Monday, October 25, 2010

October 25: Indiana


Heaveno!

I fell asleep getting Ali to sleep, and have risen briefly to share the magic of a day with you all. We left MN today, and that was strange, very strange. The finality of Bella's death hit home as we drove home with(out) her. Yes, we have her memories, yeah, we have her ashes, blah, blah, blah. At the end of the day, we don't have Bella in the way we hoped we would. For that I am so so sad.


Our journey today took us through MN, WI, IL, and IN. Ali did pretty well today; just one meltdown before finally falling asleep for a good nap. I got to see Chicago for the first time relatively up close. I took the interstate right into downtown so I could see as much of it as I could. It has quite a large skyline; like three or four Minneapolises!


We ended up in northwestern Indiana at the home of our friends Rada and Doug. They have two kids the same age as ours. Rada and Angelique used to work together at Verizon Wireless in Irvine, CA before Doug's work took them up here to the Chicago/Great Lakes Region. I hadn't seen either of them since they moved in '05, so it was a nice reunion, and fun to see the three kids that were not around last time the 4 of us were together.


So, tomorrow, we are on to Louisville, KY! I am excited as all of this is virgin territory for me. I have been up and down the coasts, but I am really enjoying seeing and feeling the interior of the great country of ours. There is just so. much. land, and it is beautiful (well, so far at least).


THANK YOU to all who have donated to PUCK in Bella's memory. They have received close to $2000 in donations over the past 2 weeks, and for that, we are so so grateful to you. IF you have been meaning to contribute, please do so NOW! :) Operators are standing by...

PLEASE take a second and let us know if you are planning on coming to one of our OPEN Gatherings in NC, TX, or AZ. These are the three biggest hotbeds of blog followers behind CA and MN, and we want to meet you. We want you to meet us. We have grown so close as a community. It was such a treat to get to meet three blog followers who came to the MN memorial. It was sooooo nice to put a face to the name we saw under the comments week in and week out. Even if you weren't a commenter, if you got value from this blog, please come out and share that with us. Also, our local organizers in each city need to get a sense of just what they got themselves into! For example, Patrice in NC is a TYPE A Planner! If she doesn't get some numbers from me soon as to who's showing up to this shindig, her head might come unglued. No joke! So, SAVE PATRICE! Tell us you're coming.

The NC Gathering is at Bolton Park in Winston-Salem from 5-7:30ish on THIS Friday, 10/29.
you can head over to Patrice's blog to read more about the plans. She's doin' it southern style with a pot luck and everything!


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Okay, gotta run for now and get back to sleep. Thank you all for STILL being here. I don't know what we'd do without you. It is so comforting waking up or going to bed reading all your comments of support and love. Please keep them coming. The grief is hitting in waves, and your presence softens their blow. Feel free to ask questions, talk, share, whatever in the comments. We are and have been a close-knit community for some time now. We recognize each other's names and style! Please, this isn't supposed to be a lecture, it's supposed to be a conversation.

God night.


This was taken by my computer program "Photo Booth." I just found some cute pics and video from when Bella and I discovered this fun little thing. I am guessing it was February by the beard... I hope you don't mind, but I plan on sharing more pics from Bella's "Glory Days" going forward. I don't know it will help or hurt, but many of you never 'met' Bella before the ICU, and I'd like to give you more of her to make her memory match her life.

64 comments:

  1. Wow what a cute picture of you and Bella - sending love as always from Melb. Australia

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  2. You are both glowing on the picture from the photobooth. Bittersweet memories...
    They must be well and happy right now. Suppose Bella is looking over your shoulder and smile and think - what a good time we did have!

    Elena

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  3. Glad you got to drive through the awesome city that is Chicago! I know I'm a bit biased - but I believe that it's the best/prettiest skyline in the country! (did you get a chance to stop for lunch and have some of our famous deep pizza???)

    Can't wait until morning and I'm on my own computer instead of the ones at work so I can see the pictures!

    My little guy here at work is behaving himself, so I'm starting to wade through all of the EB info I have. The resourses you have listed on the sidebar have been great, especially EB Nurse!

    Glad you got a little further south before the big weather system hits - supposed to have hurricane force winds here in the great lake region...

    Jess
    Chicago, IL

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  4. Keep the pictures of Bella flowing...for me personally i only 'knew' Bella laying in her ICU bed so to see her as she was..a vibrant, cheeky, happy baby is pure joy!
    Enjoy your road trip and meeting all these wonderful people..its too far for me so i shall continue to live vicariously thru the blog.

    Love and best wishes always

    Jenny
    Canada

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  5. Hi Tim! Sounds like your journey is off to a great start. What a wonderful way to come home. LOVE, LOVE, LOVE seeing Bella in her "glory days" as you called them. I wish I could meet all of you in person also so if you are ever in Silicon Valley.....our doors are open.

    Wishing you my best and looking forward to hearing about your journey home. I am so glad you are able to meet with people who also feel the loss of Bella. I hope it is healing for you and Angelique.

    Kim

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  6. There she is!!! Hi Bella Doll! Boy I surely do miss you.
    'The grief is hitting in waves...'- this is where I can relate...I'm happy & smiling and able to hold it together when I talk about Bella...and then the 'wave' comes...where I just meltdown and long for her and lose all composure. The other day I was at St. Joseph and decided to eat my lunch in the car while I caught up on emails, etc. I broke into a million pieces when I locked eyes with CHOC across the structure- my heart literly ached & cramped. There is not ONE day that passes, let alone ONE hour..where I don't think about you guys and pray, pray, pray for you. I'm so glad that you can 'feel' us all and know that you are not alone.
    I'm looking forward to all the pictures you'll be posting of the scenery- I've only been on each coasts as well. And (starting a sentence with AND..haha..who cares, right?)I'm really, really, REALLY, looking forward to seeing Bella's pictures! I'm dying to see her in her 'cow print' carseat....can you post one? Every morning when I'd see the carseat @ the door in Joanie's house....my heart was over joyed with excitment knowing that Bella was just a few steps away from me seeing her!
    We are praying for you...May God pour his peace, strength and love over you Tim, Ang and Ali.
    With all our love,
    nicole b & family

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  7. I see your coming to TX, unfortunately it is mid week and dallas is four hours out from Houston. My four month old is big like Bella was and every time I look at him I think of you and her. You know its a really great thing you did for EB,(still doing). I would have never known about this disease.

    I can't imagine the grief after losing a child. Bella was such a beautiful happy baby. I wish I could have met her. I know that she is watching over her family. Thank you for sharing her with us, and continuing to share your family. Your words are truly inspirational.

    Because of Bella someday an EB child will say, yeah I was born with this rare skin condition, but when they took me home from the hospital it went away.

    Lisa
    Houston, TX

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  8. I love the picture of Bella and you! Man, was she adorable!?!? There is something so familiar about her smile. I think that in every happy picture I see of her! I am glad you will be sharing more pictures. While it makes me sad knowing she is *gone*, it makes my heart happy to see her pretty face!

    I am glad your trip is going well and that you are getting to meet up with friends you haven't seen in awhile and blog followers! Remember to be gentle to yourselves and to each other... the pain you are feeling right now must be close to unbearable. You are in my continued thoughts and prayers and extra prayers for a safe road trip!

    Also, I am so glad that you are still posting and continuing to share your life with me!

    Kristi- Castle Rock, CO

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  9. The Midwest is a special place. I am from North Dakota and each time I go back I feel refreshed. Once outside the large cities, the hustle and bustle that is often felt in California is gone and it is so easy to see the beauty in all things.

    As you continue on your journey I will continue to pray for your family and your healing.

    Sarah and family
    Chino Hills, Ca

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  10. Tim, I really do not know what is to be in your and Ang's shoes. I've lost my father, and although I have wonderful memories and I'm in peace, I still miss so much his voice, the way we looked at us, is presence. I do not even imagine what would be like to lose a child, it is not the way things are supposed to go, you're supposed to die before your children not the other way around.

    I love reading what you write, and be free to cry, to be sad, to feel lost and even to be angry. I think is a wonderful thing to find the silver lining in everything, but just sometimes maybe it is a good thing to let us go. And I'm sure that your serenity will prevail.

    Carla, Luxembourg

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  11. Awwww...you'll be in my neck of the woods today. Be careful! There are some high winds and nasty storms on the way this afternoon.

    Enjoy the 'Ville!

    As always, your family is an inspiration to ours:)

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  12. Yeah, grief tends to hit in waves, maybe it is us taking it in at a rate that we can cope with....?

    Please share photos and stories from Bella's life with us! We love you to! And ask your friends who knew Bella, to keep talking about her and sharing their memories of her with you. Maybe it will bring you joy to hear that people remember her and that she has left sweet memories with them.

    I so much wish that she was with you in that car on your way home. I wish you had had both your daughters there, and Ali her little sister. It's like you say, at the end of the day she is not there in the way you had hoped she would be and of course it hurts!!!

    I hope you will keep meeting wonderful people along your way and that the scenery will give you some distraction.

    Alexandra in Australia (Adelaide, South Australia)

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  13. Boy! I don't envy your driving days on end. So glad you get to break it up and meet your friends. What a blast! Have fun with it.

    Safe traveling to you.

    Suze

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  14. Beautiful pic! Wish we could meet you but S.Florida is too far from all those places. We continue to pray for your family.

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  15. I can't explain the LOVE I feel each time I read your blog!!! It is overwhelming!!!! Your family is so inspiring!!! GOD BLESS ALL OF YOU!!!!!

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  16. Of all the places in the entire country to be driving today, you just happen to be in the area that's supposed to have tornados and 50 to 70 mph winds. I'm hoping that all of that weather nonsense will quickly move east of you, and you'll be fine for your drive. It's supposed to hit my neck of the woods, Central Ohio, around rush hour, and we've already postponed a trip down to my mother's for dinner (about an hour south of here) until tomorrow.

    Everytime my husband goes down to my mom's with me (which isn't often) her electricity goes out. This drives my high-strung husband crazy - probably because he's loud, kinetic, and quite the talker, where my family is downright stoic by comparison. Without the background noise of a television, there's just too much deafening silence for my husband to deal with!

    I loved the picture of you and Bella, and I look forward to seeing more of her at her best.

    Keep on truckin'
    Angela Ulrich
    Dublin, Ohio

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  17. Oh Tim what a wonderful picture of Bella & You - it made me cry. Made me miss seeing her sweet face everyday on your blog! I know you all must be feeling that a million times worse! But she is saying now "Yeah, I was born with this rare skin condition, but when they brought me home from the hospital, it went away."

    Safe travels - prayers of comfort still coming your way.
    Tina in NJ

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  18. Glad your through Chicago area....Horrible wind storms coming through. I always worry about anyone I know going on a road trip! Is Ang helping you drive?

    I am grieving Bella,also. This was apparent yesterday when I thought of you leaving MN and all of those connections and memories and the tears just flowed....those waves you talk about.....mine are waves, yours must be tidal waves! I never knew I could love so much someone I have never met.

    Enough of that....safe travels...enjoy the beautiful landscapes and friends. I grew up in Illinois and am always amazed at the beauty of the Midwest.

    Love you guys!!
    Neysa

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  19. Hi Tim: Reading your blog this morning brought a smile to my face. The line, having Bella's memories, and her ashes, blah blah blah. How true. I have Leah's ashes in a cross necklace but I sure would rather be holding my precious granddaughter in my arms.
    Hope this other journey of yours will be truly remarkable for the whole family. Please be careful. Love you guys. Love and Peace Leah's Nana

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  20. I wish I could make it to the NC gathering! That park is literally RIGHT down the street! But I have another commitment that I can't break! If it falls through I will definitely be there!!! Praying for your safe travels!!

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  21. heaveno!

    safe travels ringgolds!

    praying that your heartache will be lessened with all the wonderful memories you have of sweet bella!

    looking forward to friday!

    god bless y'all
    susan
    w-s, nc

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  22. The tears come in waves as I think of you, family and sweet Bella miss her so much I know I have not met any of you but it feels like you guys are a part of my family. Keep those photos coming she truly had the most beautifullest smile despite all the discomfort such an inspiration. I think you guys should come to South Africa for a while I would love to meet you all in person :) God Bless and lots of love

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  23. Hi Tim!

    I SO wish I was able to make it to at least one of your "Gatherings"...the closest is NC at 5 1/2 hours...(and even as I write this, my mind is trying to figure out a way to make it happen!) I love seeing the pictures of Bella "before"...they make me cry all over again at her loss, but they are a wonderful way of keeping her memory, and her legacy ALIVE! And I love you all for making it so...blessings, and safe journeys, always.

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  24. Safe travels through our beautiful nation. I am continuing to pray for y'all as you treck home.
    While I'd love to attend the Dallas gathering I will be unable to do so - all the best though.

    take care of yourselves - it is way easy to get run down physically after such an intence period of emotional trial.

    And the 'photobooth' picture is precious!

    Lauren in Spring (a momma in spring, TX)

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  25. Dear Ringgold Family,
    Just checked off to attend the Phoenix gathering (yay!) Thank you for continuing to post and share your journey. Love how we are able to see the beautiful country through your eyes. I go back and look at the photos of Bella from the beginning all the time, posting some more as you come across them would be great! Be gentle with yourselves as you go through your healing process.
    Much love and good energy being sent your way.
    Love,
    Michael and Robin Setto

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  26. I would love to come to the Dallas memorial. Where exactly is it going to be?

    I love the picture of you and Bella! I think it is a great idea to share the happy times with us so that we can see her personality shine through.

    Praying for you always,
    Memory-Fort Worth, TX

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  27. Gma Alice in CaliforniaOctober 26, 2010 at 6:56 AM

    Thank you for the beautiful picture of Bella. Yes, seeing her precious smile has me in tears but thanks for sharing pictures of the Bella I want to remember - "happy, smiling and full of love. Will keep you all in my prayers for safe travels.

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  28. Tim! Are you kidding me!? I'd LOVE to see more pics of Bella...like you said, I "met" her when she was very sick...and seeing the picture you posted in this post brought a smile to my face. To see her beautiful face and bright eyes...she is a lovely child. I swear she just glows. And so do you...it is evident that she brings so much joy to your life...I'm so sorry she's flown to heaven. Sorry for you...not for her. Holding your family close in prayer during this period of raw grief...
    Kathryn in Kansas City, MO

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  29. Enjoy the great commonwealth of Kentucky today! I love it!

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  30. I recently found your blog through another and I have been praying for your family. Your posts are beautiful as are your pictures.

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  31. Kentucky is a beautiful state - I lived there for several years and, although a big city person by nature (and birth - Chicago, so I was pleased that you got to see the skyline), KY is special. I continue to pray that your family's travels (through this country and through grief) are safe and healing.

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  32. Still here reading...still here thinking...still here praying. Jonah was the first EB baby I'd ever heard of and I followed Patrice's blog faithfully. (Her blog was listed on another blog when Jonah was born asking for everyone to pray for him) Since then, I learned of Tripp and Leah. Then came the EB BMT and I started reading about Sam...from there, it has snowballed and I now read/keep up with 10 EB babies/kids. I'm not sure why this disease and the children it effects has caught me so. Of all the childhood diseases out there to pray about and educate myself about...I'm not sure why EB. Other than they are such precious children who are suffering things that we can't imagine. This children have some of the MOST loving/tender/caring/devoted parents that I've ever seen. I think I'm amazed by the sheer will to live that these children have.

    Sorry...I'm rambling...not sure what I'm trying to tell you. I'll sum it up to say that I won't be able to attend one of your gatherings, but it if you take the route I'm thinking you'll take from Atlanta to NOLA, then you'll be traveling about 2 hours south of my house in MS. I'll be thinking of you. And yes, from what I've read about Patrice, this is completely against the very thread of her being to put this together on the fly and not worry about numbers... check her blog comments - best advice given to her yet was to stuff a cupcake in her mouth and not worry about the food! Ha!! Loved it!

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  33. Those car rides are times when you notice which seats are not full. Many hearts are with your family as you grieve.

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  34. Bella! That is the Bella I remember. I love seeing her happy face...and your too of course. Glad you are enjoying the road trip and getting see so many beautiful places. What a treat! And doing it as a family is an even bigger treat :)
    Be safe in your travels! we are continuing to pray for you all everyday/night.
    Can't wait to see you guys and have some much needed hugs!
    Love,
    The Vanderbooms
    Every night when I finally get Evie to sleep I hold her in my arms by her crib and pray. I thank God for her every night and I know I do this not only because I really am thankful, but because through "being" on this journey with you, I have learned to never take anything for granted. You have helped me become a better mom. And for that I am eternally grateful. While praying I am always looking up at the butterflies above her crib and smile because I know Bella is there and we "chat" for a brief moment and then I say good night to both girls! Thank you for everything!

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  35. Waiting for you guys in Dallas!!! please let me know if you need me to do anything for you guys, do you have an organizer in Dallas? Thank you for sharing Bella's foto, I miss her....continue praying for all of you, please drive safely and I will see you guys here soon!!!

    Betsy Gasca

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  36. I love that picture of you and Bella! I must say how much I love seeing pics of MN and your road trip. I honestly had no idea how beautiful MN is even though I was born there! I can't say I want to experience the winter there, but it would be nice to visit during Fall! I am a whimp when it comes to cold weather...which is why I love living in AZ! Sadly, the hubby doesn't love the heat as much as me!

    I hope your journey home helps bring you all peace and comfort through the grieving process. You all are in my thoughts and prayers. I look forward to more pics of Bella and family.

    Peace,
    Michele AZ

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  37. I love the pic, please keep them coming! Makes my heart smile :)
    MN is missing you!
    Love, Amanda Schauer

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  38. I can't stop thinking about your family and Bella, it is weird to sort of feel like I am grieving as well, clearly not in the way that you are, but checking in on her was a nightly occurrence in our house. Hugs! I have looked through the pictures that scroll on your side bar many of times! Bella is beautiful! The pictures often make me tear up a little. I can't imagine your loss. Enjoy your travels...

    Cathryn (Colorado)

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  39. Tim, Angelique, and Ali...

    What an awesome family you all are. I am so thankful that you continue to allow us to be apart of your journey with Bella. She has and continues to touch my life by drawing me closer to GOD!

    I have recently started to "back-read" your blog posts from the very first one, when Bella was in the NICU. Tim, Ang, and Ali, your faith and love for Bella has made an impact on my life. I have also learned to love Bella as a living girl instead of a child with a life-threatening disease. As I do this, I am grieving in a different way, and as with you all, my grief is hitting me in different stages. I feel almost guilty to compare my grief to yours, so please forgive me! She continues to teach me lessons that I am so thankful for.

    The picture of Bella so made my day! What a beautiful child!!! I am so looking forward to see the pictures and videos of Bella on photobooth.

    P.S. I'm so happy you are enjoying your journey easy! This "side" of the country is absolutely stunning.

    P.P.S I'm also wondering if Bella's song and the Providence song are still available on iTunes? I would love to purchase them.

    Love,
    Megan from WV

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  40. Such a beautiful picture - love it.

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  41. When we choose to do something that may have a dangerous effect or a positive effect we choose to lean on God. When our child dies, from something we had little to no control over, and we choose to be prayerful we choose to lean on God. This world is not the place that we end in, it can be such a horrible, fallen place, but it also shows us glimpses of what Heaven is going to be like and what God is really like, how wonderful to open your eyes and see His Glory. No more pain, no more tears, no more hate, no more hunger, no more hospitals, no more loss, no more goodbye. Just a lot of pain for us here left on Earth, waiting for New Earth or our own going home day.
    I'm really praying for you and your family, I hope you get the answers in this life about why Bella did not survive the BMT. God is faithful, God is just, God is Love.
    Pvb 3:5

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  42. Praying for traveling mercies for your journey!!! Your family continues to amaze and inspire me. Adorable picture of you and Bella,thanks for sharing!!

    Michelle in KCMO

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  43. WOW...I absolutely love that picture of you and Bella. You both look so HAPPY. I would absolutely LOVE to see more pictures of Bella pre BMT. That would be such a treat. I'd really get to appreciate Bella on a whole new level.

    I really like all the pictures from your travels too. Keep those coming. I haven't traveled much thru this great country of ours and it's nice to get to experience it in some form. I've never been farther east then Utah. I've visited there a few times and it's gorgeous. I used to live in Lubbock TX. My dad was in the Air Force and we traveled a lot. I am the 5th child so most of the traveling was done before I was born. My older brothers and sister have seen lots more of the country then I have. I was born in Anchorage Alaska when my dad was stationed at Elmendorf AFB back in 1981. Then we moved to TX and I lived there from about 1 year to 5 years old. Then my dad was stationed at March AFB near Moreno Valley and he retired there. So I've been a CA girl most of my life. I love it. I'm not a big fan of the snow although it would be nice to visit Alaska some day. My husband and I would love to do a cruise of Alaska. Someday...

    Okay, gotta go. Since I am reading this in the morning instead of before I go to bed, I have children up who want my attention. Enjoy your trip and please post lots of pictures.

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

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  44. Hey, Tim and fam!

    Louisville isn't far from Cincinnati! If you're stopping by, let T and me know! We'd love to see you or fix you a meal :)

    Love,
    Brianna and Teren

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  45. Dear Tim and Ang,
    I am so sorry for your loss of Bella. This is the first chance that I have had to write on an actual computer since her passing. We were moving back to Arizona from atlanta and only had internet access on our phones. I have been reading everyday and praying for you all. I am beyond amazed at your words again Tim! You seriously teach so much through your writing. You have a gift, through bella you have taught so many about grieving and our amazing ability to get through tough times and trusting in God. I have to tell you about the day Bella went to heaven. I got on your blog to write and read about her heart stopping, i was so saddened, a few hours later I was outside with my children and a butterfly flew by us she floated beautifully around us for quite a while and then she flew out to the back of our yard and flew up up up in a beautiful ray of sunlight coming through the trees. It was beautiful and I sat and cried and thanked God for such a special girl. I have to tell you that That week was a very hard time for my husband at his job, nothing absolutely nothing compared to losing a child, but your outlook encouraged me and helped me give him support. We talked a lot about Bella and her impact on so many lives. I am thankful to God for your family and for Bella. I hope that your drive is amazing. Now that we are back in Phoenix for the off season I am hoping to make it to the gathering! Love Jessie Conrad (now Arizona, was atlanta GA)

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  46. Tim and Angi,
    Through this blog, we have become friends. Through prayer to our Heavenly Father we've bonded together because of your sweet angel Bella.

    Please continue to post pictures of your precious angel - I miss her. I have to admit, I've been clicking on the videos on the side of your blog to see more of Bella.

    I continue to pray for your family as you journey through your "new normal" - whatever that is. I'm sure it is still in the making and will be for quite some time.

    I wish I could travel to meet you in NC as I so want to meet Jonah, Matt and Patrice someday!

    I'm continuing to pray for the other EB kids going/gone through BMT, Sam, McKenzie, EJ, Payton, Elle. Also loving on Tripp and Jonah through the blogs. My heart aches, but I will continue to read and pray. Also praying for Drs. Wagner and Tolar, praying God direct them to exactly what they need to give these kids a better life.

    Missing Bella and praying from Waterford, MI
    Kim M

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  47. Heaveno, Ringgolds!

    I'm going to try my best to make it to the Dallas gathering - would LOVE to meet you all!

    Glad your travels have been safe so far and that you're getting to see some beautiful areas of the country!

    Thanks also for sharing that sweet picture of you and Bella. I didn't start following her until she was already in the hospital so haven't seen many pictures of her before her transplant. Bella was truly a beautiful child and you can tell how much inner joy she had!

    Love you all - hope to see you on the 2nd!!
    Laura (for Team A)

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  48. It's been really weird today. I read the blog first thing this morning as always, but I came back. I'm not real sure why. I think it's the picture. When I saw it the first time this morning, it didn't strike me. It's as though I've known, seen and even cared for Bella. It's cute as can be. She's cute as can be. I feel like I've met her in person; and the picture didn't shock me...the contrast of all the hospital pictures and that one. I seriously feel like I've known her personally as the last photo you posted, not as a sick kiddo. I saw her sick...I'm a nurse...I saw it, but I never saw HER sick. Maybe it was hope. I couldn't see her as sick, I only saw her the way I wanted her to be. Maybe it's because I feel so close to her and care so much. Anyway, such a sweetie. Looking forward to tomorrow's picture. :-)

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  49. I so wish I could make it. I am closest to your meet up in NC but it is still about an 8 hour drive. I would love to meet your family and the Williams family though. Bah. I love your pictures. All of them.

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  50. Beautiful Bella girl! I keep thinking about you having to drive out of Minnesota without your girl in her car seat. I cannot imagine how that makes the heart hurt. Sending love.

    Also, if anyone needs a place to stay while you are here or they are visiting for the celebration, we have it.

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  51. Yep, sitting here crying again. Today my tears come because I have been worried about how leaving with(out) Bella was going to be for you and it breaks my heart knowing you are sad. I am still having bad days where I wake up crying and every little thing will trigger my tears. There is a part of me that cant tell anyone...their responses have not been of support. My mother and my sister made comments about our going to Bellas memorial. They couldnt understand why I wanted to go. Why I was even grieving. Dereks ex even called it strange. I let it bother me at first but now I feel sad for them. They didnt get the honor of "meeting" Bella, seeing her strength and feeling the hope. They dont read your comments and feel the strength of your amazing family and see your unbelievable faith. They are the ones missing out and honestly the lack of compassion leaves me shaking my head. I would much rather be a part of Bellas community...Bellas family.

    I love the picture of Bella...she reminds me so much of Clara. I dont know if that is why my heart grieves so much...why I love her so much.

    I just found this poem...

    Grief Is Like a River
    Cynthia G. Kelley

    My grief is like a river---
    I have to let it flow,
    But I myself determine
    Just where the banks will go.
    Some days the current takes me
    In waves of guilt and pain,
    But there are always quiet pools
    Where I can rest again
    I crash on rocks of anger –
    My faith seems faint indeed,
    But there are other swimmers
    Who know that what I need
    Are loving hands to hold me
    When the waters are too swift,
    And someone kind to listen
    When I just seem to drift.
    Grief’s river is a process
    Of relinquishing the past
    By swimming in Hope’s channels
    I’ll reach the shore at last.

    I have been reading but havent had a chance to comment. Always know I am here even if I am not commenting. I will make my donation to PUCK today. Feeling bad I havent yet.

    Sending all my love and sweet, sweet kisses for Ali. I hope you like KY!

    Denise WI

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  52. Survey won't let me update, so I'll do it here. Bob and I will be at the service in AZ. Comfort Zone Camp does not need me. They also asked me to pass on an offer of support for you, and especially Ali. While she's too young for camp, they have some really amazing resources for kids. www.comfortzonecamp.org

    Love you guys

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  53. Loving the tales from the road...kind of makes me want to sing "This Land is Your Land"...but I won't. Well, maybe in my head. Also enchanted by the pictures of precious Bella. I don't think any of us will tire of seeing that face, so keep 'em coming!

    Hope you've avoided the bad weather I heard about this morning. Praying for traveling mercies as you continue eastward.

    Take care and be safe.

    ¡Hasta el viernes!

    Susan
    A friend in NC

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  54. Would so love to meet you guys! Schedule NY in your trip somewhere ;) Blessings and safe travels!

    Kara

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  55. Tim and family, I love the picture, you and Bella look really happy. I'm glad you have lots of good memories of her to enjoy.
    On the anniversary of my mom's death, I chose to pull out all those good memories with my brothers and sister. It makes the day a happy one, instead of a sad day.
    Enjoy your tour of the mid-west. Stay safe from the storms today. Wish I lived closer to one of your stops. Louisville is the closest, but I"m unable to drive yet, due to the broken foot. Love and prayers to your family, Carla Spradlin, Portsmouth, Ohio

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  56. Thank you for sharing the picture of Bella...please keep posting them. She is so beautiful...and I miss her so much. Looking forward to meeting you guys on Friday. Travel safe!

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  57. Love the picture of you and Bella! Will be nice to see some of those pictures of cute little Bella!

    You aren't missing much in Minnesota today. It is like 60mph winds and rainy. Disgusting! Safe travels and look forward to checking in with you tomorrow.

    Tracy
    St. Peter, MN

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  58. Hi Ringgolds,

    Thanks for sharing the pictures and update as you travel east. And thanks especially for the beautiful picture of Bella. I'd love to see more of them, so keep posting!

    Tonight when my 8-month-old boy was crying in his crib (he struggles to fall asleep on his own), I went up there, picked him up, and snuggled him so he could fall asleep. I couldn't stop thinking about Bella and how just knowing her and knowing you all (through this blog - but will hopefully meet you in person on Friday in NC!) has made me a better mother. I am doing my best to appreciate every blessing and every moment I have, to see the joy in the ordinary, and to thank God for all of the gifts I have.

    It has been a true privilege getting to know your family. Thanks for sharing your journey. You are in my thoughts and prayers daily.

    Kim in NC

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  59. Thanks for ending with that sweet picture of you and Bella. My heart skipped a beat and in a split second, I hoped,this was all a dream. But that isn't the reality. I know my pain as well as the fellow blog followers isn't as great or intense as yours. I do feel a heavy burden though with her lose. I have heard that losing a child is truly the hardest thing anyone will ever have to do. I think of most people, who have lost children in the past..... most have not had the following of prayer warriors that Bella and your family have had. I trust that gives you an advantage in this grief process. While it doesn't lessen the pain, it does bring you comfort knowing the numbers of prayers that are daily being offered up.
    I loved what Dana M. wrote. I could relate to what she wrote so much. As I may have mentioned before, I am from and live in the same town as Tripp. I have gone to church with his family all my life. From Courtney's blog, I began following yours and many others.
    One thing that Courtney stated about your blog in one of her posts was that Bella's dad is the one who writes and he always finds humor in things. I wasn't finished with the first blog that I was reading of yours and I thought... man this guy has a gift. Not everyone can see humor in tough situations. You my friend, have that gift though. I am sure you are better person for it.
    So, I won't be able to make it to any of the 3 events above. I may tempt you though while you are passing through New Orleans. We are about 45 miles north of NOLA. My parents have a seafood restaurant and I would love to treat ya'll for some food. Even if I have to come to NOLA and bring it to you if you are stopping there. If not, don't worry, I will continue to be a prayer warrior for you and your family. I would just LOVE to meet ya'll! I know that it means the world to those who will be in your "destination" locations that ya'll are taking the time to meet them. Have a blessed and safe trip.

    Love and Prayers,
    Sharee
    Ponchatoula, LA

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  60. Oh, oh, oh, how I would love to come to Winston-Salem! Sadly, work, children and a dear dear friends surprise 40th birthday party will keep me from coming. I lived there during high school, and still have family there. When I visit, I always sort of hope I'll run into Patrice and Jonah in Target! Weird, I know. So glad you get such a lovely tour of the South! And so sorry it is not what you had hoped for. That sweet girl is with you always, but I know it's not the same. Still praying for you all.

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  61. What beautiful pictures of your family at Bella's memorial! I will check back to see when Bella's OC Memorial is. I am getting married on November 13 and leave for our honeymoon November 15. But if it is on any day that I possibly can, I will make it. It is amazing to see the love and support that you have all across the country. You are in my prayers.
    Brandie Metz

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  62. I started reading some of the other comments because I guess there are moments I feel like I am alone (not including you & your family here) in the grief that I feel for Bella (grieving for someone I only knew through the internet). Grieving for that sweet girl I never met. Even though I said in my earlier comment that I dont let others thoughts bother me...it sits there in the back of my head what they said. Maybe I am "strange" or "odd" for grieving. I guess I started to believe it ...again. Then I read these beautiful comments of others just like me that think like me and cry for Bella. Cry for your loss. I was thinking about it earlier. I came here several months ago and in those months I fell in love with a little girl. My heart was filled with so much hope for her. I prayed like I have prayed for no other. I begged. I worried. I did so many other things that I ended up investing my heart...which only those like myself who also invested their hearts can "get it". Those who dont take a moment to open their hearts will never understand. I dont know why I am telling you more...I guess I too like you need to talk it out and this is my way of doing it. So thanks for listening.

    I hope this makes some sense. I have never been one to communicate what is in my head or heart and get it onto "paper". I guess that is something else that Bella has given me. She has "made" me work on this part of my life. Thank you Bella.

    Denise WI

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