Overcoming Adversity: Interview

Challenges and difficulties are part and parcel of life. We have heard stories of married couples who have, sadly, drifted apart because of tragedy, such as a difficult medical diagnosis of a child, the loss of a job, or countless other issues. While we don’t negate the impact that major life changes like these have on a marriage, we also believe that it’s possible to come closer together instead of pushing each other way.

In this post, we want to share the story of one of our good friends, Cameron and Delia Walcott, who have had to undergo a tremendously difficult time in the past year. We hope that this encourages you!

    
If you’re in a tunnel, the fastest way out is to go forward. This may sound trite, but sometimes we do just have to put our head down and keep walking forward. Sometimes there are no easy answers, but giving up is never the solution.
    
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Interview with Cameron and Delia Walcott

Here are some important insights that we believe can be a source of inspiration for you! 

Q: How do you normally respond to adversity? Which of you tends to panic, and which tends to be more level-headed?

Cameron: We respond to adversity by turning to Jesus. We are people of deep faith so that is the reflex response that we have. We turn to Him in prayer for grace to overcome. 

We also realize the only way to get through adversity is to go forward. If you’re in a tunnel, the fastest way out is to go forward. This may sound trite, but sometimes we do just have to put our head down and keep walking forward. Sometimes there are no easy answers, but giving up is never the solution. 

I wouldn’t say either of us are panicky. Delia definitely tends to be more optimistic, but neither of us would be considered someone who panics! I look at things analytically and sometimes see all the problems that could arise, or the issues of overcoming adversity, while Delia is generally more optimistic, which is very helpful! 

Delia: Both of us are calm people so we don’t panic in adversity. I’m definitely more emotional and Cameron is more level-headed. We make a good team in times of adversity.

Q. What kind of challenges have you had to face as a couple over the years?

Cameron: 5 years ago we moved to the United States after spending the first 11 years of our marriage in Singapore. We moved with our three children – Caleb was 9, Evan was 7, and Anna was only 2 at the time. We had grown very comfortable in Singapore, we were part of a big church and Delia has a huge family there and we were surrounded by people we loved. When we moved to Michigan in the US, we were blessed to have Cameron’s family here, as well as a few friends, but as Cameron’s family is smaller and we were pioneering a brand-new church and putting the kids into a new school, our support system was vastly smaller. We had to learn to lean into each other and not rely on some of the crutches we had before. 

We also gave up a lot of financial security, so that we could make this move, and had to deal with countless changes when it comes to lifestyle. 

We actually enjoyed overcoming these challenges together and with the kids but it wasn’t always easy! 

Delia: Other challenges we’ve had to take on include making adjustments when Cameron had to travel a lot as a missions pastor based in Singapore. It meant time away from the kids and me having to hold down the home front. But it is all worth it for the work of preaching the gospel in the nations. I remember having a bad gallbladder attack while Cameron was away in 2009, and he came back to find me in hospital. God has protected us over the years though and we haven’t had major health issues.

Another challenge would be navigating our youngest, Anna’s, health issues when she was a baby. She was diagnosed with Pierre Robin Sequence and a cleft palate after birth and the first year of her life was especially challenging. But it also drew us closer to God and to each other as we faced the difficult times together.

Q. Which would you say is one of the biggest challenges you’ve had to overcome so far? How did you do so?

Cameron: Unfortunately this question is very easy for us. On the morning of October 6th, 2020, I found our brilliant, loving, godly 13-year-old son Caleb unresponsive in his bed. He had passed away during the night due to a heart arrhythmia – we subsequently found out that he had a serious heart condition. He had shown zero symptoms and signs of it, so we had no idea he was even sick before he passed away that night. 

Caleb was a straight-A student, a star in three different sports, a budding musician, an author of 5 different books that have been published on Amazon, and a loving son and brother – he lived life full-speed and never showed any signs of disease. His future seemed limitless, so to say we were floored and devastated by his passing is the ultimate understatement. 

It was a challenge unlike any other, and I would say few couples ever go through something quite this devastating. 

To say we have “overcome it” would be inaccurate. I don’t think you fully “overcome” something like this. But how have we been able to continue going forward? How have we been able to continue loving and serving each other, and caring for Evan and Anna? 

I would say it’s by leaning into our relationship with Jesus, and realizing that He works all things together for good to those who love Him and are called according to His purpose. We also remind ourselves that, even though Caleb was in a pretty good place here on earth, he is in a much better place in the presence of God! 

And then of course Delia and I could keep going by relying on each other. She is relentlessly optimistic, and when I am at my lowest moments she never ceases to encourage me. I would say I’ve helped her, by taking care of many of the practical things that we have to do to go forward once Caleb was taken away. And both of us always encourage the other not to give up. When Delia is crying, I encourage her. When I’m tempted to just give up or grow depressed, she gives me joy and reminds me of God’s plan for our lives and the blessings we are still surrounded by. 

Q. How has your marriage grown or been affected by what you have experienced?

Cameron: We have grown by learning to rely on each other through the worst experience a husband and wife can go through. 

I think in these moments there are really only 2 choices. You either grow apart from each other or grow closer. There’s no way you can grow static. And we’ve learned to be there for each other and rely on each other like never before. 

I’ve seen a strength and resilience in Delia I never would have known if not for this. So that makes me love and respect her even more than before.  

Delia: Sometimes tragedies like what we experienced can break a marriage and tear the family apart. But because our marriage and relationship is built upon our faith in Christ, it drew us closer. 

No one else understands the pain of losing a child like the other parent does. We’ve never experienced heartbreak and despair like we did when we lost Caleb. But instead of hiding away in our own pain, we took steps to speak to each other about our pain (which can sometimes make it even more painful) and to listen to each other. 

We saw a counselor and that was really helpful. I heard Cameron say things that he hasn’t said to me because he wanted to protect me from pain. But I needed to hear it; I needed to hear what he was really thinking. It helped me understand his pain so I can be there for him. 

We didn’t grow apart; we grew closer.

Q. Tell us about your book. What would you say is one big takeaway you want readers to get? 

Cameron: “I Love You, Little Mister: A Father’s Struggle towards Hope in the Ultimate Tragedy” is my reflection on discovering hope in the middle of Caleb’s passing. I wrote most of it just a few months after Caleb was taken, and it details some of the raw thoughts and emotions that Delia, the kids, those close to us, and I went through in the days and months afterwards. I talk about how we can continue to hope in any situation, even the biggest nightmare any parent can experience. Whether you are facing utter tragedy, or just the everyday struggles and pains of life, this book can give you hope and meaning in the midst of your darkness. 

I also give lessons from Caleb’s remarkable, though short, life. How was he able to excel in so many things in such a brief amount of time? 

I would say the one big takeaway I would want readers to get is that there is always hope, in the middle of any struggle. Giving up often seems justified and reasonable, but there is always a better option. And that is to continue to hope that things can turn around. And as a believer in Jesus, the basis of my hope is that Jesus is alive – because He overcame the grave, there is nothing that can hold me down as well. 

Q. What are 3 things you would like to tell couples who are undergoing a difficult time right now?

Cameron: First, lean into each other, not away from each other. Be patient and loving and kind.

Second, dark times do pass. Things do get better. And even when you don’t understand the reasons for your suffering, going through trials can make you stronger and more equipped for what is ahead. 

Delia: Third, get help and support – from family, friends and counselors. It is natural to hide in our times of pain, and sometimes our pain makes us angry and we want to lash out at everyone, but having a community surround us and give us help and support will help us get through tough times. Our friends and family came and brought food for us, cleaned my house, helped us with the funeral meal and looked out for my kids in school. I mentioned seeing a counselor. We found someone who understood what we went through and was very patient and gave us good insights into the pain and darkness. We are still friends today. 

Facing Challenges with Hope

From this real-life story, we trust that you are able to find hope even in difficult situations. We are also happy to recommend Cameron’s book, “I Love You, Little Mister.” Watch out for our upcoming posts talking some more on how to overcome adversity together as a couple. 

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