Tuesday, October 12, 2010

October 12: A new Day +1?


First off, sorry again for the late post for those waiting to read before going to bed. It has taken me HOURS to read all of your amazing letters, emails, comments, texts, wall posts on facebook, etc. Hours... Also, now that Ali is (mostly) asleep, Angelique and I have finally gotten some private time to just talk, and there is no better, faster access to intimacy and partnership than through communication. So, sorry you had to wait, but we had an opportunity tonight and inside that opportunity we distinguished some pretty awesome stuff about Bella, about Ali, about each other, and about ourselves. Goooood stuff.

First off, I just want to say that if you think words are inadequate to describe your feelings, sorrow, and thanks, you can appreciate how inadequate I find words when attempting to describe our thanks to all of you for your deeply personal, heart-felt messages.

What an amazing dialogue this has become, in word and in deed.

Well, we didn't sleep much last night. Though our bodies were exhausted, our minds were racing and took our bodies hostage. I hate when that happens! It's a good thing the RMH has blast-proof, metal, block-out-all-life-giving-light window shades. I set them to "Cave Mode" before we all crashed somewhere after 1:30 this morning, because I knew sunlight would be upon us before we knew it, and it would be our enemy. Ali asked if she could actually fall asleep on my back. That was a first. The funniest part was that she actually did! Within about 2 minutes easily of climbing aboard, she was O-U-T. Hilarious. See picture and laugh.

We eventually got out of bed this morning, though not without GREAT effort. If I had a catheter and an IV, I would have summoned my laptop and cell phone and just read and typed from bed in the pitch dark all day. There just seemed to be no spine in my back to get me out of that bed. If I haven't already shared this, I am a HUGE drama queen about getting up in the morning. It's a bit ridiculous. You'd think by 38, I'd have figured out the morning follows night... every day. Nope, it comes as an uninvited guest - an affront to the very rest I hold so dear.

The ONLY thing that has gotten me out of bed day after day here... Bella.

My first thought was, "I have no reason to get out of bed today." It had just become my life, my purpose for operating each day. Now, I had no mission.

My next immediate thought was, "I still have 2 amazing ladies in my life. Time to focus all that energy on them. GET UP."

In the grief workshop my mom, a dear friend and colleague Mauro, and I lead, my mom talks about the elements of grief. In it, she talks about "Cognitive Disturbance." When we are grieving the loss of a loved one, we are operating on 1/2 to 1/4 our normal brain capacity. Perfect example: I walked to the car in my pajamas this morning only to get there and realize I didn't bring the keys. On the way back in, I forgot to buzz myself back in and couldn't figure out why the inner door wouldn't open. No big deal, but I have never done that once in the several hundred times I've gone in and out the RMH doors. Last night, when driving the car back from the hospital, even though it was only 2 blocks, I could tell that I really shouldn't be driving right now. I'm just not firing on all cylinders, playing with a full deck, etc...

The morning and early afternoon were filled with cartoons and playing with Ali, mixed in with a few phone calls and quick attempts to read comments coming in from all over the world. I had over 500 emails in my inbox this evening (the blog sends an email every time someone posts a comment. Should have suspended that feature... I spend a chunk of time every day combing the inbox for emails that aren't from the blog that I might miss... so if you are emailing me at my gmail account, I may or may not ever see your email.)

One of Bella's primary nurses, Renee, came by before her shift today with some gifts, flowers, and c-o-o-k-i-e-s... not sure which one we appreciated the most! LOL. She gave us this crazy cool head massager that looks like a kitchen utensil, but feels GREAT. Nice stress reducer. Ali just LOVES Renee, so it was great to see Ali so happy.

Then, we hit our favorite Punch Pizza for lunch and then walked to the barber shop for Angelique and Ali to get trims while I refueled at Starbucks, all within walking distance from RMH. Love how little we use our car here. I am reallllllllllllllllllly going to miss that.

After, it was more phone calls, reading, playing, until our friends Dayna and her husband Brent stopped by to visit, bring gifts, and eventually take us out to dinner. It was really great spending time with them; we were feeling a little stir crazy in this little apartment and didn't want to eat downstairs in the dining room with the other families just yet.

It is now 3:30 am and Angelique and I still can't sleep a wink.

I wanted to say so much more tonight, but I am so cognitively fried, it might not all get through to my fingers. It feels like there is an electric fence around my brain, and any thoughts that try to get past it are being fried on the spot. A few slip through, but not unscathed. There is also a feeling of weight on my brow. It's similar to the feelings I had just after Bella was born. It's like someone is pushing a cinder block down my forehead, but it is different than a classic head ache, it is just this intense, downward pressure. So, it doesn't feel too good upstairs right now.

A lot of pain.

However, in my heart, there is a far different phenomenon occurring. In some moments, there is an aching sort of throbbing, but not pain, but for the most part throughout the day, my heart has felt very peaceful. I can feel all the energy holding us in our own healing cocoon right now. Even though we are holed up at an RMH thousands of miles from any family, I feel in my heart the same comfort as when I had family all around me when my dad died, for example. I never thought that love could be transmitted across so many miles from so many strangers, and produce the same quality experience. It is quite a unique experience.

One experience I want to tell you about was when I dropped to my knees last night before bed to say my prayers. Out of my heart immediately flowed a gratitude list! I started off immediately with, "God, THANK YOU for such an EXTRA-ORDINARY experience today. I began thanking God for all of the magical moments from the day...

For having Ang off work and Ali out of school on the day Bella was being called home.

For prepping me with the prior life experience and intuition to know Bella was essentially dying when I walked in the room and calling momma to change her plans. IF that phone call hadn't been made, she wouldn't have made it in time when Bella coded.

For Bella waiting for me to be by her side before leaving.

For her birth song beginning on the iPod "coincidentally" THE MOMENT her heart stopped beating (the second and final time).

For being able to hold her for so long at long last.

For being able to remove all her tubes, lines, bandages, dressings and return her to her pre-transplant self.

For being able to bathe her and dress her for the first time in months, and watch Ali gently bathing her sister.

For getting to say EVERYTHING to Bella and realize in our hearts that there were NO REGRETS.

For the child life staff for capturing the moment in two beautiful rituals.

For getting to tuck Bella in, dim the lights, turn on her lullabies, and say, "God night," like we always did.

For getting to get everything out of the hospital last night.

For being Bella's parents.

During my prayer, I felt incredulous at the fact that all this gratitude was pouring out of my heart the night my daughter died.

That is the moment I began to really take ownership in my own growth, development, and transformation in this journey. These feelings of gratitude were authentic, they were natural, it was real. In my own journey, I realized I had so much to thank Bella for. We have been so honored by all of you for sharing so generously what our daughter has taught you. Well, I have learned from and been increased by Bella as well, and Angelique will tell you the same thing.

By Bella coming to us with EB, she gave us two very important opportunities for our own spiritual life journeys. It's as if each one of us had a lesson to learn from Bella before her work was done, and we both feel like we learned our individual lessons. That is a good feeling, and helps turn the page on this chapter of life. However, this is not a textbook, where the next chapter may have nothing to do with the previous one. This, my dear friends around the world is a story. A story of strength and what the gift of faith makes available.

I have written about faith before, and I will continue to do so, because I want to continue to break down the pre-existing meaning people box faith into. For me, faith is a gift that you give your self. No one can give it to you, and no one can take it away. It is from you, for you, by you. What you have faith in does not even matter. I think THAT is the biggest pitfall people fall into when discussing faith. It is not the "what" that is decisive, it is that there IS a what. The what doesn't matter, the result the what produces does. In other words, to me it doesn't matter what you believe in, so long as it works for you to inspire you and empower you to be the best possible version of your self. That rubs some people the wrong way, and I'm okay with that, I don't profess to know "the truth," just what works for me.

Have you heard this one? "What's the best diet out there?" "The one you stick to."
How about this one? "What's the best time management system/device/product?" "The one you use."

I have a very pragmatic approach to faith. Use it. Find a way that it works for you to have it, then go use it.

Oaky, my brain just officially switched off.

God night.


  1. OH Ang, you look so sad.What a blessing you are Tim.Prayers always from Canberra Australia.may you continue to rest in HIS love

  2. I have no idea how you are being so strong. How you can hold onto the good in this moment is astonishing to me. You are an amazing family. Please take care. Bella loves you.

  3. So lovely to see the casts.
    Thank you for thinking of us when you are in
    such difficult and sad times.
    Love Lolly

  4. Ang, i so wish i could wrap my arms around you tonight. The saddness in your eyes.... as a mother, I can't begin to imagine your pain.
    Tim thank you for sharing so much of yourself with us, as always you are an inspiration.
    I hope you manage to get some sleep. Love and kisses to sweet Ali.


  5. Tim, Ang and Ali,
    You are an amazing family ...I can't imagine your pain.
    Bella will leave in our heart.
    Please take care.

    Sandra from Portugal

  6. Tim:

    Once again Thank You for sharing....

    Your strength is amazing and I think your message is a beautiful one. One of my favorite things along this journey that you have shared is your faith....I felt connected to your story because I shared the same faith.

    I'm so sad that Bella has left this earth and I feel such saddness for your sweet family...BUT...I have faith that Bella is in a beautiful place and you will all be together again. I know you believe that also...

    Still praying for your beautiful family..

    God Bless..


  7. The casts are amazing, totally amazing! What a wonderful memory of your amazing Bella & the amazing Ringgold family! I am sending prayers or strength & comfort for all of you!

    Thank you all for being able to share this all with us and allowing us all to support you and become part of your cirlce of friends!

    Angelique, Tim, Ali & Angel Bella - you will all never know how much support your words and ideas have meant to so many, especially me! Bella's strength and love will last forever in so many!

    Thank You - Tina in NJ

  8. Good morning, sweet family...

    Thank you, Tim, for again sharing your heart with us. For someone whose brain is "fried", you certainly expressed some very profound thoughts. And what a gift to have your Ali...young ones always mangage to bring a respite from heaviness and grief. Her pictures always reflect what I perceive to be such a joyful spirit.

    Blessings to you all today. Praying for rest and peace as you continue to find your way on this next part of your journey.


    A friend in NC

  9. Tim, Angelique & Ali,
    You are both such amazing parents and please know that that we will keep you & your family in our daily prayers.You will be missed forever Bella. No more bandage changes, pain that goes along with EB everyday of your life. Spread your wings and fly high Bella.

    RIP Bella.

    Missy & McKenzie Gray

  10. Dear Ringgolds,
    I'm still struggling to understand that she is gone. After reading about you all fighting so hard for so long I could believe in nothing but a happy ending. I'm with you in thought all the time. I wish I could take away that pain I can see in Angelique's eyes. No one should ever have to loose a child. Keep caring for each other, you are wonderful! Bella has the best family!
    Alexandra (the Swede in Australia)

  11. Oh thank you to the wonderful people who did the casts with you....Oh my goodness they are precious!
    I know you have been seeing it written by many people but I continue to lift your family up in prayers....if I am struggling so much with Bella's passing I know you are to....I wish I could take away that pain. No parent should ever have to lose a child. Right now you are in the shock phase.... I will be praying for you guys for many months to come.

    Because you all have become a big part of my life and I have been following Bella's journey for a long time now. I cant help but ask why the lord took Bella down such a tough path but she was an amazing baby who united the world!
    No one will ever know why she was taken home but Bella has left a legacy that maybe can help other EB kids traveling this path as well.

    Thank you Bella baby for teaching me to be humble, for teaching me that love can travel many many miles, and to appreciate that I have 3 healthy kids.

    RIP Bella because you sure deserve it.

    Marsha from Belvidere, IL.

  12. Tim and Angelique,
    First, I want to tell you how truly sorry I am for your loss of your sweet girl. I have told you this before, but I will tell you again that I think you are both amazing. Thank you for the beautiful update describing the events of yesterday….I know it must have been hard.

    I feel so blessed to have gotten to meet you all, and especially Bella. I am so glad you let me come in to see her on Friday, it was so nice to feel her grip my finger and see her scrunch her sweet nose. Thank you for taking the time to visit with me, I have cared about Bella for so long and I will never forget her. She has taught me so much in the little time that I knew of her, and for that I can also thank you both. Through Bella I have learned about my faith, the joy of my family, the joy of giving, and trust. Trust that God has a plan, and that although I do not understand it, He knows what is right. Bella has taught me to be thankful for my life AS IT IS, not WHAT IT SHOULD BE.

    I still am in a bit of disbelief about this. In my heart I never thought that Bella wouldn’t make it, and it was only a few weeks ago that we were sitting discussing this very thing at the Chinese restaurant. We talked about how so many people just KNEW that she would be okay. I wanted SO BAD for her to get better. And I don’t know if I will ever fully understand, but I think that is also God’s plan. That we don’t always get to know the answers; we just have to trust that what happens is for the best- but that is so very hard to do

    I am so very glad that Bella’s last moments were spent in her parent’s arms, and that you all had the time you did with her. That makes my heart so happy in the midst of it hurting so much. Welcome home Bella. I love you, and can’t wait to meet you some day.

    I would love to see you again before you go if possible….but I understand how busy you are going to be. Thanks again for letting me meet Bella , and I am so grateful to have met you all too.

    With all the love in the world,
    Amanda Schauer (Bryce and baby Corynn too)

  13. Tim -

    I Just had to write again in the wee hours of the morning here in Oregon. Yes, up early again seeing if you'd written anything today . . and you do not fail.

    When you wrote about thanking God for all the "magical times" of Monday with Bella it is true and it comes across in your writing. I had thought of posting yesterday that overall it was a "good day" . . but of course it didn't seem right for that post, just find if funny that maybe we both think it was in some ways.

    Keep taking care of your girls like you always have and find time for yourself in the process too.

    Will always remember Bella and the impact she has left on all of us through the blog-world!

    Hugs, Jodi

  14. Wishing you many hours of rest, peaceful time as a family, sweet memories to fill your heart with Bella thoughts, and most of all the freedom to grieve as you each need in the coming hours, days, weeks, and months. I hope your move out of RMH back closer to family and friends moves you from one comforting and supporting community to another. Thank you for sharing so openly with us all. Thank you for allowing your story and Bella's story to be known.
    North Carolina

  15. Praying for your family today.

  16. Tim and Angi,
    I've read (but don't know who to give credit to)

    "When someone you love becomes a memory,
    the memory becomes a treasure."

    I treasure the memory of your sweet baby girl, she has an amazing story and the way Tim documents it is incredible. What a gift God has given and you have nurtured Tim - thank you for this blog. I took some time yesterday to watch some of the videos, it was a very special time.

    The casting of Bella's hand and feet are priceless and precious - what a wonderful idea to put your hands holding her little hand - a story in itself. Thank you for sharing them with us.

    I'm continuing to pray for all of you -

    Praying in Waterford, MI
    Kim M

  17. heaveno!

    tim, thank you so much for thinking of all of us in the time of incredible sorrow and heartache. sweet bella was truly a gift from god and she will be forever in my heart. praying god will comfort you, angelique, and ali with wonderful memories of your time here on earth with sweet bella.

    "Surely the Presence of the Lord"

    "Surely the Presence of the Lord is in this place,

    I can feel His mighty power and His grace;

    I can feel the brush of angel’s wings,

    I see Glory on each face.

    Surely the Presence of the Lord is in this place."
    -Lanny Wolfe

  18. Please don't ever apologize for taking time for you and your wife. We totally want you to do whatever it is you need to do for you and your family; to cope, to strengthen each other. Please take care of yourselves.

  19. I just found your blog a few weeks back, but have been checking in daily on Bella. Her journey is not over, is it?! I found myself still checking in last night, and first thing this morning looking for a Bella update. Her journey, her legacy, her "life" is not over, and will continue to live on in all those she has touched, and in you, her parents, who share her with all of us.

    Thank you for so openly sharing your experience. In the short time that I have read your blog, I do feel I have been opened to a new way of thinking. I have always struggled with faith, and what it means, and specifically with praying. In one of your posts you mentioned that you felt all good intentions, thoughts, prayers, etc. were helping to have the same outcome, because they were understood as the same (heavily and badly paraphrasing here!) and that has really, really stuck with me. I also really appreciated your thoughts today on faith, and just having something you can cling to and believe in and that works for you. Thank you for that! Thank you for sharing your hearts, Bella, her story, and life with all of us. I hope you don't take this the wrong way, but despite the tradgedy within, it is still like a good book that I want to keep reading. So again, thank you!!!

  20. I just had to post again. Thank you for your words. Thank you for your strength.

    When we lost our son...those moments just before and just after his death were to full of peace and love and grace.

    His spirit was so large and his presence so profound I could understand why my heavenly father wanted him to come home so quickly.

    I appreciate all the lessons that you are learning from Bella. That all of us are learning.

    I am so grateful that you have been willing to share your story.

    You are in my prayers.

  21. Beautiful casts...
    I keeping being amazed by the strength of you and your family. You shouldn't apologize for not writing sooner, or more... it's incredible that you are writing at all!
    I am so thankful for having had the privilege to follow Bella, and for having the privilege to be able to keep following you and your family. Your journey took a wrong turn, but it still continues.

    Me prayers are with you, as always.


  22. Thank you for sharing your life with us, even during this difficult time. You are an amazing family!! Continued prayers for all of you.

    Michelle in KCMO

  23. Hi Tim. Don't know you personally, but I have been following your blog for a little while now. I am a fellow MT in Kentucky. Bella's story has been so inspiring. Thank you so much for the honesty and candor in your posts. Little Bella has and continues to touch so many lives.
    Praying for your family as you mourn the loss of Bella.

  24. Hi Tim- I have been following your story since before the transplant. I am so sorry for you loss. I have a poem for Ali I would like to send but it is too long to post here. Is there an email that I can send it to? You can email me at ostranderm@sbcglobal.net if you get a chance. Praying for you all!

    Michele in Michigan

  25. I am So Sorry for your Loss Of Your Precious & Beautiful Bella ((Huge Hugs)) I have checked into your blog daily since before Bella's BMT and fell in love with your entire family!! Your strength, love and faith are amazing and inspiring!! Sinced being a bereaved mother myself I can relate to all the difficult feelings you all are feeling. Although my loss was quite different there is still a unexplainable heartache that comes with the death of a child that forever has an impact on parents. It is with Deep Sympathy and Lots of Love that I have prayed to my Angel Anna to guide Bella through her glorious heavenly life, to hold her hand, show her around. But most of all comfort her and love her like a sister. I can't stop thinking of you all Tim, Ang & Ali <3 My heart goes out to you and holds you all with conmort and love through this difficult time!! Love - The B's in PA

  26. Those molds of Bella's feet, and her hand in yours and Angelique's are beautiful. So glad that you were able to do those. I need to stop reading your posts while I'm at work. Last night I had a few minutes of downtime, and once again, found myself tearing up reading your beautiful words. And here I am again all misty-eyed as I can now look at the pictures here at home.

    Hopefully you and Ang can catch up on some sleep today. If you find yourself up in the middle of the night again tonight and need somebody to listen / talk to - feel free to email me at sweeper933 at yahoo dot com. I'll be up all night at work taking care of my little primary (a little boy who was born at 24 1/7 weeks gestation, at exactly 1 pound. He's just over a week old now and is doing great!)

    Chicago, IL
    (I like the "new +1" idea... Bella's journey hasn't stopped, it's just changed forms.

  27. I'm so glad you guys are doing "ok" (whatever that means in this situation). My heart is with you and you continue to inspire me! Take care of yourselves and get some rest.

  28. I have had many opportunities to cry, trying to keep my son Segev alive for more than twelve years, but never did. Until I read your words. There you so eloquently show your fortitude and your shining love for your daughter, and in the aftermath you show human behaviour at its most dignified.

    I must thank you for sharing so much with us. It is an inspiration.

  29. The casts are beautiful. What a treasure. Every morning for months I have checked on Bella as one of the first things I do. This morning, I checked on your beautiful family. Still praying for you all and sending love from NC.

    Kim in NC

  30. Thank you. I had an awesome response yesterday to send...but the God I believe in saw fit to do otherwise. I guess it wasn't that awesome.

    Your explanation of faith is exactly how I feel. "The best possible version of yourself.." Wow. There are many days I am not my best. The days I feel "hooked in" and connected to God, I am my best.

    Thank you so much for sharing your words. The peace and wisdom and guidance you have been provided. What an amazing gift! I cannot tell you in words what it's done for my faith. I know that today, I am closer to God than I have ever been. I believe in ME more than yesterday or the months before because of Bella's journey and your having shared it. That's what I really needed to say...smiles. Thank you. May you continue to feel peace and gratitude. Love, Traci from Alabama

  31. Wow. Those casts. Just wow.

    I think we are all feeling that "pressure"...obviously not as much as you, but I really feel that Bella has touched so many, that a lot of us are carrying grief, as we feel we, too, have lost "our" girl.

    That being, said, you are allowed to take a break from blogging :) sleep, friends. Energize yourself....we will keep checking back, even if you skip a few nights.

    An update on Team Bella...I am already an emotional mess when I think about embracing the 22(!) others that will be with me. We all have our "fabulous socks of the day" to wear, along with our team shirts, and our sign...I can already feel the love. I know you can, too.

    LOTS of love from Home. Lots. and Lots.

  32. You are amazing. People search their entire life for the Faith that you have. You are an inspiration to others and so is Bella's story. Again, I am so sorry for your loss.

  33. Dear Ringgold Ramily,
    Tim, your paragraph about faith is absolutely amazing-I LOVE it! Thank you for sharing your thoughts! First of all, I remember the morning drama queen... :-) I remember Nick jumping straight up and down in front of your front window as I looked out of mine- what was he thinking?! SO cute! You have SO much to get up for in the morning Tim, you have an amazing way about you that with everyone you meet they instantly become your friend... that is something not everyone can say. And the two amazing ladies who share your life with you.. enough said. Bella is still with you and always will be, she knows she has an amazing mommy, daddy and big sister. She chose you as her family-you have done so well with that!
    The cast molds are beautiful, so beautiful.
    Love to all of you, be gentle with each other and yourselves.
    Robin and Michael Setto

  34. The casts are such a treasure....Have a God-filled day!

    Much love,

  35. THANK YOU Bella for teaching us so many things!
    THANK YOU Tim for "translating" Bella's teachings to those more distracted (as me).

    Yesterday, I was so sad and disoriented... but then, I choose to be thankful.
    I choose to accept God's will instead of questioning it.
    I choose to enhance the positive aspects of Bella's journey, instead of the sadness of her departure.

    I was only able to choose because I learn with you that I could do so. THANK YOU!! You and Ang are so ahead of most of us. THANK YOU!

    Continuing to embrace your family in my prayers,
    Carla, from Portugal

    PS: I took the liberty to post on my personal blog a picture of Bella and some words about her. I hope you are OK with this.

    PS2: Thank you for sharing those beautiful casts!

  36. Sarah Hickman in ColoradoOctober 13, 2010 at 7:37 AM

    The cast are AMAZING! Tim, thank you for sharing your idea on faith. I loved it! Your family is in my prayers! Now I pray for SLEEP! God Bless you all!

    All my love,
    Sarah in Colorado

  37. I love the casts! Such a beautiful keepsake! I couldn't keep myself from checking in every 30 minutes all day to see if anything was posted. We are praying for you and we have come to love you.
    The Josephs Arizona

  38. Tim Ang and Ali
    I find myself here once again reading your blog which I have done since Bella's birth and feeling lost. I can only imagine what kind of emotions physical, and mentally you are going through right now. I can only compare it to how I felt when I lost my mother and your right faith is what sustained me. I just want you to know that your music therapy family will be here when you get back to California and please call if you need anything at all. I can't wait to give you a GREAT BIG HUG. The plaster casts are beautiful and so is your love for your family. We miss you! Vicki

  39. Thank you so much for sharing Bella's journey not only with the EB community but with the rest of the world too! And for sharing her last moments here on earth. We were not there for Garrett's last moments and I will forever wonder what those were like. You will always be part of the EB family and we will continue to support your guys over the next days, weeks, months and years. Please let me know if there is anything I can do for you guys. Hopefully we can meet in person someday!

    ~Sara Denslaw
    Winter Garden, FL

  40. I just heard about Bella 2 days ago, and started reading your blog and learning about your journey.... what strength, what love.
    I am praying for your family.

  41. An Open Letter to Bella's Blog Family:

    I was devastated yesterday.

    Just. Devastated.

    I didn't read Tim's Part II post until later in the morning, because I was picking up my daughter and granddaughter from the airport at 5am, and I wanted to be able to enjoy their return. And I did!

    But when I returned home after dropping them off, I could wait no longer. As soon as I glimpsed the new picture of Bella however, my heart sank.

    As I read Tim's amazing recounting of Bella's last hours through sobbing and unending tears, I was reminded again of her family's courage, honesty and grace. But I felt such a crushing sadness over the loss of Bella. My family is sympathetic, but they don't feel as I do, they are not grieving as I am, as though she were mine to lose. And so I am trying to fight the growing pain in my head (I know what Tim means about that "pressure") and my heart...not because I think there is anything wrong with feeling sadness and aching loss, but because I see the tiniest bit of worry in their eyes, as though in my extreme grief, I will forget about THEM. I am still fighting today. Bella's loss still seems so senseless to me right now. Although I know she was meant to touch all of our lives, I wonder what to do with that magical touch. How to remember Bella, the beautiful little girl with the big spirit and the mighty heart ~ how to give back to her and her family for opening up my own heart and allowing me to care so much for complete strangers. I took out my daily journal and, almost without thinking, wrote:

    "How do I Honor Bella Today?"

    Immediately, a sense of peace and purpose took over. In that moment, I made a decision. In addition to donating to P.U.C.K., at Tim's request, and becomming an advocate for the cure of EB, I have made a personal commitment. I am commiting to do one thing for Bella, every day, in her memory. This might be something mundane, that I have been putting off, or it might be something inconvenient or out of my comfort zone to help someone else. I feel that it is my privilege to remember Bella in this way, each and every day.

    Tim made a commitment to write in his blog EVERY DAY, once they were at the BMT center. And he did. Even when his heart was heavy with fear and sadness, and his body had to be weak with exhaustion, he still wrote to US...EVERY DAY - for 111 days...and counting.

    Thank you, thank you, thank you Tim, Bella, Angi and Ali...for sharing your lives with me. I will never be the same, and I bless you all for that.

    PS Tim, the above was written before I read today's post, and I just want to say that I love the days starting over, and the new beginning. After seeing the lifecasts, my heart is filled with a little less pain, and a lot more joy. I am so thankful that you and Angi were able to create this last physical reminder of the Angel in your hearts. Bella will be an Angel in my heart for the rest of my life...blessings!

  42. The casting of the hands is BY FAR the most beautiful thing I think I've ever seen! Thank you for sharing. Your entire family is truly in my thoughts day in and day out.

  43. amazing post. i love the cast of your hands with precious Bellas.

    Continuing to pray and asking for the sweet spirit of our God to just embrace you in His love.

  44. For a while now I had been praying for Bella on a daily basis... actually more than just daily since I often thought about her during the day and wished she was doing well. Since reading about her passing yesterday I haven't been able to think about anything else. My four year old asked me why I was sad yesterday so I told her about Bella. I told her what a brave little girl Bella was and how she taught a lot of people a lot of things. She changed my life forever and for that I will always be grateful. I will never forget her. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for sharing your sweet Bella with us. May the three of you be blessed always and forever.

  45. What a beautiful description of the process of dying and grief. Your family is in our thoughts and Bella in our hearts forever.

  46. May God bless you now and forever, and may you be filled with peace and hope and joy. May you always be surrounded with love. What a beautiful family, how privileged was Bella to be your daughter, for you to be her parents, and for Ali to be her sister. Prayers, as from the day I started reading your blog, lifted up for Bella, Ang, Tim, and Ali.
    Bridgete, South Carolina

  47. Thank you for sharing your beautiful story. I will always remember Bella and your family and keep you in our prayers.
    May the memories soon bring smiles instead of tears.

  48. Jack and Molly's NanaOctober 13, 2010 at 8:48 AM

    The castings are beautiful! I love the one of your hands intertwined, of course, but there's something so special about those little feet, and imagining where they might have walked. And now she soars!
    Yesterday was a "Molly Day" for me. We do a short Parent-and-Me experience every Tuesday morning at the preschool my sister directs in Tustin. As I was getting her ready, I opened her dresser to pick an outfit and the top two t-shirts in the stack both featured butterflies. At the time I chalked it up to coincidence, finished getting her ready, then drove to St. Paul's. At the end of our fun morning, as I was retrieving her paintings and my keys and purse, she stood near the classroom door while her teacher stamped her hand, a regular good-bye event. As we were walking to the car she proudly showed me the stamp - you guessed it, another butterfly (I took a photo of it, but it's not printable). And then just as we waited to get on the freeway, a REAL butterfly fluttered across my windshield. Amazing. All I could do was say, "Hi, Bella."
    And now this morning as I watched the news about the miners in Chile, a driver related his experience of being distracted by a butterfly; and his distraction saved him from being crushed by falling rocks. Coincidence? Being a practical person, I don't really believe in them, but milagros? Definitely.
    I can't thank you enough for sharing this experience with all of us. Aside from learning about the mystery that is EB, you have taught us acceptance, dedication, patience, love, determination, trust, and most importantly - FAITH. May peace continue to surround you.
    With much love from Costa Mesa.

  49. Once again I am amazed by your family. At a time of such loss, you find happiness in the small things. You are truly inspirational. Lately when I have been stressed, I think of your family and sweet Bella, and just like that the stress melts away. Tim I really think you have a career in motivational speaking. You know yesterday was my Birthday and all I could think about was sweet Bella.

    Thank you for sharing her with us, and for sharing yourself as well. I continue to pray for healing and happiness for your family.

    Houston, TX

  50. Hello,
    You dont know me but I kept up with your blog from Tripp Roths blog.My thoughts are with you and your family during this tuff time! What a fighter your little girl was and what amazing parents she had through it all!!!
    Love you!!!
    Abby Anderson
    Ponchatoula, Louisiana

  51. Tim,
    You're an AMAZING elaborator of words! Fried brains or not!'Thank you for sharing your thoughts with us and keeping us abrest as to what if feels like to be a grieving parent under the LIGHT OF GOD.

    When I first became a widow 5 years ago, my faith was all I had to keep me moving forward as well.

    I pray that the family will be well in time.

  52. Tim,
    Reading your words of wisdom and love has been a true privilege and honor. You are an amazing human being with an amazing family and Bella could not have asked for two better parents during her short time here on Earth. I hope that in the coming weeks you can take time for yourselves to rest, recoup. and have fun with your family knowing that your little girl is resting peacefully and that she gave you the gift of her spirit and her lessons in a truly unique and life-changing way. Sending you lots of love and light as you continue to heal!

    Erin Shaw

  53. Lynne, Bob, Jack and BenOctober 13, 2010 at 9:52 AM

    Tim - I remember talking to you about how to share your story, so you could help people going through difficult things. We talked about speeches and PR and news media. We did none of it, but look what's happened.

    You and Bella have touched the world. You and Bella have made a specific difference in the lives of thousands of people. Wow.

    Thinking of you and sending love.

  54. Heaveno Ringgold fam! Oh, my was crushed when I saw the Bella post with a new countdown beginning. I love your family although we have never and most likely will never meet this side of Heaven. Thank you for sharing your journey with us and letting us love Bella along with you. Can't wait to see what the rest of her journey will bring. Only BIG things from this sweet angel are possible. I pray for healing and peace for your family. Rest in the perfect peace of our Father and allow Him to continue His good works through your AMAZING family.

    Lubbock, TX

  55. Hey! I have felt lost since Bella died because no one I know knows her. It was SO NICE to get this posting. Thank you so much for taking the time to do this. It is really special that you are sharing what is such an intensely personal time with all of us. Thank you.
    Those casts are AMAZING. It started my flood of tears all over again. Which felt good.
    I am overwhelmed with how you and Angelique must be feeling. I remember a friend who lost someone said, "I can do it without them for a day, I can do without him for a week, I can do without them for a month. A lifetime? NO. The only thing that has me holding on for my family is my faith and knowing I will see him again. It's my job to LIVE and wait til it's my time."

    Bella's safe. She is safe, happy and waiting. You'll have lots of life experiences to share with her when it's your time.

    I am so sorry you are feeling such pain. I wish so much I could take some of that away. No parent should lose their child. It's not ok. It will never be ok. I'm so sorry BUT

    So grateful for the experience to know about Bella and her journey. Not sure why at this moment because I feel the pain too.....

    What a beautiful gift you and Ang gave this world. Thank you. Kim from California

  56. Just a little post to let you know that it was a pleasure to know Anabella, and your whole family.

  57. Praying for you and your sweet family as you get up and keep moving each day. I found Annabella in her last day of life here and my heart just melted for her. You are the sweetest example of Faith being lived out in your own life. It truly is a One on one experience with the Lord. I am so thankful you know Him and have His love with you on this journey. Thank you for sharing with us here what life is truly about. God Bless you so much!!

    Love and Hugs, Laurie in California

  58. The cast of your hands together...wow. What a precious keepsake. We are praying that you will all be comforted. I found a picture online yesterday of Jesus holding a child, and I just cried. I know that Bella was in loving arms on earth, and continues to be in loving arms in heaven. I know that she will watch over your family, with your dad. If you need anything at all, please let us know. We're literally 30 seconds away. Love, The Edlings

  59. I woke up at 2am on the 12th and checked for an update about your sweet baby girl. I could not believe what I was reading. I thought that I must have been misunderstanding and that she was really okay. I tried to comment from my phone but it wouldn't let me for some reason. I am so sorry for your loss... so very sorry. I do believe she is healed and perfect, playing in heaven. I have never lost a child so I do not understand the depths of it all but today I was out and all of a sudden I just lost my breath when I thought of Bella. I was suffocated by the thought of her absence.
    I pray for you, Ringgold family, as you continue your lives. I pray that you always feel your sweet little girls presence and for constant reminders of Gods goodness. Thank you for sharing your life with all of us.

    Diane Newcomb

  60. I have been one of your daily blog readers since the beginning of Bella's BMT journey. I never stepped out of the box and wrote a comment before now. Your Bella was an amazing little girl and she gave strength and promise to the rest of the EB community. Even though she was only here a short time, she was an wonderful inspiration to all of us who followed her journey. It saddens me deeply that she is gone now, but I'm sure her strength and legacy will continue on through all of us that she touched.

    May God give you strength to continue on and keep Bella's spirit with you in your heart forever. May He help you grieve through this difficult time and help to heal your heart.

    Thoughts and Prayers coming your way,
    Molly in Ohio

  61. What an amazingly strong and incredible family you all are . . . wow, truly inspiring!!!

  62. You guys are just amazingly strong! Praying always!

  63. Last night at Chapman we had a meeting of students, alumni, supporters planning Founders Day. And we began sharing joys and concerns. We all held your family and Bella in our hearts and prayers.

    I look forward to meeting you. Your faith has made you well. Go in peace.

    Nancy Brink

  64. I am so sorry for your loss. Thank you for sharing these beautiful pieces of art. My mom (Vicki Hurst) went to school with Tim. I have been following Bella's story since the beginning. I believe that she is God's miracle and was sent here on Earth with a purpose. Her life will never be in vain. You are a true inspiration. I find peace in knowing that Bella is now with our Heavenly Father. She has been taken home where she is perfect...not a blemish to her skin. She has been made whole.

  65. Tim, Ang, and Ali,

    I absolutely love those cast you had made. Gorgeous! I started to cry when I saw the pictures. I'm so glad that you were able to have that time with Bella and to be a family. That's so important. I am so impressed by your faith and gratefulness to the Lord. You are such great examples. Bella must be so proud to be a member of your family. She's certainly lucky to have been born into your family. God makes no mistakes. Bella was born with EB for a reason. God entrusted her with being his missionary here on earth and spreading his love and inspiration throughout the world. Thank you for sharing her with us and for continuing to share with us.

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

  66. Thank you for yet another beautiful entry. Please don't apologize for posting so late- I can't tell you how estatic I was when I saw your FB note to me (commenting after my comment) that there is an updated post. I was in a meeting when I found out about the updated post. There was no way I could wait till I got home to read. So there, in the midst of a luncheon meeting amongst physicians, nurses, vendors, etc....I read your entry, with my phone in my lap, trying to hide my phone and hold back my tears. My heart feels heavier as the days pass; however, my gratitude is slowly balancing my broken heart. I am beyond grateful and Glory Be To God for his creation of such a beautiful soul. For the short time (6months-ish)that I saw Bella a few days a week (at Joan's), something about her just refueled my soul...I prayed for her everytime I left from picking up Christian @ Joan's. She will remain so precious to me. May you feel the sweet embrace of our Loving Lord around you during these times...there is a world of us praying and lifting your precious family to the Lord. I'm so excited to meet TEAM BELLA this Sunday...I long to hug everyone.
    With all my love,
    nicole b

  67. I am so sorry to read of your loss and holding you and your family in my thoughts and sending love and strength to you all during this difficult time Xxxx

  68. I am so sorry to hear of your loss. I was out of town for a few days and was just getting caught up when I heard your sad news. My thoughts and prayers are with you all as you adjust to the changes in your life.

  69. My Brother...
    I am smiling at the positivity you emit!
    My brain was useless yesterday, but the beautiful image of Bella running around and playing happily in Heaven took front stage at least a hundred times or more!!!
    The other thing that pulled me thru a long workday was the fact that you are all coming home to us soon!
    I cannot wait to see you, Ang and Ali... Hold each of you close and speak the words "I Love You" instead of writing them...
    Always in our thoughts amongst the CA chaos...
    The Booms

  70. Those casts will be forever treasured. I especially like that you wore your wedding rings and that they're very visible. A very real reminder that God's love never ends.

    Thank you, once again, for allowing us into your lives during this time.

    I stand in awe in of your strength and ability to give thanks.

    Barb - NE Ohio

  71. I was so sad to read about Bella's passing yesterday, but absolutely amazed and your strength, grace, peace, positivity, etc. that you have. What amazing people you truly are!! You are Bella's angels on earth & now she gets to be your Guardian Angel in Heaven.
    The cast of your hands is absolutely precious! What a great keepsake to have. Love it!
    My thoughts & prayers continue to be with your family. May you find peace & comfort in God's arms today and everyday.
    Much love!
    Brenda (Kansas)

  72. I don't know what to say other than I am so, so, so sorry. You and your family are an inspiration and I can't help but think how incredible is is that Bella was able to touch so many lives around the world.

  73. Thank you for sharing from your hearts today. Blessings.

  74. Tim, Ang, Ali - your strength is amazing, a total inspiration. You are constantly in my thoughts today. **HUGS**

    Dawn B

  75. The casts are so beautiful. It's so amazing all the positive you found in this experience. Praying for your beautiful family.

  76. From one of the many healthcare providers who met Bella along her journey.... I want to thank you and Bella for being great teachers. It was an honor that our paths crossed.

  77. Tim,

    That line you wrote about being able 'to hold her for so long at long last', that's the line that broke my heart and put it back together in the seconds it took me to read the words. Those words are poetry, condensing the unthinkably awful and the ineffably glorious into a single line.

    Your words are, as always, a lot like the daughter you have described so movingly as the months have passed - your words are strong, bright and clear. Like Miss B.

    Yesterday, before I read your late post, I was standing doing boring chores in the supermarket, staring at crackers actually, when I suddenly had a thought of you and your first day without Bella. The air felt thinner instantly. I felt disorientated and confused and a little lost - all these feeling for a person who I had never met.

    Except that I have met her. Through your words. All of us here have met Bella. And Ali (oh, what a girl) and Ang (oh, what a woman) and the wordsmith himself, the man who has made it all so clear and honest and uplifting, even during the darkest hours.

    I wish I could package fondness and send all I have to all of you,


  78. Tim, Angelique, & Ali...

    Words cannot explain how so very sorry I am about Bella's passing. I am praying for a peace that passes ALL understanding for the three of you. Please be comforted by the fact that Bella is no longer in any pain or discomfort for the first time in her entire life. She lived a BEAUTIFUL life!

    My journey with Bella began in July, post transplant. She has touched my life for the better, and for that, I am eternally grateful for your sweet Anabella!

    "What a mighty and creatively loving God we serve. He allows us to know GREAT pain, so that we can know greater pleasure of trading it in for purpose." ~Matt Hammitt from Sanctus Real. I read this quote last night and I felt our LORD leading me to share it with you. For whatever reason, Bella was born with EB. There IS a purpose for Bella's life and her legacy will live with me FOREVER!

    Bella had become a part of my morning "routine," and I will miss being able to read about you baby girl. Like another posters have said, I am mourning for Bella. But, more than anything, I am praising God for allowing me to journey along with your terrific family. I have hit a "rough patch" with my faith the past couple of months and Bella has made me draw close to God. I was praying and praying for a complete healing for Bella and that my friend, she received. God knew that Bella's life purpose was completed and it was time for her to return home. Now, I am praying that God would grant me the faith that Ali has. From one big sister to another, Ali is one awesome chick! She has completely amazed me and I am proud to call her (and her amazing parents) my hero! :)

    Please, please let your "prayer warriors" know if and when you all need anything!

    God Bless Tim, Angelique, Ali, and Angel Bella!

    Megan from West Virginia

  79. Tim, Ang, and Ali,
    I am so saddened by the loss of sweet Bella! She was such an amazing, strong little girl. Such an inspiration to all who "knew" her. Please know that you are all in my thoughts and prayers constantly and will continue to be in the coming months. Thank you for sharing Bella with us. I feel blessed to be witness to her journey. May God bless you and hold you close in comfort!
    With much love and many hugs,
    Becky (a mommy in Virginia Beach, VA)

  80. Bella, we're all still thinking about you and all the lessons you have taught us. I just wanted your family to know now that everybody who learned about you and all who knew you are still keeping you close.

    The casts you made with your family are lovely- truly remarkable (rings and all).

    I will miss you Bella, but I know your family will do amazing things with your life.

    I will order your book for the holidays; I know your Daddy probably has some amazing things to share there too.

    With love,
    The Jordans

  81. I am sorry I don't post a comment more often I check for updates on your blog several times throughout the day. I just look at all the pictures of sweet Bella and your whole family and it just brings me to tears.

    In one hand it seems so unfair and then when I think again I think how lucky Bella is. She is laughing, playing and is PAIN FREE, she is dancing and catching all the butterflies for sure. It almost seems selfish for me to think she should still be here struggling here on earth.

    Bella now can say "yeah I had this skin condition and one day my mommy and daddy brought me to the hospital and then I got to go to heaven and not have any more owies. My mommy and daddy are awesome for loving me so much! I can't wait for them to come play with me!"

    I don't know you personally but I love you and I cry for you and most importantly I pray for you!!!

  82. Tim,
    You are such a role model, thank you for sharing Bella with us. I pray that God continues to bless you and your family. You and your amazing family are in our prayers

  83. The casts are simply amazing! Wow. I found myself looking at my own daughters hand while I held it in mine as I thought of you, Ang, Ali and Bella.

    Bella has not been far from my thoughts at all times the past couple days. The tears come as something triggers them unexpectedly. Yesterday afternoon as I was mowing my thoughts turned to Bella and I started to talk to her in my head. Then I caught a glance of the sky as the sun was setting. The sun was hitting a cloud and it made the cloud look more like a rainbow. It was the most amazing thing...then I knew...it was Bella. She is painting the sky as the sun sets and she is doing an amazing job of it too!

    Love to all...and kisses for Ali.

    Denise WI

  84. Dearest Ringgold family. Our hearts and prayers go out to you from California. May God bless you richly for sharing your story, your Bella with us all on this blog. Bella's life and story will go on!! May i share her picture- the one at the top of Oct 11- part 2 at an EB fundraiser and awareness day here??
    With love and prayer, from Lesley (Mom to Christina ebdm)

  85. Dear Bella,
    Please enjoy heaven sweet butterfly angel. You can now run and play all without pain or fear. We miss you down here but thank you for all that you have done for this horrible disease and for fighting so hard and so long.

    Tim, Ang and Ali,
    I feel like I know you. May God continue to bless you during these times. Thank you for sharing your daughter and your story. Please continue to treasure each precious moment and keep the wonderful perspective that you have.

    With much love, Jen Pham
    (friend of Sam, Kezie and EJ)

  86. Dear Tim, Angelique and Ali:
    I am so sorry for your great loss. May God hold you tightly and give you His peace as you live through these difficult times. Hold tight to God and to each other. You are so right that communication with each other is so important, keep sharing all that is Bella, her beauty and strength will live forever in your words and memories. Heaven has gained yet another beautiful, strong Butterfly. Thank you for all you have done to teach the world about EB and the search for a cure. With love from South Dakota. Beth

  87. I am praying for all of you, Bella has touched our lives deeply. She is with Jesus, the mighty Healer. Love in Christ, Mary Chinn Valparaiso, IN

  88. Just wanted you to know we think of you often throughout the day here. This quote hangs on a little plate at my parents.

    “May the road rise up to meet you, may the wind be ever at your back. May the sun shine warm upon your face and the rain fall softly on your fields. And until we meet again, May God hold you in the hollow of his hand.”

    Take care and much love -

  89. the life casts are amazing. i'm so glad whoever found them got them to you when they did. what a special thing to have.

    we love you both! thank you for your honesty, strength, and inspiration you provide through your blog. Bella could not have been blessed with more amazing parents than you and angelique, and with such an amazing sister.

    thank you for sharing bella with the rest of us. we're continuously sending thoughts and prayers your way. Are you planning on having a memorial celebration/service for her back in orange county?

    love, kristen and james

  90. Dear Tim, Ang and Ali,
    You are a very strong family that has had to endure something that most of us in our life time can never imagine living through. I can not even begin to imagine what you have gone through for the last 100 days but I can tell you that you have set an example that we can all only hope to emulate in our daily lives. I know that there will be days that you are not so sure and question why all of this has transpired but please remain strong as you have done everything just perfectly.

    Much love, thoughts and prayers from AZ.
    Julie King

  91. l don't even know where to start.. all I can think of to say is that your last two posts haven't made me cry, which is crazy because I cry every time I check in on Bella. But when Bella's heart stopped, the tone changed and now instead of tears, I feel a peace. Her death and your time with her was so beautiful. You are amazing. Really, I mean, I've been writing to Bella and saying she's amazing, and she IS, but now I realize, it's because of her remarkable parents. You are taking a moment of loss and pain and finding community and love and strength. You have tapped into a force so powerful, it could change the world. Wow. That's all I can really say. What an amazing way to celebrate your daughter's life. She's a gift for the entire world. Love always,
    Ft Lauderdale, FL

  92. I think about you guys and Bella all the time. Sending lots of comfort and prayers your way. The casts are BEAUTIFUL. What a treasure. That picture of sweet Ali while she was sleeping is so precious. She will be your strength, as you will be hers. Please give Ang a hug from a fellow mommy. God night.
    Jen from Colorado

  93. Your family is constantly in my thoughts. Thank you so much for sharing these intense personal moments with us. I have read your previous post a number of times, because it is so beautiful, despite the incredible sadness of it. I will continue to lift you up in prayer. God bless you!

  94. Hi Tim, Angelique and Ali -

    I've been thinking about and praying for you all, and again, no words can express my sorrow. I wish there was something I could do for you all from here - but I know that in the end prayer is far better than anything I could attempt! Praying for peace and daily encouragement for all of you.

    Love from TX,
    Laura (for the Team)

  95. I'm so sad that I was just introduced to amazing little Bella on the day she passed away via a link from one of my friends on facebook. So I have had a crash course in sweet little Bella from the day she was born until the day the Lord took her back home. I have to thank you for keeping a record from day one, what an amazing thing to have now and to have shared with the world. I have a 3 month old with Down Syndrome and a lot of medical problems (not as severe as Bella's) and reading your strength gives me strength to take on what might lay ahead for our family. Thank you for all you do and thank you for bringing Bella into this world. She has deeply touched my heart and my life forever and I can't wait to thank her when I see her in heaven. I have a 4 year old boy and an 18 month old little girl and I now think of Bella when I look at my little girl since they were so close in age, and it helps me treasure what's most important. Since I caught up on Bella's journey I have not been able to stop crying for you and for her, especially having a little girl the same age and an infant in and out of the hospital. Your journey really hit home to me and I thank you for sharing it. You guys are an amazing and incredible family. Oh, and those molds are phenomonal, what a wonderful treasure.

    I do have to be honest with you, at first I found myself judging you for doing the transplant on an already fragile little girl, and then I realized how ridiculous that was because of all the hard decisions you had to make EVERYDAY for her and how much you LOVED her was never in question. That was probably one of your harder decisions and I honestly did not get to read every single post, but I wanted to apologize for ever judging the path you had to take, especially never being on that path myself. After reading more and more posts, it's clear to me you had her best interests in mind. I'm so sorry for all that has happened, but I'm glad you had all that time with Bella that you did. What a blessing!

    You guys are in my heart and in my prayers.

    Jami Fergie
    Tucson, Az

  96. I am Deb's cousin and we met at Collin's birthday party last Sunday. Deb shared a little of your story and I just started reading your blog this past week.

    I wanted to tell you how sorry I am that Bella passed away. I was going to say "how sorry I am for your loss" but it doesn't seem right since you've gained so much through your journey with her. Your strength and faith are incredible and so inspiring.

    When I read this post, I immediately recognized the couple (Brent & Dayna) in the pictures with you. Brent is the brother of my best friend, Elly. What a crazy small world this is!!

    I am thinking of you, Ang & Ali. May God continue to watch over you.

    Carrie Loebertmann
    Albertville, MN