Hi gang! Sorry I'm down to posting every other week right now. We are in the busiest 6 weeks of our already busy year around here! I think I am home one weekend in the the next 5 weeks. I was in Phoenix this weekend for rehearsal for our PUCK benefit concert on Nov 3, then this week I'm in St. Charles, IL for the American Music Therapy Association National Conference where I'll be presenting on a couple of topics, attending board meetings, and learning as much as I can from fellow music therapists on all kinds of topics. Then, I'm home for a week, then back to Phoenix for more rehearsals, then the following weekend is the concert, etc. Ang was on the road all week this past week, got home Friday night, and I left 12 hours later and just got home a couple hours ago myself. No grass grows under our feet, I tell ya!
This Thursday marks the two year anniversary of Bella's passing. On Sunday, Team Bella is walking for the third year in a row in the CHOC Walk. CHOC is short for Children's Hospital Orange County, and it's the NICU where Bella spent her first 12 days. Team Bella is being led by our dear friend Sara Cooper, and if you'd like to walk or donate go to her fundraising page by CLICKING HERE. I will be in IL Wed - Sun eve, but Ang and the kids will be there this year for the first time.
This business trip is gonna be a drag; I'm gonna be pretty cut off from family on the anniversary of one of the most intense days of my life. My heart just started aching in my chest from typing this. Last year, I took the day off and got a massage with a gift certificate that I had been given and never used. Then, we had a beautiful ceremony in our neighborhood park with friends, family, a balloon release, and some of the most beautiful words ever uttered by one Ali Ringgold. Rats. Just thinking about how beautiful that was is now really bumming me out.
I realized during the trip to Santa Fe and the experience hearing "Claire de Lune" for the first time since Bella's memorial, that I tend to dissociate from a lot things that are related to the trauma related to her life and death. This Thursday completely snuck up on me. I am co-presenting a continuing ed half day workshop on marketing on Thursday, so I have seen "the date" in emails, on the schedule, in my calendar... the whole bit, and it wasn't until maybe about 10 days ago that it HIT me over the head where I would be on October 11, and where I wouldn't be.
Same thing happened with Bella's Birthday in May. We had a weekend retreat for the regional board I sit on for the American Music Therapy Association, and again, it wasn't until THAT WEEK that I realized that Sunday was her Birthday and that I would be locked away in a conference room for most of the day. Luckily, the retreat was only about 2 hours away. I recused myself and the pres. and board were very gracious about me leaving early, for which I was deeply grateful. This time, I'm halfway across the country. Rats. I retired from being a recording artist so that I wouldn't be traveling all the time and missing important family moments. Well, my emerging career is causing the same thing to happen, and that bums me out. It certainly pales in comparison to the prospect of being on the road for 6-18 MONTHS straight touring in a band, but, hey, Thursday is a pretty unique day in my young family's life, and I'd rather be here with them.
Please say a prayer for our family on Thursday that somehow we can feel connected. Connected to Bella, and connected to each other.
I was planning on attending a morning continuing ed class on medical music therapy, but since the conference is at a resort with a golf course, I think I might just walk the course... maybe take my native American flute and find a quiet place and play for Bella. That sounds like a better way to do the morning. If you're a colleague of mine and you see me Thursday, gimme a hug, will you? I'll need it. :-)
I continue to run straight toward whatever the next challenge, the next project, the next event, the next goal might be. There is still so much sadness in my heart, and I somehow feel responsible for it. As if I knew I was having a child with EB, as if I even knew what EB was before May 27, 2009! LOL. Still, somehow I feel responsible for all the sadness I have caused my self, my family, my friends, etc. As I write that, I am reminded immediately of Don Miguel Ruiz's seminal book, "The Four Agreements." It is a WONDERFUL guide to living powerfully and gracefully. One of the agreements is "Don't Take Things Personally." In other words, I can hear Don Miguel's beautiful, quiet voice saying, "Tim, don't make it about you that you fathered and parented a child with EB. You were a supporting character in Bella's Journey, and you played the hand you were dealt as her daddy pretty well given the circumstances. That's enough. In fact, that's plenty. Don't take on any more than that."
It's as if sadness is wrong or bad, and therefore, somebody's fault. Like, it's _______'s fault that I feel sad... as if someone or something did this bad thing to me... making me feel sad... how DARE they! LOL... like feeling sad 'shouldn't happen.' Something's broken and needs to be fixed. A wrong needs to be righted... like that. What a product of the happiness-obsessed culture I am!
It's okay to feel sad.
It's a normal and natural reaction to an event related to someone or something I care about. It means, I care. In this case, it means, I love. I STILL Love. Who knows? I might feel sad about Bella's death at this time or another less significant time of the year for the rest of my life. That's okay, too. It is well for me to remind myself that I also feel happy about Bella's LIFE many, MANY times throughout the year, too. Tonight, at the dinner table, Julian babbled in a big, booming voice in a way JUST LIKE Bella used to do. It was the sweetest melody my ears heard all week. I recognized that tune... Bella wrote it back in 2010. It went, BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH!!!! at full volume, and it was amazing then, and it was amazing tonight. Julian's first cover tune! HA!
Good stuff buddy. You chose to cover one of the greats. Your big sissy Bella.
Life is Good.
(When Ang took these photos, she also snapped some video and it's from this very moment that the BLAH BLAH BLAH reference comes from! What's really providential about all this is that when I pick the picture to end the post with, I scroll through my old pics of Bella and move chronologically through them. I wrote the above post, then went to the photos, and BAM, these were the next ones! NO joke! How cool is that?)