanted to let you know you all are in my thoughts and prayers. I agree with the previous poster that I too wish I was a friend so I could help you guys out (and I also check your blog several times a week to see how you guys are doing). I too have been in your situation (but not nearly the same, I had a miscarriage and I also have a heart baby) and I understand the feelings of being isolated. Pain is a long road with many hills and valleys. Keep praying, God has a special place for Cate and they both can hear you. Since I am in the Pacific Northwest, you both with have to settle with a virtual Hug (((((((((HUGS))))))))!!

Heather Eberlein
mom to 4 HH's & Christopher (PDA, VSD)
carepage: christophereberlein

Anonymous said...

You are never, ever forgotten. I think of you daily and pray for you all the time. You are a precious family and I just want you to know that although we have never met face to face, you all have a special place in my heart. Much love from my family to yours.
Stephanie Johnson

Crystal said...

Still praying for you guys. Please call if I can do anything, I just don't want to show up and disturb ya'll. Call!!!! Praying everyday!!

God Bless,
Crystal Judice

Suzanne said...

I've been following your blog since Cate's hospitalization. Thank you for sharing your journey with so many. I want you to know I can truly relate to the "quiet loneliness" My daughter, Hannah Grace, was born still at 37 weeks 10 years ago this November. Many of the feeling you wrote about I nod my head to. Now my family is dealing with my son, Philip's, battle against leukemia and once again I feel that loneliness. I know people care, I know people pray, we have been blessed in many ways from our church family, yet I just feel so alone. So I simply say to you...I know and I understand and I pray for you all.

Anonymous said...

Please pray for Jude Michael Alford and his parents and family. Jude was born 6 weeks early, weighed only 3 pounds and was born with the chord wrapped around his neck...he lived for only a few days before passing away on August 26. I know Cate was ready and waiting to welcome Jude into the gates of Heaven,and I'm sure they are good friends by now! Please keep the Alford family in your prayers.

Anonymous said...

There is a "Today Show" video highlighing a book that helps young children deal with a sibling's death. This is the link to the video

This is the link to the book's website

The Vaughn Family said...

Charlie & Ali,
I've never met you nor have I known your beautiful baby, Cate. But I've been following your journey, praying for you and remembering Cate.

Your post is so genuine and kind - you're sharing, reaching out and telling people exactly how they can help and how we can pray for you. That's awesome....there's no guessing what you might need, you lay it all out.

While I've never gone through the heartache that you have with the loss of a child (and I pray to never be in that position); I have been through difficulties in my life that I haven't asked for - that I felt were injust - and sadly ended up wondering where my friends were. Where were the people I went to church with? Where was my support system? At times, it was easier to withdraw than to deal with questions, easier to stay in than to see people talking and know they were talking about me, easier to say things were fine and change the subject than to get upset or make others upset. Thank goodness I have faith in God and a loving family who helped me through! Over time, I was able to reconnect with friends; I was also able to explain to some how I felt let down, what I continued to struggle with.

Rely on your faith, eachother, your family and the friends that help....and I pray your post opens the eyes of those friends who have been caught up with daily life, or who have been afraid not knowing what to say, so much remains unsaid.

Take each minute/hour/day as it comes and fight for the happiness that you so deserve - but realizing a huge part of your heart and life has been taken. Cate is safe and feels no pain, yet you are feeling so much pain and suffering. I hope and pray for mending of your broken hearts - no parent should have to go through what you are.

Sending love from Michigan. Know that you guys have NOT been forgotten. Remembering your family in prayer, remembering Baby Cate with love.

Jolene said...

Charlie and Ali,
I am still here praying daily for you guys. God bless!

Anonymous said...

Hey guys, it is a sunny afternoon here in Florida and I pray that you guys are having a nice day. Know that there are alot of us out here who are praying for peace for you guys and for a newfound happiness inside each of you. I would just like to encourage you to keep on keepig on and I pray that God will give you strength in every moment to do just that!

Claire said...

If I had a penny for everytime I thought of you guys or prayed for you guys, I could probably buy you a brand new fully furnished house in a day. Then I could go on to buy yall new cars, pay off any bills, have Ella and Dude's college funds more than taken care of...

I've been thinking of and praying for yall so so so schedule is busier than ever this semester but I miss yall that much more...I know I've had to say no the past couple times you needed a sitter but please please please don't stop asking! I literally get excited everytime i see "Charlie" or "Ali" in my text message inbox. Ask me everyday, I don't care!
Eventually I'll be able to make it.
I'm just realizing as I type, that that is probably just it--maybe you don't want to ask. I;m going to make a conscious effort to reach out more and let you know whenever I am available.
Please know you are not forgotten...every time I start to complain about school and/or being tired, not having enough hours in the day, blah blah blah.. to myself in my head, or to someone else, I quickly remind myself to offer it up to Cate, and to pray for you, Ali, Ella, and Dude's daily struggles of grief and suffering, which i know are so much greater than my daily trivial worries. I thank God countless (seriously, countless) times each day for allowing me to be a part of your life. Family members and friends who are still keeping up with your blog ask me how yall are doing on a regular basis. We are all still with you...
Love you guys with all my heart, I'm always here for you!

Anonymous said...

lucky few that power is back on after Ike....after sending email to family, cate's blog is the 1st thing we checked

still praying

the bermans

Ragin-Cajun said...

Still here and still praying for you guys. I'm not sure yet but I may set up a duck blind on our farm this year. It's a 4 man blind about 10 minutes from town & I'd love to take you if you're interested. Tell Ali to come too, I know she's no stranger to a duck blind! E-mail me so I have your address & I'll let you know if we set up a blind.

Love y'all.

Anonymous said...

Hi Cantrells! Just checking in and letting you know that I am thinking of you all and praying for you. May God give you strength when you think you have none. Sincerely, Pam

Anonymous said...

I just want to say that Ella's teacher seems like a wonderful woman. Reading her comment made me smile...I hope I can be a that kind of teacher one day! Thanks Ms. Hebert!

Love all you Cantrells so very much...and ps the offer to babysit is always open even if I have to drive a few hours to get there!

Kristi :)

Lila Lambert said...

This song has always been like praying for me:

Precious Lord take my hand
Lead me on, Help me stand
I am tired, I am weak, I am worn
Through the storm, through the
Lead me on to the light...
When my way grows drear
Precious Lord, linger near
Hear my cry...Hear my call
Take my hand lest I fall...
Here's my hand, Precious Lord

My prayer is for all of you this day....

marsha said...

This past weekend we were outside and it was very dark with the exception of ONE very bright star. Hunter said..."hey mom...look's Baby Cate's star". He looked at me, smiled and kept on going about his business. It was a moment I will treasure always.

Love you guys so much. marsha

Anonymous said...

Hi Ali,

I just want to let you know that there is not a day that goes by, that i don't think and pray for you and your family! if there is anything i can do, please let me know, even if it is sitting down and talking about the dumb stuff we did in high shcool! All my love, Heidi Higginbotham

K.H. said...

You are not forgotten.

-a stranger who loved and prayed for Cate and still prays for you

gillberk said...

"When I am at home, doing something that I enjoy, even if I am on my own, I am not often lonely. " I experience the same feeling. Being in your own world where you consider yourself a friend is always a nice thing and can be a pleasurable experience.