Tuesday, October 4, 2011

October 4, 2011: One Week to Go...

Check out our '80's rocker daughter!


Well, next Tuesday is the day.  October 11.  One year later.  Oh man, I just SHUDDERED typing the date.  P.S. My dad died on October 22 (1997).  I was working in the hospital today, and had conversations in rounds about patients that were dying.  I had to hear the very conversations that were probably being had about Bella and us a year ago.  Not everyone I work with at the hospital knows about Bella, so it is weird.

I think I am staying home next Tuesday.  I just can't imagine being at the hospital.  I can make up the day, so why put myself through the extra pain?  Instead, we're planning a little ritual at our local park to mark the occasion with a balloon release in the late afternoon.  Ali wants to release a butterfly balloon, and we'll release regular balloons.

If you would be willing to write a (short) comment to Bella about what difference she has made in your life, I'd like to read those at the balloon release.  I know that our dear friend Courtney is struggling with the purpose of baby Tripp's life and suffering, and it is only through the outpouring of you all in the blogosphere that renews our faith that these EB angels are here to reach many and bring them (back) to God.

Speaking of God,  I've been admittedly pretty quiet about God for a long time as you may have noticed.  I've tried going back to church, and it is so unbelievably painful, I haven't been able to summon the courage on a regular basis at all.  We've even gone to different churches to try to trick the grief process and it hasn't helped!  Grr....

God and I have a good thing going, actually.  He knows I'm still licking my wounds and my pride.  He knows I still love Him with all my heart, but that my heart is healing slowly.  I am comforted that He gives me the space to be mad, sad, distant.  I know He can handle it.  I know He's not going anywhere, and neither am I.  He also knows that I am hard at work on the ground trying to do good work to honor Bella to the degree I can physically do it.  I'm healing.  I could tell tonight when giving Ali her bath.  I can remember sitting in the bathroom with Ali giving her a bath in the past and being CRUSHED mentally and emotionally sitting there.  I could tell tonight that the physical pain in my head that had been there once before was not there tonight.

In another tender moment tonight, I gave Ali her first ukulele lesson!  It was so cute.  We ended up sitting on her floor singing "Down By the Bay"both strumming our ukes!  There was genuine fun and joy being expressed by both of us.  It was a nice moment, and I was grateful to notice it as it was happening, and not miss out.

That's the thing about being present; today I was present to pain, but also to joy.  The pain did not come from the present, but rather from the past, whereas the joy came from the present.  I am grateful to have experienced that present moment.  I am grateful to still have all of you in our lives.

God night.


  1. So glad that you are getting to the point of having happy memories with less sadness. A very kind priest once told me that death for believers and the loved ones they leave is a little like moving. The packing is hell, but once we get used to their new address (heaven) its a beautiful place where we hope to see them again some day.

    Hearing Bella's story and your journey has reminded me frequently of the importance of family and made me hug my kids, spouse and parents more often. Thanks Bella.

  2. I have never worked on Garrett's Birthday and I tried to work on his first Angel Day and things didn't go so well. So I tried not to work on that day either if possible. But some years it can't be helped since its the week before Christmas and I work in retail!

  3. It's been a comfort more than I can ever express to go through this journey with your family. Bella, we still think of you often and love you!
    Love, The Edlings

  4. Many many hugs and many many prayers!

    I currently am at a loss for real words of comfort and strength for you. But you do what you have to to heal. Otherwise things come crashing down and spiral out of control.

    Hang in there and remember you have friends and family and web pals always here for you guys!

  5. Bella has "moved" me so much that I to have decided to release a balloon on her birthday!

    Hearing yours and Bella's story has recently (as in a few days ago) made me realize the HUGE importance of family and friends!! I try to be present as much as possible everyday especially with my daughter and to make as many beautiful memories as possible with her...as I to realize how "fragile" life can be and how quick life can throw us a huge curve ball.

    Thanks Bella and the rest of the Ringgold's <3 <3

    *I dont believe in God, but I do believe we are all here for a reason*

  6. We were at the Como Park Conservatory recently. It was a comforting time to remember Bella and your family. Not remembering out of pain but rather out of joy over her precious life.

  7. Hi Tim -

    I've been thinking about you, Ang and Ali all week. It's my "busy" time of year, and I'm sitting now where I was this time last year - working WAY too late and stopping to take a quick blog break. I remember just putting my head down on my desk and weeping on 10/11 when I read the news. I never got to meet sweet Bella in person, but her life is truly miraculous, and she continues to touch us all even when she's not physically here with us.

    The Lord is with you - He will never leave you or forsake you. My prayer for you is that you will cling to that promise and be encouraged.

    Love to Ang, Ali and that sweet J-man (who I hope by now is thrush-free!)

    Love from TX,
    Laura (for Team A)

  8. Tim and Angelique, this is my letter to Bella about how she has touched my life. Thanks, once again, for sharing your darling girl with me! :)

    As I reflect on October 11th one year ago, I remember the intense grief and sadness I felt for a brave little girl whom I had never had the privilege of meeting. I remember this feeling and the days following like it was yesterday ... the sadness of selfishly "losing" you, but the joy that you were finally healed. Today, Sweet Bella, this is not the case. Today, I am remembering the life that you lived; the way you handled your pain has been a great example to me. Bella, you also taught me to live in the present ... the past is already done and the future will come because of the present.

    Bella, I want you to know that you brought me close to my Heavenly Father on multiple different occasions. To you, Bella, I am eternally grateful. Because of you, Bella, I am a nursing major and want to dedicate my life life to helping children with rare conditions and diseases.

    Thank you, sweet girl, for allowing me to be apart of your Daddy's vision. I am also thankful that God made your vision of, "Yeah, I was born with this rare condition, but when they brought me home from the hospital, it went away," come true. Although, it isn't the way that any of us wanted it to come true, it came true none the less! :)

    Love you, Bella! Keep protecting your Mommy, Daddy, Ali, and Julian ...

    Meg from WV

  9. Bella taught (and teaches!) me to take nothing for granted... and to keep my perspective when it comes to dealing with the 'small stuff' .. Even though we've never met your family, you are a daily inspiration to us!