Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Sunken Footsteps

Sometimes it feels surreal, sometimes I sit in our backyard and look at the spot where the baby pool sat and the laughter could be heard so sweetly and it all seems like a dream that just continues to replay in my mind's eye. I often ask Ali, "do you have days where you ask yourself, was that all real?, Did that really happen to Cate...and to us?" Sometimes it seems so far away and then some days, the pain is so fresh and tangible it’s like the days and months after our sweet Cate left her earthly body and began a life that we thirst for.

Cate's birthday was on November 7, she is 3 years old...it's weird to think about sometimes. It's weird to think about what our life would be like if she were still alive, what would she be like, what would she sound like, what color would she have and then other questions arise in my heart, what would I be like? What would Ali be like, What would Ella and Dude be like? Sometimes death can leave you with more questions than answers, we, as believers, have heard all the clich├ęs and they don't seem to sit right with you...when they are directed at you. As a husband I always knew that mother's had a connection with their babies, that term is regardless of age believe me, I was my mother's baby until the day she drew her last breath, but it was not until we began this journey through our grief that I began to see the depth of a mother's love, commitment and unity with that miracle that she carries every so gently in her womb.

I have often thought about Mary at the foot of the cross but to be honest never really pondered the depth of her sorrow and agony that she must have experienced that dreadfully beautiful day. As I watch my precious bride journey down this path it is one of the most difficult things that I have ever experienced. After 2 years, I know there is nothing I can say, there is nothing I can "do" and that I simply have to trust that if she feels like talking she will and if she doesn't...she won't...so STOP ASKING CHARLIE! I often see our sweet Mother Mary shine through her as she continues on in her daily routine as her eyelids can barely contain the flood that wants to just rage out of her broken heart. She quietly puts her face to wind and continues on this journey showing our family what it means continue to serve even when it hurts, when you don't want to, when it almost seems like you can't even lift your hands up.

One of the things about Ali that has always intrigued me and really drew me to her was her simplistically beautiful spirituality, it wasn't heady, overly pious, overly traditional or overly complex, it was simply...beautiful. I can remember her talking about praying when we were dating, she said, "You know Charlie, I don't pray like you do, whenever I am walking (exercising), I picture Mary walking along side of me with her hair in a ponytail. She said, I pray my rosary and I just talk to her, like a friend." I remember that day, thinking WOW, I wish I could stop all my overthinking and start simply participating. Through Cate's death, well let's be honest, I still haven't stopped, it’s not in my nature. I overthink EVERYTHING, which is probably why my stomach is a wreck, but my stomach problems are another blog. I have thought about who did this, who didn't do that, who said this, who said nothing, why God did this, why God didn't do that, should I have made this decision or that one and on and on and on. All these thoughts can completely preoccupy my time, attention, and even my energy.

On the other hand, I watch Ali, who may at times have the same thoughts and questions, but she handles them so differently, she is a mother. She will love on our kids, do their homework with them, get them bathed and ready for bed without saying a word, then I’ll ask her how her day was and you’ll see the pain flash like lighting in her eyes and she’ll say, “I was real lonesome today.” I’ll wrap my big goofy arms around her and just hold her, sometimes, it’s the only thing there is to do. If that would have been me, I would have come home sat on the couch, felt sorry for myself, probably yelled at Dude and then felt bad and gone to bed, but not my sweet precious wife. She encompasses what it means to be a woman of God, I believe she treads in the sunken footsteps of our Mother Mary. She would never say anything of these things about herself, so I’ll say them for her because I am so proud and lucky that she is my wife and so grateful that she is the mother of my children.

So this is a thank you to you Ali, you are amazing and I love you more than words, to my mother, and all the mothers out there who choose to follow the selfless path of the Sweet Virgin Mary, may she take you by the hand and guide you down whatever paths you may find yourselves on in life!


Hudson & Maddox said...

I was very excited when I saw that you updated your blog. We still think of you guys. I pray that the healing continues and the sweet memories of Cate are plenty!

Much love -
Stephanie, Bryan & Hudson

Anonymous said...

What a beautiful tribute to you and Ali. She's as lucky to have you as you are her. Both of you are special people. May God continue to bless y'all.

alanaransley said...

What a beautifully written post that was! I hope Ali realizes how fortunate she is to have such a wonderful husband.

Tricia Granger said...

You're right she's awesome. Ya'll are both great people !:)

Anonymous said...

Wow... a Mothers love..i have only a glimpse but I do know it is deep to the core just like you put Charlie. What an honor to get to share in this tribute of love, support and respect from an outstanding man of God to a selfless full of Love and Life lady!

Hair in ponytail, chattin with my "Friend." Simply in love with the Father and of sweet Mother Mary. I love it and can relate.

Much luv to all of you- we miss you tremendously. Lets get together soon.

Tricia and Nick LaRocca

Anonymous said...

"You know the way for me, you know the time into your hands I trustingly place mine. Your plan is perfect, born of perfect love. You know the way for me, that is enough." -Divine Providence prayer

Anonymous said...

beautiful and eloquent charlie... and thanks for keeping this blog alive. as strange as it may seem i really enjoy having this little corner to remember cate and to be reminded of how much i love you guys!


Anonymous said...

One day, when Ali meets gets to heaven and Baby Cate walks her mommy to meet her Saviour, all will be understood. Until then, may both of you find peace where you can and healing from the only One who can give it to you. I still pray for your wife and your family and remember that adorable smiled smeared with sweet potatoes!

a stretcher bearer

Mandy Cayouette said...

Still prayin' for you and your whole beautiful family.

The Cayouettes

Anonymous said...

What an amazing post of love for Mary, God, Ali & your children. You both inspire me to be a better person & parent. Prays still for you guys!!!

Teresa said...

I haven't been here to your blog in a while! But to my pleasant surprise here is a beautiful entry, saying just what I needed to hear today! Thanks again for being open to the Holy Spirit and pouring your heart out for others to grow through! Still praying for you and your family!

Love Teresa Clark

Anonymous said...

"Ali and I were talking the other night about how so many people, both that we have never met and those very close to us, that God has impacted them through Cate’s short life and our family’s difficult journey and what is also amazing is that you all are STILL here with us. I truly thought that after Cate’s passing the story would “end” for a lot of people, but it hasn’t."

I was also one of Mrs. Cantrell's Texas fifth-graders. I just have to say that what you say about your wife is extremely loving and just absolutely true. I admire the both of you so much, and you two truly give me hope for my personal future with my family in this generation. The two of you are beautiful people..It's strange to watch someone's children grow up from this perspective..When I was Mrs. Cantrell's student, Ali was a few years old and your son was just born or months old. And now you have four! Congratulations on your many blessings, and may many more come your way.

Sharon Weil said...

I just wanted to let you know that Cate is not forgotten. I'd love to see an entry updating us on how your family is doing these days.

txmommy said...

Charlie and Ali-
I providentially stumbled on this post this morning before starting my day and man, I'm so so grateful that God led me here. I am really encouraged by your beautiful words Charlie (my bad for waiting four years to read them) and for Ali's witness to Catholic motherhood. Offering my day for your sweet family today and praying that you guys are well and blessed <3

Much love from South Texas,
Meagan Montez

Anonymous said...


I pray that your family is well. I followed your post many years ago and tonight I could not stop thinking about Baby Cate. Thank you for sharing your story. I am in Houston and tomorrow I will release a balloon in her honor. Your family has touched so many and we are still praying for you.

Much love -

Suzonne Mecredy