It’s a time when you begin to question what it’s all about. Everybody’s gentleness and understanding, and the reverend’s encouragement for us to explore our spirituality and have wonderful theological discussions because it’s a time when you begin to question what it’s all about. The psych team that came in and checked on us and kept a watchful eye on me and the social work team who worked so hard on our behalf to ensure that Paulina and ourselves got everything that we possibly could. And so in terms of the community, you were our community, and then we had to move.
As soon as Carrie had her setback we called our pastor. We weren’t extremely involved with the church at that time, we just went to church but that was about it. Three hours later our pastor showed up here. To me, that was just amazing because I know him from seeing him but we didn’t have a personal relationship. So to have him there, and then we started immediately getting cards from our church family. Just the support and the love that we felt from them, we knew it was God showing us His love. Even during that time, there were times where John would be strong and I would be so weak and then fifteen minutes later it was the opposite. We know it was only the strength of God because it was such a difficult time. After that, after we lost Carrie, we know that we grieve with hope because we know that Carrie’s in heaven. If we didn’t grieve with hope, I don’t know if we could have gone on not knowing that I wouldn’t see her again someday. I think our faith plays a huge role in it.
I believe that my child’s spirit lives on
I would say that my faith helped. I’m not particularly religious person but I do believe in God. That has helped me a lot in the aftermath of Cameron’s death. I definitely believe in an afterlife. I don’t know what it looks like but I believe that Cameron’s spirit lives on, continues, and is accessible to me in an intangible way that I can’t even describe. She is watching over her sisters and that is tremendously helpful to me.
When I moved back to North Carolina the minister from the church I grew up in was providing counseling more like life coaching. Because I had grown up with him, I had similar beliefs as him. I started to work with him and that was a Godsend. He was not trying to figure out my grief but was trying to figure out me and my approach to grieving. He tried to understand my personality and why I had these thought processes. That was incredibly helpful. Unfortunately I didn’t find that until 8 months after she had died, because it would have been helpful sooner.
I sometimes talk to my son in the house and I say “You know what? I’m not sure what to do about this situation, but send me a sign and guide me if you can. I think you can.” I think he can. I think God works in ways of letting people know what the right thing to do is. And I know he’s not God but I’ll talk to him sometimes, and ask if he can maybe help me, help guide me. So I still, even though he’s not with me every day, look to him as if he has the connection to me. And that helps a lot.
Difficult to have a middle ground
I would say that we are very strong and active Christians. When you look at the original diagnosis you deal with an array of spiritual questions. You either give up on God and your faith or it affirms it. It is difficult to have a middle ground. You’re either going to get very angry with God and ignore Him, or you’re going to run to Him, which is what we did. I don’t understand how God comes closer when you’re in more pain but He does.
Do you believe in God any less now?
I had people asking me about my faith. “Do you believe in God less now?” “Are you angry at God?” I couldn’t see it that way at all. No, God has gotten me through this and life is still good.
Bad things happen to good people
I believe bad things happen to good people. How I came to appreciate and process Carrie’s death was to recognize that her soul existed before her body and that she knew her life was going to be short and that was ok with her. She knew that ahead of time and she chose it. She volunteered. She was ok with dying and going back to heaven and being with us for a short time and bringing us the happiness that she could while she was here.
For me my faith was paramount. It really helped me throughout the process. I felt like by praying I was getting strength to endure the trial. Unfortunately, babies get sick and they die in the world we live in, so my faith provided me a huge amount of strength. Also, members from my congregation came and were very, very helpful.
Life and death in the Qur’an
God gave us life and he gave us death too. It is life and death, and we have to accept these things. We believe in God. We believe that after our time here, there is another life, and it’s not like this life, it’s something we don’t know. We believe that babies are angels in Heaven. We believe that God will reward the parents after this death, will reward them in Heaven, because they suffered.
In the Holy Book (Qur’an), the name of a door in Paradise is called Patience. That means we have to stick through… we have to be strong, even if something bad happened to you. It’s okay, just let it go, because God will give us a reward for that. That gives us strength.