This little three-month-old creature, so poor, so tiny, was already a person and a character for me. She was beginning to know me, to love, and smile when I came near. When with my comical voice I used to sing songs to her, she liked to listen to them. . . . And now they say to me in consolation that I'll have other children. But where is Sonya? Where is this little personality for whom, I say boldly, I would accept the cross's agony if only she might be alive.
Though the Dostoevskys were to go on to have three more children, they would repeat this experience ten years later when the youngest, Alyosha, died at the age of three after a seizure of convulsions-apparently inherited from his father
Dostoyevsky on faith:
He himself writes that "I came from a pious Russian family. . . . In our family, we knew the Gospel almost from the cradle."
Notably, the book of Job made a deep impression on him at an early age ... he was raised in Moscow, "the city of innumerable churches . . . of palace and church combined," and his family made an annual spring excursion to a nearby monastery "One can gauge from such details," writes Frank, "how completely Dostoevsky's childhood immersed him in the spiritual and cultural atmosphere of Old Russian piety"
These strong childhood experiences furnished for Dostoevsky deep spiritual roots which imbued him with an almost fanatical love for Christ which he would retain all his life. It is essential to note when studying the spiritual struggles of Dostoevsky that because of this basic foundation developed as a child, he always approached the crises of his life as a Christian thoroughly examining his beliefs, not as an atheist daring the world to convince him.
Nonetheless, his was always a highly dynamic faith, with marked peaks and valleys. It would be a mistake to say that at any time he had gone "all the way" to one side or another, as his faith was constantly under evaluation. Hence during his years with the Socialist political circles in Petersburg, although he spent considerable time with and in fact followed affirmed atheists such as Belinsky and Petrashevsky, one can't simply brand Dostoevsky as an atheist at that time, though his faith certainly hit a low point then.