Friday, October 15, 2010

October 15: A New Day +4


Well, what a difference having Nanny and Grandma on the scene! Man, they are gooood. It has been a joy having them around. There is much more joy in the house, and we needed an infusion of that, mostly to keep up with Ali! Ali needs near constant stimulation, and between making arrangements, keeping up with correspondences, and just plain grieving, it's been more challenging than usual (ya think?). Having 4 adults to keep Ali occupied and having fun is a lot easier than two! Reinforcements are good!

A lot of cleaning and packing got done today. We also finalized Bella's cremation process, and locked in with Como Conservatory for next week. We're shooting for Thursday at 4, but we are still waiting on hearing back from our hospital chaplain to see what her availability is. We are also in the process of putting the elements of the memorial together; music, readings, yougoogooley (you HAVE to watch Zoolander for that one), etc.

After a fairly productive day, we went out to Loring Pasta Bar in Dinkytown, one of my favorite places here. It is an old drug store that the owner gutted and completely created from scratch into a restaurant that looks like it is out of a Tim Burton movie. It is AWESOME. It was fun to get out and Ali was a rockstar! She is quite the little adult right now. Too cute. We actually had 2 courses! That's a big deal as all you with little kids know! I think Ang's droid with Elmo on it helped it all transpire rather smoothly. We even indulged in a bottle of wine! I honestly can't remember I ordered a bottle of wine at dinner. Probably in February when we were treated to an amazing trip by Molnlycke Healthcare for Bella being their patient of the year. Molnlycke makes just about all of the dressings we used on Bella. They are some of the most state-of-the-art wound care dressings out there, and they are a huge supporter of DebRA, and have repeatedly gone above and beyond the call of duty to help us with anything they can.

Incidentally, the other day I received a voice mail from the president of Molnlycke USA offering his most sincere condolences. He gave me his cell and told me to call with any needs we might have. He even pointed me in the direction of a retired 3M exec who lives here in the twin cities for on the ground support. Friends, that is a class act right there.

I also received a very nice call from Dr. Tolar today following up on the autopsy results. The lab reports aren't in yet, but on visual exam, he didn't see anything unknown with her liver and heart, her two biggest problem organs at the end. It will take 3-4 weeks to get the final microscopic detailed report. Dr. Tolar shared some really nice sentiments with how we conducted ourselves through the process, and I reciprocated, stating the same thing. I told him that I plan on working to help P.U.C.K find a cure for EB in my lifetime, and he paid me the nicest comment. He said, "Tim, you think well, and you speak well. I think working with Lonni and Jay will be most beneficial, and I certainly look forward to being your partner in that endeavor." Good stuff.

Angelique is doing an amazing job of keeping a steady pace through everything. She has more of a jogger pace, while I tend to sprint, crash, sprint, crash. Still, though the sadness permeates, she is as strong as ever. I am in awe of my wife. She makes me stronger than I'd be on my own. Just like Bella did. I am blessed to be around such high calibre women.

Ali is handling things pretty well, we think. I mean, we don't know too many other kids her age who have lost their little sibling, but given that, she seems to be doing really well. She colors and draws a lot, wants to play ALL the time (and why wouldn't she?), and occasionally responds with extremely appropriate comments about Bella. She wrote her friend a card that said, "I know Bella died I am sorry." The best of all though is the following note she wrote in Bella's guestbook. She asked mommy to spell for her each word, so mommy would spell each word one letter at a time, and Ali would write it...

The interesting thing is that Ali doesn't want to talk or listen directly about Bella. It works for her to express herself artistically or creatively, or to be more conversational, more roundabout, about Bella. What I mean about the second part of that statement is that if anything related to Bella comes up in conversation, she can hang with it and is in fact very funny, insightful, and appropriate in her interactions. However, if you try to ask her how she is, or a specific question about Bella, she very quickly says, "I don't want to talk about that." You know what? NO PROBLEM. As long as she continues to express her feelings, we don't care which avenue she chooses to do so with.

Bella's (sort of) hand print in the center... Ali did the rest...

Bella's pink feet, Ali's pink hands, mommy's red hand, and daddy's blue hand... we did these at the same time as the life molds.

Okay, that concludes the news of the day, into the deep end we go!

Someone asked us last night, "I am curious if you wish you had not done the BMT?"

Given all the information we had at the time, of course we would have! I wish Bella didn't die, but I also wish Bella never had EB, neither of which I have any control over. When mommy and I were with Bella after we bathed and dressed her, it was just the three of us. We were leaning on the bed, both caressing and holding her. We said we could feel guilty if we wanted to, but that we wouldn't because we did every thing we knew to do with the best information available at the time. If we were looking to do BMT now, and we were another family with an infant who just watched what happened to Bella, Daylon, and Elle, I think I'd say we might wait a little. However, all you have to do is go back to December of '09 when we were contemplating BMT to see that 4 EB kids died in one month alone for various reasons around the country, and that death comes to EB kids at any time, for any reason. Any of those kids could have been Bella. We could have lost her the night she was born when she coded. We could have lost her when she spent a week with a fever and infection in the hospital in the end of September.

One of the most important pieces of the study right now is that it at least gives parents hope. We were so lucky to give birth to Bella after the report of patient 1 was reported on in the press. Bella was born into hope. Prior to 2008, every child ever born into the world that had EB was born into a world of no hope for a cure. The psychological power of hope is immense, and we were not content with beginning palliative care for our daughter from day one until whatever day she finally succumbed to EB. If there was a chance - even a long shot - to save our kid from a fatal disease, do we take it? If our participation not only provides a chance at saving our child, but anyone who comes along after with the same disease, we thought, "How could we not?"

One of the things about being in this study is that regardless of whether Bella made it through or not, her case will improve the lives of kids behind her. It already has. Elle's care is informed by what happened to Bella, just like Bella's care was informed by what happened to Daylon. The ICU team at the U had very little experience with the EB patients for the first two years of the study. Now, since the end of June there have had between 1 to 2 EB patients around the clock there. That unit is learning the ins and outs of EB so that the outcomes of EB kids on the unit will no doubt improve from these early cases.

I will also say that what I wish really isn't any more relevant than wishing I hadn't crashed two of my parent's cars in high school. I am very pragmatic about feelings. First off, for 90% of the feelings you have during a typical day, you are at choice as to choose them, or choose otherwise. If a feeling doesn't serve what you are trying to accomplish, don't have it! In this case, wishing we hadn't done BMT doesn't serve my grief at all. It leaves me disempowered. It leaves me questioning my choices. One thing people who haven't gone through BMT with a child who isn't old enough to say for themselves need to realize is when you sign the consent form to poison your kid to within an inch of death, then try to bring them back unharmed... you better be blessedly sure you're making the right decision, and that there is no other alternative out there! The feelings that you did this to them, not nature, can reallllllly mess with you. It is an underlying weight that can whittle down your patience, trust (if you second guess yourself, how can you trust anyone else?) and tolerance for any mistakes. It takes some real mental exercise to keep that out of your dominating thoughts. It may creep in from time to time, and it certainly did for me, but I chose to let it go; it just made me feel worse than choosing to feel cared for, held, and comforted. So, I let it go as often as I had to in order to stay present and committed.

One more thing about faith I want to share tonight. I was really nervous that if Bella died, God would have made us all look the fool for praying sooooo hard for something that never came to pass. I thought, "Tim, you are really going 'all in' on this faith thing that Bella's gonna pull through. What if she doesn't? How are you going to explain that to your blog readers, huh?"

Good question, especially because Bella in fact did not get better, she died.

Well, if by praying and turning the intense fear and anxiety in me over to God, I am freed up to be connected, present, and in action for myself and my family, isn't that better for all of us regardless of the outcome? What if by being so freed up and in action, it actually influences the outcome? Let's say for argument sake that there are three types of endings to any situation:

1) goes your way
2) goes against you
3) could go either way (on the fence)

Let's say numbers 1 and 2 go the way they go regardless of your investment into them. But what about number 3? What if by having the courage (strength and action in the face of fear) to have faith that things will be handled by a power greater than you if you do everything you can on the ground, it swings number 3 into your favor? What if by being cynical and resigned, or an attacking control freak, you tip number 3 away from you?

Having faith might end you up with 66% of the decisions, while not might only net you 33%.

So, having faith just might double your chances of a favorable outcome!

That was fun.

Now, the kicker here is that no matter the outcome, if faith allows me to operate at my best, I am better for the process, regardless of the product. Let me ask you this, do you think the next time I am up against an obstacle in life, I will be stronger or weaker than before this BMT?

See, as my faith increases, my strength increases.

I'll say that again,

As my faith increases, my strength increases.

I know God is ultimately in charge of the outcome of all things, but I also know that I have a say in the process of all things, so I can choose WHO TO BE in the face of ALL THINGS.

And so can you.

What is your biggest obstacle in life right now? I don't want to know that you are doing about it, I want you to look at WHO YOU ARE BEING in the face of it. You can choose that. So, if you look outside and see a result you don't like, and look inside and realize you don't like who you're being to get that result, change who you are being. Try it. I had to shift who I was being constantly to get past personalities, egos, etc. Remember Dr. D? Remember the nurses early on on 5C? When was the last time you heard me gripe about 5C nurses? I had to change who I was being. I was suspicious, defensive, even combative early on with the nurses. At the end, I was a partner, a teammate, open to ideas, but still clear about my role.

So, try being the way you would be once the problem went away in the face of the problem, not after the problem.

Try it, see what happens, and let us know how you did! If I can do that with grief and BMT, what area can you work on?

One day, Bella DID say, "Yeah, I was born with this rare skin condition, but when they brought me home from the hospital, it went away.

God night.

"The hat is now MINE!" I am sad. Maybe she'll let me borrow it?

Ali climbed up the slide, turned around, and said... UFF DAH! Seriously.


  1. Dear Tim, I wondered the same thing, but didn't want to really ask. Your answer is great as always. You really think the right thoughts find the right words to say the right stuff.
    Love from BC

  2. Oh forgot to say that I love the last pictures of Ali !!! So cute !

  3. You really get me thinking every time I read your blog. I am still amazed every day at how strong you are and how wonderfully you use your words to convey to us how you feel. I look at my two babies every day and wonder if I would be able to be as strong as you and Ang if I was to lose one of them. I don't think I would. I really don't. You two are truely amazing people.

    I'm so glad that you have reinforcements! I'm sure Ali is having a blast. I really love how artistic Ali is. She's such a smart little girl. She's very talented. Hold on to her artwork, I'm sure that at the rate she is going it will be worth a lot of money some day. ;0)

    Lots of Love,
    Amber, Craig, Malorie(2 1/2), and Liam(9mos.)
    The McLaughlin Family
    Moreno Valley, CA

  4. So well put, as always! Its amazing how well you are able to verbalize your emotions. Thank you for your great questions....I don't think I've ever been 'here' before, within my own thoughts and stepping outside myself to look in on myself. Thank you for continuing to post- I can't tell you how much I look forward to reading your latest entry, at the end of each day. My mom & I have started a journal, taking some great quotes that you have relayed through Bella's journey...with ALL our love and prayers,
    nicole & family

  5. I was certain you would not make yourself wrong for the conviction of you statements of faith, but was curious to see how you would process it. WELL SAID :)

    Gave you and Bella a shout out on my blog
    I am very grateful for both of you. This blog post of your in particular makes me especially grateful for our monthly meetings.

  6. Once again, I love your thoughts tonight. I have not wanted to compare my experience to yours because it in no way can compare to the loss of Bella, so out of respect I haven't written about it until now. Through your blog, I have begun to look at my own life and grief issues through your eyes, and it is really helping me to process things. I started crying the other day when you were describing "cognitive disturbance" because I vividly remember the experience (well, I think I was crying through the whole blog actually).

    A year ago my then husband moved out and asked for a divorce. Then I found out about the affair he had been having for 2 years with a coworker. Our daughter was 3 at the time. I experienced and am still experiencing some of the same grief and guilt issues, but as a result of a very different situation. Again I am in no way comparing my stuff to your loss... just seeing similarities in the grief process. Your outlook on things has really been helping me to take a deeper look at the bigger picture of life, love, loss, faith, and no regrets. I am so thankful to Bella and your family. Be gentle with yourselves. Still praying and thinking of the 3 of you often,
    Jen in Colorado

  7. Tim,

    In ALL of your words, ALL of your prayers, ALL of your questions, I could hear God with you and in you. And as a parent to two young children, I would have done BMT also. You all have brought much hope and education to EB and I am so thrilled to hear that you will not stop working for all children and families that go through this. I know from losing my sister-in-law (age 14) suddenly and unexpectedly, that grief changes so much.
    And I know that the grieving process reveals and heals with time.
    I have always felt since I was a child that the times when I have ever questioned God and His plan the most was usually when I heard Him the most genuinely. Sort of like what happens after screaming. A person can only scream and yell for so long, before they need to stop. It was everytime that I stopped, that I could feel, see, hear, accept, understand, and embrace Him.
    So glad your parents are there for you all. So glad Ang is as strong and graceful as she is. So glad Ali is able to express herself in ways that she understands.
    Can't wait to walk for your sweet baby Bella on Sunday!

  8. Tim,

    Been praying for your family every day. I'm happy to see that Ali is able to express her feelings creatively. At that age, it is very hard for children to put their feelings into words. Allowing her to paint is a wonderful thing. My love and prayers are with you and your loved ones.

    Much love,

  9. Thanks Tim!!! I asked the question because with your honesty about everything I've read, I knew you would answer.

    I appreciate you putting it out there in as honest and humbling as you can. It's refreshing. It's full of conviction. It's honorable. I think these kind of answers will help people who read your blog and have to make decisions or live with decisions.

    What a gift you give to Bella's are her voice. I know the pain you will feel and are feeling will serve to help you help others. I am SO sorry for you loss. I am so sad for your families pain.

    Thank you again.....

  10. Hi Tim,
    I'm glad you had a nice family dinner and some wine! It's great to have the love of grandmas around you. I'm sure Ali will be fine because you and Ang are with her. Reading the comments I see I'm not the only one taking notes from your blog.
    Thank you for being so open ,for explaining how you feel and how "we" feel. I need to go back to the part about praying because I still stragle to explain that to my son Martin (12) who prayed "so hard" for Bella.
    I hope you have a nice family weekend.
    Love from England.

  11. Thanks for a beautiful answer to a hard question. I agree fully that it was the right choice. It was the only choice you could make to at least give her a chance to grow old without EB. I am so glad to hear that you have decided not to feel guilty. Isn't guilt just something we should feel when we did something bad and we should have known better? You gave her the best chance, her only chance and for that you should be very proud.

    Bella is in my thoughts every day. Even if no one can take on your pain and grief, we are many people who at least want you to feel that you are not alone.


  12. Tim, I agree with you. People must choose thoughts and emotions that make them stronger, not weaker. You needed and need all your strenght, so that's good to have an empowering life philosophy.

    You did your best, don't doubt it for a minute, cause doubt can ruin you.

    Please, tell Angelique, that although she is the silent member of the family (for the people who know you only through the blog) but her strenght and endurance is appreciated too. Send her my best wishes, I suppose what she is feeling now.

  13. Hi Tim,

    I've been reading every day still, sometimes more than once...

    no...I've actually read your posts several times a day, every day this week.

    I haven't really felt able to comment too much after the open letter.

    Still feeling so very sad, and like one person said, I feel the loss of being consciously HOPEFUL all day long...and I miss Bella too. Very much...

    But today, you have given my HOPEFULNESS back to me. Maybe it was your willingness to bring up a topic that I thought about too...whether you and Angi would do the BMT again. Your answer calmed my feelings about that subject.

    I know that we choose how to feel, most of the time. And if something isn't "working" for us, i.e, it's making us "feel bad", then choose a different way to feel about it. I was so afraid that you were both feeling guilty, and I was projecting that feeling onto myself...why do we do that I wonder? It was good to hear what you thought about it. It has given me back some of my ability to be completely in the moment again.

    I also wanted to say that the location you chose for Bella's service in MN looks just magical...I so wish I could attend. I like someone's idea of a video to share :)

    Thank you Tim, again, for your inspiration and insight...blessings to you and Angi and Ali, and to Bella, beautiful baby Angel!

  14. Bella was in fact healed, just not in the way we had hoped. She is whole and complete in the presence of God, she is running and playing like never before.

    Continuing to lift you and your family up in prayer, as you courageously face another day!!!

    Michelle in KCMO

  15. Good morning, Ringgolds...

    A very thought-provoking and healthy commentary on faith, life, choices, and decisions. There are so many factors in our lives that we have absolutely no control over. But, as you stated, we can control how we respond to those things. Personally, I am a major control freak and that vice often makes me crazy. I try very hard, however, to re-direct those impulses and focus on MY responses to the situations that I would seek to control. It's completely MY choice. The ball comes to MY court, and then I have to decide what I will do with it.

    And about the prayer thing...We have to give God the glory and praise in all things, not just when we get what we want. To not do so diminishes who God is. He is omniscient. He created the whole tapestry. We have finite minds and can only see a few threads on His creation. Now, I will confess, that is much easier for me to say than to practice. But in my times of great struggle and grief, that knowledge has helped me to keep putting one foot in front of the other.

    Thanks for continuing to include us in your journey. I always think of my "conversations" as being with you, Tim, but please let your lovely and strong Ang know how deeply we care for her. A mother's love has to be one of the most amazing creations of God. Please take good care of her!

    Blessings to you all!


    A friend in NC

  16. Ali sounds like a TRUE Minnesotan! Go Ali!

    Tim, I have learned from your posts. Cried. Smiled. Cried some more. I have been following since July. Bryce and Amanda shared your story and your way of writing had me hooked.

    Thanks for sharing your experience. For sharing your point of view... in so many situations. I have most definitely learned from you, from Ali, Ang, and of course, Bella.

    Love from Litchfield...

  17. BRAVO!! Brother Tim! So very well put! "As my faith increases, my strength increases". The fractions outcomes of faith! Your statistics training in college paid off well my friend. You are champion at making sense out of all this, really!

    I see this as your catalyst for getting through your grief and ours for getting over what WE thought was sure to be "the other outcome". Thank you for helping us get through this with you. Those of us that were praying for Bella and your entire family to pull through.

    Tell Ang too.


  18. Good morning Ringgolds,

    Sounds like you have everything under control. How nice to have your mom with you.

    I keep humming "Annie's Song" by John Denver. It seems so true. Perhaps it could be renamed "Bella's Song". Anyway, my head and heart are filled with your lives and so happy you have chosen to share this journey with all of us. So much to think about coming from your daily writings. I hope you might lead discussion groups in the future. I feel you all right there touching my heart. As always, Greenie(JG)

  19. Your strength amazes me every time I come here to read. Your family has been in my thoughts all week. We are doing CHOC Walk tomorrow (Princess Emily's Team) and will have our eyes open for Bella's Blessings! :)

  20. UFF DAH!...what a mouthful. Well said Tim! Thank you for continuing your blog. Thank you for continuing your work "against" EB.

  21. Tim, you really need into the motivational speaking circuit! I feel blessed, challenged and moved into action every time I read your posts. Glad you are getting to enjoy some MN bests while you are still here - the Pasta Bar is great! The UFf-Dah by Ali is hilarious, hopefully she'll keep up that Minnesoootahn when you go back home :)

    Still lifting you up in prayer and thought.


  22. Tim,

    I don't have too much time right now to comment; not enough time to comment on all I want to, but want to let you know I take notes. And I don't mean mental notes. I relate to you (or you relate to me) so well and you are hitting on some areas I really want to improve myself on. Will be back later with more.

    Thanks so much for the useful insights on making myself a better person.


  23. My Grandmother always said for us not to pray for what we want but for what God wants. She said to pray for God's will to be done and that we would have the wisdom and strength to follow it through the way He would want. I am sure that is especially hard to do when His will is the passing of your child but I think you are doing an admirable job of trying to turn this to something positive for those still here fighting EB. Thank-you for you grace, courage, and strength.
    Still praying for you and your family,
    Tiffany in Texas

  24. Getting a lot done at our home, cleaning out rooms,drawers and closets. Busy hands, quiet mind and it wandered to Bella and your post today...I absolutely did not ask the question "Are you regretting that you did BMT" because I think you should. It is so obvious that you and every parent who makes medical decisions for their children do them with the best information available. Your devotion to all children with EB is beautiful. I think the question came because you mentioned you paid with Bella's life....

    I hope I never ever know someone with EB personally. But if I do, I know who to refer them to. I know there is a community of parents out there who are fighting for better treatment and a cure.

    I believe that Bella's journey will help those parents who need information and support.

    Anytime I hear the name Bella, I will think of the sweetest little angel whose family has inspired me.

    Congratulations on being the best parents Bella could have had!! Kudos on your efforts to educate the rest of us and to share your growth in such an honest and humble way.

    I am so sorry for the pain your family is going through. Thinking of you and wishing you well.

    Thank you for blogging....

  25. thank you, thank you for being honest with us. Praying for you during this time. praying for ali as she goes through this

  26. Tim, you are amazing. Your optimism and strength in the face of such grief amazes me. Thank you for continuing to write and letting us share your journey.

    Anna Marie

  27. Tim, your words are amazing.. I know I've said this before but it's true. I checked in at Kia Motors today for the walk tomorrow. I feel so HONORED that I am doing this in honor of Bella. I have never met you or your family but the way you describe everything on your blog makes me feel like I've been there with all of you this whole time! It amazes me how there is a group of people that have all never met before and we are all coming together because of your sweet little girl. :) Thank you again for sharing your amazing story. :)

  28. Just some random thoughts from a beautiful conference I attended today. I thought of your family a lot during the day and these random things may bring you a bit of comfort:

    *We die because the body is no longer capable of containg the incredible animation of the soul. The soul never dies. The power of the intellect and will continue to KNOW, LOVE, and be fully animated.
    *Suffering dialates the soul so that it can receive more love.

    I continue to lift your family up in prayer each day.

  29. Precious artwork. Lifting y'all up as you deal with your new reality. Bests,
    Lauren in Spring

  30. Hi Tim,

    I have to admit I also asked myself that same question the other night. I like your answer. It was mostly the thoughts that I had too, but I could never write it as eloquently as you do. I also felt before the BMT that it was the right thing for Bella in that moment, and you can't go back and change what's right in the moment!

    I've said more than once that I don't remember how I was led to Bella's blog. Well I remebered this morning when a package landed on my doormat. It was a testing kit for bone marrow donations. I remember now that I signed up to be a donor, which in turn led me to the internet (where I do 90% of my research) and led me to your blog. So now I have the testing kit, and hopefully I can help someone who needs a bone marrow transplant. I thought of Bella straight away. I really hope I am a match so I can help in BMT's, for whatever reason they're required. Bella has challenged me, in more ways than one, to be a better version of myself. I can't donate financially to help, but I can spare some bone marrow!

    I'm glad there are people with you now that can support you in person and help you prepare to return home. I can't begin to imagine the pain that will bring. I am thinking of you all often. I think you have chosen a perfect location for Bellas memorial. I just wish it wasn't necessary (I know... wishing won't achieve anything...).


  31. I love the art work!! Ali you are adorable.

  32. heavno!

    tim, thank you so much for another insightful post. i am reading "bella's blessings" and am finding myself more amazed at you and angelique and how you chose to react to having a child with eb. sweet bella was and continues to be an inspiration to all of us who are fighting physical/emotional/spiritual challenges.

    i agree with ali...i miss sweet bella so much!

    thank you for sharing your journey with all of us. praying that god will comfort you in this very sorrowful time in your lives.

    god bless y'all
    w-s, nc

  33. Thank you for answering the question that so many people were wondering. I think about you so often but am still in disbelief. I didn't want to think I abandoned you though.

    Hugs from Dallas

  34. I would not have prayed any less if I had known the outcome beforehand. I do not believe that the statement made about Bellas healing was miswritten before her passing. I know the Lord knows the prayers we pray even if we don't have exactly the right words to relay our wishes.

    You and your family are such an inspiration to me. I really appreciate your writing and your take on faith. I find that I agree with you on so many things and you have such a wonderful way articulating your thoughts.

    I wish that I was able to make it to Bellas memorial but I am much too far away. I will be there with you all in thought though.

    Good night, Ringgold family. Sweet dreams of Bella.


  35. I am so sorry to hear of Bella's passing. I hadn't checked the blog for a few days and didn't realize. She was in my prayers daily, and I will continue to pray for your family and a cure for EB.

  36. Tim and Angie,
    Though I have been following your blog, for some reason I missed most of this week.........until today. Wow...what a shock. I cannot imagine what you are going through these days. I have such special memories of Bella, and feel privileged that I had so many opportunites to get to know her. Please know that your whole family has blessed me beyond belief as you have opened your hearts to us all. Tim, while I cried today, I read and re-read, and marveled at your spiritual insights. In fact I copied some of the sections on faith so I could save and re-read them later. God is teaching me through you. Thank you for being used by Him.
    Mike and I send our condolences and prayers for the peace that defies human understanding. I look forward to attending the OC memorial for Bella. God's love and peace to you tonight. with love, Becky Stone

  37. I just came across your blog last night (oct 15) via Patrice Williams' blog. Your posts on faith are right on and are just what I need now. I am learning some of the same things now as my mom (at only 59 yo) lies in a Hospice bed in the next room. I have whole-heartedly believed for years that she'd be healed of this cancer. I understand now that she is about to receive the ultimate healing. As much as this hurts, I'll be better for it in the end--and so will she. As our pastor once preached, "not everything is good, but there is good in everything." I've already learned so much through this experience.

  38. Yeah, exactly. I am living right now with a lot of what ifs and uncertainty in my life right now. I want to be living on the west coast, raising a family, having those babies first, but I'm not. And I have a plan, my husband and I, about how we are going to get everything we want out of life, but we also have to live each day waiting (right now). I could be crabby about it all the time, or beat myself up for the choices that landed me here in the first place, but I try not to. Instead, I try to get into THIS moment, the very one in front of me, and make the most of it. When I'm working the job I no longer want, instead of focusing on that, I focus on the task at hand and find some joy in it. Bella reminds me that life is short, that we have to go ALL in, in this very moment. I would echo your words of believing that Bella would one day look back on her illness, and I did this late, late in the game, but I did it fully, and in that moment, I believed. I'm glad I did. I don't feel like god or Bella proved me wrong, I feel like I was able to take a huge leap of faith and believe in miracles. I feel like I was given a gift. And next time, I hope I can do the same. More than anything, I want to feel gratitude for reading about Bella's life, not sadness or loss. I want to celebrate her amazing father who brings people out and together with such force, I'm always awed. I want to do these things, so I do. Thank you.
    Ft Lauderdale

  39. Dear Ringgold Family,
    Thinking of you as you continue on your journey. Love your words of inspiration Tim. I find, and I know others do too, that I think of how you are handling things throughout my day and it helps me to get through mine, although I cannot & do not compare-but just your way of coping is inspirational. Take care of each other and know that love surrounds you.

    try being the way you would be once the problem went away in the face of the problem, not after the problem.

    Robin and Michael Setto

  40. Tim,Ang & Ali,

    There are things that we don't want to happen but have to accept, things we don't want to know but have to learn, and people we can't live without but have to let go. ~Author Unknown,,my thoughts and prayers are with your family at this most difficult time.