By Ben Brumfield and Leslie Bentz
(CNN) — When two small caskets gradually descend into the ground Thursday in Atlanta, it may begin to sink into their father’s head that his children are gone. It hasn’t so far.
As Mark Edge has cried over them, he has felt their presence at his side.
Police recovered their bodies in a Santa Ana, California, hotel room nearly two weeks ago. Their mother poisoned them, authorities allege.
Jaelen was 13, Faith was 10.
A custody battle that raged around them for years had just been settled. Edge was supposed to be packing up their books and pencils back in Cobb County, Georgia, making their breakfast, and getting them off to school about now.
Earlier this month, a Georgia court ordered his ex-wife Marilyn Edge to hand them over to him. But it seems she wasn’t going to let him have them.
Mark Edge’s lawyer Marian Weeks had a feeling his ex would split town by how she behaved when the custody ruling came down.
When the judge awarded custody of the children to the father in early September, their mother made an abrupt exit, Weeks told CNN affiliate WSB.
“When Judge Leonard was giving his order on Wednesday afternoon, she got up and left the courtroom in the middle of it,” she said. Weeks told her client that she thought Marilyn Edge might flee to California, where she used to live.
It wasn’t the first time
She had bolted with them before, Mark Edge said.
After her children’s father received visitation rights a year ago, Marilyn Edge ran away with them to her native Arizona.
“But neither of us thought she’d kill the children,” Weeks said.
Police arrested Marilyn Edge not far from the hotel where Jaelen and Faith’s lifeless bodies lay. She had rammed her car into poles protecting an electrical box in a Home Depot parking lot. Police think she was trying to kill herself.
Orange County has charged her with two felony counts of special circumstance murder. The special circumstances being multiple murders and murder by poisoning.
She could spend the rest of her life in a state prison without parole if a court convicts her.
Marilyn Edge is scheduled to enter a plea to the charges in a Santa Ana court on October 25.
She had often used their children to hurt him, Mark Edge alleges.
But finally they were going to live under his roof, and he was excited about that. “I started doing all the preparations that I needed for my kids as far as trying to get them in school,” he said. “My mind was just on them.”
Then the police appeared at his door. The news hurled him into a dark place.
“It hurt me so bad; I had a feeling that I never felt before. It was the total opposite of what I felt when they were born,” he said.
The pain was immense. He couldn’t describe it in words. Edge checked himself into the Veteran’s Administration hospital, his lawyer said.
Facing his wife
Edge is still holding fast to his deceased son and daughter. He is together with them in God’s hand, he says. And he is still doing things for them, imagines their future stretched out before him. He pictures his son going to his school prom.
“I don’t see them as not being here with me right now. I see my children still here with me. When I sleep, I dream of my son, and I dream of my daughter.”
Edge says he is strapped for cash. The Willie Watkins funeral home is taking donations to help pay for his children’s funeral. And he is trying to raise funds on gofundme.com to pay for a trip to California, he told WSB.
There, he may have to face his former wife again, at her murder trial.
CNN’s Amanda Watts contributed to this report.
™ & © 2013 Cable News Network, Inc., a Time Warner Company. All rights reserved.