Tuesday, October 26, 2010

October 26: Kentucky


Greetings from Louisville, KY! We were not swept into the clouds by the amazing winds that lashed across this part of the world today. On the contrary, the sky was B-E-A-U-T-I-F-U-L. We had a great time with our friends Rada and Doug, and their two little kids. They have a beautiful home in northwestern Indiana. When we woke up, the rain was blowing sideways. That didn't seem like the good time to depart, so we hung out for a while, and let the weather blow on by. That was fine. It was nice to take it slow. We finally hit the road around 11 and escaped the worst of the weather apparently. We got in to Louisville and hit super walmart for a couple of things, checked in to our hotel, then hit the town for some dinner. We're now holed up in our hotel room without movies trying to find cable shows appropriate for the whole family... not an easy thing.

Ali did great for most of the day... till she hit the nap wall at Walmart. It came out of nowhere. Do your kids hit the wall out of the blue, or do they give you some kind of warning? Anyway, Ali lost her marbles over the the fact that mommy scanned her new headphones on the self serve check out machine. Apparently Ali wanted to do it, and that's all it took... meltdown, COMMENCE! Ah, it's okay. We're asking a lot of her to roll with so many punches and not lose it now and again. One meltdown a day is JUST FINE.

Regarding the Bella Gatherings, we received a whopping 7 RSVPS for NC, 4 for TX, and 5 for AZ. Somehow, these numbers don't add up for me given how many people from each city have followed Bella's journey for so long. So, I'm going to put it up again tonight and if you responded last night, DON'T respond tonight. I'm going to run the survey for the next couple of days, so we hope to hear back from a few more of you!

Create your free online surveys with SurveyMonkey, the world's leading questionnaire tool.

As I type, I notice that there isn't the pain in my heart that usually accompanied me while I posted during Bella's fight in the ICU. I miss that pain. I feel lost. I relied on that pain. It made me feel 'on purpose.' While we wander across these beautiful states, I struggle when I peer past the next turn in the road. I find that each day, I am being pulled more and more back into the future. What I mean by that is this: When we were in MN, it was very much one day at a time, and while that is a nice cliche, it was really practical. Now we need to manage upcoming events, travel, holidays, etc. These things get scheduled in the future, and they need to be scheduled and managed so that things don't fall through cracks. I feel myself torn between feeling able to just jump back into the rat race, and unwilling to go back to the grind just yet. The present is a dreamlike state of peace and serenity, even when events that are difficult to face are upon me. However, the future harbors anxiety, and the past harbors regret and/or guilt.

I feel guilty that I am able to start focusing on other tasks, like I'm already over Bella. I feel bad when I feel bad, and I feel guilty when I feel good. That's a drag. It's not always this way, but I just feel in limbo. The other feeling I deal with is relief. I am relieved in a way that Bella's pain and suffering is over, and I am relieved that Ang's and my pain and suffering is over as well. It is commonplace for caregivers to feel relief after the death of a loved one, and many people struggle with this feeling, as if it is a bad thing. I know it's not a bad thing, and I have to remind myself not to feel bad to feel relieved.

There are no answers to it all, just moments in time and spaces of emotion to move through and experience. That is the point of it all... to experience 'it.' Ever see those ebay commercials where they featured 'it' in all different shapes and sizes? That's life. It is meant to be experienced in all different shapes and sizes, and the big lesson is that there is no "SHOULD" to any of it. Life is. Period. I really work hard to live this way, and I notice that I am so baffled by life sometimes. I accept life as it comes at me the best I can; it seems easier than resisting it. I find that I have very little bitterness in this model, and I am grateful to be bitterness-free.

Alright alright, that's enough for tonight. Do you struggle with the word, "Should?" Where is should preventing you from fully experiencing life just as it is?

I love you guys.

Ali's fabulous socks of the day... Arsenal Football Club!

God night.

Bella partying with daddy at our friend's son's birthday party back in October of last year.


  1. Praying for your family as you travel the country! May your journey bring rest and healing. I love seeing the pictures of Baby Bella, so precious. Thanks for sharing those with us as well.
    Blessings from Kansas,
    Heather and Tony

  2. What a sky! Amazing.
    And, ummmmm...have you met Molly? Meltdowns happen in the most random times....girls are drama!
    I'm sad you're feeling in limbo. You should be proud of looking ahead. She knows most of your plans are because of her message. That's why she picked you. You will inspire so many people in such many cities....all because of Bella! That's awesome to me!
    Love from home...

  3. Love the picture of you and Bella at the end of the post! Such a precious girl! I am in Houston and am unable to make the drive to Dallas or I would attend! While I have posted on facebook about Bella, and told my mom about her, I have never spoken Bella's name in front of my 3yr old daughter. I think it was about 3 days before Bella went to Heaven, my daughter Melissa started calling her favorite (stuffed) puppy dog by the name of Bella! I questioned maybe a friend at church had this name but no one does. I now hear the name Bella many times throughout my day and I immediately think of 'our' Bella! What a glorious time I believe she is having in Heaven! Enjoy your time as you are blessed to travel about on your way back home. Love that you keep us posted on your day.

  4. I found your blog through another person's blog post and just want to say what a beautiful little girl Bella is. God bless you all...I am so sorry for your loss.


  5. Dearest Tim, Ang, Ali and Bella,

    You speak so clearly.

    Re. meltdowns and small female people, the former are common among the latter around here during our daily lives in Vancouver. And ours is a 'day-by-day, regular' life, not a life-changing chapter as you and Ang and Ali are now living through. You four Ringgolds are moving through a lot of territory (literally and figuratively) at the moment, and a few little diva moments are kind of inevitable, I'd have thought.

    Re. the RSVPs for the meetings to celebrate Bella, I am a bit surprised and a bit not surprised at all. Many people love you. There is no doubt of that. No doubt whatsoever. You Ringgolds rock, you shine, you inspire. But the opportunity for your readers to walk into a park on an autumn day and to make themselves known and to meet you and to hope not to cry while hoping to console and to celebrate Bella's life - all of these opportunities can also be seen as challenge. However one definers them, the are part of the new world of the internet as it interfaces with people's daily lives. And this is all new turf. Like walking on Mars.

    I feel tremendous richness and joy in communicating with all of you, T,A,A and B. But, if you were to tell me that you were coming to Vancouver tomorrow, I would have a little panic, to be frank. For a multitude of trivial reasons. Would I have enough to say? Would I say too much? Would I cry? Should I get my hair cut before I meet these people who are so courageous and wonderful? Am I too fat? Too thin? Too old?

    None of this matters, but I bet you, Tim, there are people who would love to meet you now but who feel overwhelmed by stuff that would otherwise matter but that cannot possibly matter in the light of what you have just suffered. And, what's more, what you have just shared.

    When you describe your 'fish out of water' feeling regarding your days since Bella passed, I think this is what is happening. You now reenter the world feeling like an alien - time moves differently, people talk but they sound odd, are you above or below ground? - and there are those terrible mismatches between expectation and reality. There are also some equally awful similarities between the view out of the window then, and the view out of the window now. It is all different, all changed, but all terribly horribly the same. Did nobody notice that my daughter died, I hear you say.

    I bet there are many many people who want to be with you but who feel they can't be as tough as you were as you released Bella, as you prepared for the celebration of her life, as you allowed us to be there for her memorial, as you drove away from RMH.

    It's sort of 'pay back' time and I know I would feel a little ill-equipped for the task if you were to drive by my doorway tomorrow.

    Perhaps this is where the strengths of the internet collapse like a pack of cards in a breeze,

    Fondly, nonetheless,


  6. I was writing another comment for your last blog as you were writing todays blog. Beautiful pictures of the sky and clouds.

    I think every new picture of Bella is going to make me cry and that is ok. She is just so beautiful and her smile reveals so much. I dont think I told you how hard it was to go through all of her pictures and to assemble her scrapbook. I am surprised my tears are not dried all over the scrapbook pages. Yeah if you cant tell I am a crier. But I would do it all again for you, Ang and Ali. I hope you all enjoy your scrapbooks. Has Ali looked at her's?

    Sending my love to all and sweet kisses to Ali. Continued safe travels.

    Btw...donation made...wish it could be more but I know every little bit helps.

    Denise WI

  7. what beautiful pictures!!!!! I wish I could make it to one of the memorials... just too far away! But you guys are on my mind often! I still think of beautiful Bella daily! And everyday I look forward to reading your latest blog =0) You are truly an inspiration! I wish I knew more people like you! You always have a way of putting things in perspective! I love reading what you have to say!! You are such a gifted writer!!!

    Enjoy your travels, be safe!
    All my love,
    Sarah in Colorado

  8. Hi Ringgolds!
    It does my heart good to hear that your guys' trip is off to an adventurous and fun start! I just wanted to tell you guys that it was an absolute joy to meet and get to know you all during this past all-too-short week. I've never met a family where after such a short period of time I felt like I've known them forever. Tim, I thoroughly enjoyed our guitar-talks and laughs at your "younger and wilder days" pictures. Also, according to Renee, I still have to show you my "show-off guitar song"- hey it's another reason for you guys to come back to MN!

    Heaps of blessings,
    Jeremy and Renee

  9. I miss Bella so much. Can you please keep posting the pictures? I know I can go back on your blog but it's just not the same.
    And lol for Ali's meltdown over the headphones. I am glad to see her demonstrating that she's still just a normal baby girl, I hate meltdowns but reading about them makes me smile. You always write bad things in such a sensitive and positive way !

  10. Meltdowns and Christian are a perfect marriage in this household...ayyyeee...we know of them all to well. He 'melts-down' if you turn on/off the light switch, push the elevator button, put your seatbelt on before him- I could go on and on!

    Ali's socks are too cute!
    We thought about you Sunday morning as we were getting ready for church, and the Arsenal game was on the tube :) My husband is a diehard soccer finatic...he plays on (2) teams!

    Anyhow, I feel like I'm rambling on....sorry...I can't gather what I'm feeling. I pray and pray hard that you feel God with you and at your side. My heart aches so bad and I am so sad...my brain cannot wrap around the thought of how heavy and deep your heart is aching. I'm thankful that you, Ang and Ali have each other and your hugs- and I could only hope that this road trip with each other is somewhat soothing the soul.
    My family and I are still here on the sidelines and praying for you. We are praying round the clock (litteraly..Romania/CA/NC)...so for times when you only have strength to cry at the feet of Jesus...we are here for you praying for you and over you....we ARE here!

    We love you guys, too- more than you can imagine.

    with all our love,
    nicole b & family

  11. it's been windy and snowing in ND -I know 'cause I have a load of ND facebook friends-, so I'm relieved to know you left just in time to drive safely.

    I was a bit shocked to see Bella's picture at the end of your post (I missed yesterday's post). It made me sad... I miss her.

    I wish you peace in your road trip back home, and I look forward to seeing you together with Jonah and Tripp. As you may well know, many of us met Bella through Jonah, so it will be a sweet moment to see you all together.

    Love and hugs from across the ocean - and your sister's host country ;-)

    PS Just for the record: I remember the very first post of yours i read, maybe because the title was somewhat shocking! "Bella's head is normal!". And right there I fell in love with her and her normal head :-)

  12. Dear Tim,

    I wrote to you and Bella several weeks ago, and even though I read your blog every day I haven't written since. Partially because there were no words that felt just right in the aftermath of Bella's last days. Partially because other commenters seemed to hit the nail on the head already, and I didn't feel like I could write without stealing their words.

    Tonight, though, your post really touched me (again). I think I've found a way to write the words I've been holding on to for a while now.

    First, your gracefulness and honesty in sharing Bella and yourself with us blog readers astounds me. I've come to count on your blog as a moment in my day when I can stop everything else, take a breath, and think. Unexpectedly I also share this strong sense of connection that you've mentioned. (It's unfathomable and beautiful to me that we as strangers can all share this even though it's words on a digital page.) Over the last few days I've also realized that for me, reading your blog is in some ways a meditation. Thank you.

    Second, I hope that as you keep travelling through your grief, you are able to continue posting and sharing your insight/experiences. There are two reasons for this. One is that I think the online community you’ve created is really something special. I would hate to see that change. The second reason is purely selfish on my part. I’m learning new ways to think about my own life and grief; for that, I’m very grateful.

    I mentioned in my post several weeks ago that I’m a twin, and that my sister had severe disabilities. (Her brain did not grow properly in utero so she only had a brainstem with a nub of cortex… not enough to allow her to talk/walk/communicate, but enough for her to respond to sounds and loving touch.) I shared a story with you and Bella of how she recovered from septicemia when we were three. While she did recover fully from that episode, my sister did not live past childhood. She died shortly before our tenth birthday – apparently her brain simply shut down.

    For many years I believed that I’d dealt well enough with the grief of losing my sister; last year I realized that I hadn’t dealt with it, but only pushed it aside until I was able to do so. I’m 24 now and it’s been a challenge to meet people in my life who I can have deep, sink-your-teeth-into conversations about such important topics as living and dying. I do have a counsellor who is great, and my mom (a grief counsellor) has helped immeasurably – but I’ve still been hoping to find that connection. Even though I don’t know you personally, and our life situations are extremely different, I think I’ve been getting some of that connection through your blog. For me, that’s an incredibly hopeful realization.

    Thank you for sharing hope, even in the midst of an extremely difficult time. Surely if you are able to live through the challenges you and your family face, we can all pull up our (fabulous) socks, reach out, and live honestly with love for each other.

    Now, it’s after midnight and I *should* get some sleep. In fact I *should* have gone to bed hours ago, but tonight I decided not to the s-word (should) get in the way of my life! I’ve spent quite a lot of time fighting myself over what should and shouldn’t be, what I should and shouldn’t do, etc. . . I’ve decided it’s a word I need to cut out of my vocabulary. My mom has a great phrase: “Don’t should yourself!”

    Wishing you all the best on your travels,

    Take care,

    (Vancouver, BC, Canada)

  13. Hi Ringgolds... It's taken me a few more days, but I finally worked up the courage to watch Bella's memorial. It was beautiful. I am so grateful to have been a part of her life. Travel safe


  14. Good morning from England.
    Even though I'm not waiting to hear from Bella's news now, I still read your blog first when I turn on my computer. I love to hear from you and read the wonderful comments people write.
    You "should "allow yourself to go through all those feelings (bad, fine, guilty,etc).I'm sure it's hard ...
    I love the pictures of your country and I defenetly need to get a map of the States to follow you!
    Lots of love,

  15. Bella is. You are. Time is a fiction. She was, so she is.
    Don't feel guilty of feeling good. Grief is so heavy that you need a rest from it just to be able to continue grieving.
    And when you look into those smiling eyes on the picture, do you think she will enjoy seeing you only weeping and grieving?
    Hugs to all of you!


  16. Hi Tim,

    I was wondering when relief would hit you. That is such a common feeling in caregivers when they lose their loved ones. And usually is accompanied with guilty. You and Ang need to go through all these feelings and need to manage them and accommodate them in your heart. It is all part of the grieving process.

    And you are managing it pretty well. You are very aware of those feeling and are accepting them very naturally.

    There is no quick (or unique) formula to overcome grief. It is something that takes time and makes you feel numb, sad, relieved, happy, mad, thankful,... all at the same time. And it is OK.

    'Just adore the pictures of Bella's happy days. For me, it is a good therapy.

    Have a nice trip!

    Very best,
    Carla, from Portugal

    PS: Whenever you wish to visit Europe, especially Portugal (Spain is just around the corner), please know that our home is open for you. We would love to meet the Ringgolds and to have an EB gathering here, in Bella's memory.

  17. Oh how I wish that we could make one of the gatherings! I love following along with you during your trip, as always thanks for sharing.

  18. Beautiful picures! I so wish I could be at one of the gatherings, but I am just too far away to swing it. And I have to laugh about the meltdowns...I have a 2 year old, and I think the meltdowns have just become a part of the regular daily happenings. looking forward to hearing more about your road trip ~

  19. Our 3 year old does the same thing, we have been living in a hotel and now are moving across country too so similar difficulties in that respsect. Changes are hard for little ones and that's kind of how our daugther expresses her feelings about it, just a random daily meltdown.

  20. Dear Tim, Ang, and Ali,
    I have been with you guys for so long. I wrote a couple of times and I watched the memorial live. I'm not sure how you both were so strong!! It was a beautiful memorial. I have still been reading every morning and thinking I should write. I have noticed how few comments there have been and I thought that I hope you didn't feel abandoned. We are still here. We are still thinking about you and praying for you. I think what stopped me from writing and I am sure others also is not knowing what to say. today I thought so what if i don't say something profound...I just want you to know we are still here.
    The pictures of Bella are beautiful, what a cute smile!! They make me smile to see them.
    Enjoy your trip. I wish I lived near one of the cities so I could go to a Bella gathering.
    Thinking of you,
    Lisa Gavigan

  21. Sorry you're struggling with the emotions. They can be so strong. In order to keep mine in check I always "think, then feel". If I can just pull myself together enough to use my mind first, then I allow myself to emote.

    You guys are doing an fantabulous job with Ali! I'm proud of her and proud of you!

    Regarding the Bella Gatherings; someone had mentioned that if you were her way, she wouldn't meet with you for several reasons. Others say they wish you were passing through their state so they could meet with you. I bet for every one that says yes, you get one that says they wouldn't. Out of everyone that follows your blog, I think you have an estimate, about half would love to celebrate Bella's life with the Ringgolds in person, and of those half, how many live in the NC, TX and AZ areas. From where I live, the best (most convenient) place for me to catch up with you would have been Indiana and it would have been a 6 hour commute at that. Eventhough you stopped in IN, it wasn't a Bella/EB gathering.

    Anyway, I know it is sometimes hard to see straight and I hope to be helpful, not insulting. I think the numbers are great whatever they are. I think those are some very lucky people that get to meet you in person and help celebrate Bellas life. What an honor. And it's so awesome you have provided the opportunity. The world is a big place. We come from all over. And we're grateful to be a part of Bella's journey. We've been touched in so many ways.

  22. Beautiful sky! And beautiful Bella! Did Ali get her Minnesota Gopher socks?

    Praying for you today! Its weird though, you guys doing new things, like you said. I think its weird for us as your friends too to have you doing other things... I miss it. I miss Bella too.

    I'm just rambling now... hope you have a great day!
    Amanda Schauer

  23. Hi Tim,
    I has been a while since I posted, mostly because I cant find the pointers (words) to directly what I feel for you and your family in my heart. Bella passed while I was on a cruise with no Internet access... I was praying for her every time the beauty of nature took my breath away and I was connected to our creator and that was A LOT. As soon as we docked in Puerto Rico and I was not roaming on data anymore, the very first thing I did was check on you guys. Your blog thay day was talking about apple orchards and dinners at friends houses and I was feverishly scrolling through to hear about the latest with bella...at the end you mentioned memorial plans and my heart crushed for you, for Ang and for.Ali and I feltoverwhelmed with grief and loss. I excused myself, went to the top deck to pray for each of you as tears consumed me.
    I am so deeply sorry for your loss... She really is an incredible spirit that was here with a remarkable purpose that she accomplished in such a short time. Too short for me... I started loving her the day she was born, I miss her too. Not comparing of course, but I want you to know you are not alone in your gief.
    Are you reading, or have you read, The Power of Now? What you wrote today is very much in alignment with that message in the book and if you have not yet read it I think you would find deeper enlightenment within it. I practice living that way as well.... Staying present, accepting what is, and you are right, it is a much easier way to live. Resistance is pointless, it is what it is right? So I choose to react different and choose positive emotions.
    I want you to have good feelings Tim, it hurts to think of you lost in a cloud of despair. I think Bella clearly knows how much each of you love and miss her and she is not keeping a pain-o-meter to measure how much. How much is greatly apparent with all you cared, loved(and still do), and concsiously navigated for her during her life. She is such a lucky girl to have such remarkable parents. You all are wonderful people and I adore you.
    You have my support, just do what feels right in the moment and accept that as truth, because it is... Be'ing'... It is you, and it is perfect. Try to shut off the chatter that says you are wrong, its only your mind and it can be misleading.... If you read the book you get it.
    Sending love, strength and my deepest condolences,
    Angela O.

  24. What amazing sky pictures. Just beautiful.

    I can totally relate to Ali's meltdown...my son would have the same issues. She's been through a lot and so much traveling has probably taken the the toll. So like you said...one meltdown a day, that's pretty good. We manage at least 3 or 4 here...and are not tied to the car or dealing with grief.

    I filled out the form but will add again that the DFW area is huge. If you could give a location I'm sure more people would be able to give a better RSVP. Myself, I'm in the northern suburbs of Dallas. I'm not sure if you know where the rest of your readers live specifically. Timewise again 7 isn't the best and I'd likely not be able to make that time. 4ish is better...but that gets rush-hour traffic. Ugh.....I can completely see you rehashing the first part of your post about the rat race and hate to throw that back at you :( I sincerely hope these EB gatherings work out. Even if it's a small group, just remember those are people who's lives will never be the same because they knew your baby girl.

  25. Continued prayers for your family!!!

    I am not anywhere near any of the Bella gatherings, otherwise I would be there.

    Michelle in KCMO

  26. I absolutely love that picture of smiling Bella in your arms. She looks so happy to be there with you. Awesome picture.

    I love the scenery pictures too. WOW, that sky is awesome. It's weird to see that it's so FLAT there. LOL Living in California, I'm so used to all of the mountains around me. It's just weird seeing it so flat in other places. But that can be so beautiful too. I'm glad you guys missed that terrible storm from yesterday. I was really praying that you guys made it thru that okay.

    As far as Ali's "meltdown", I'm surprised you are only having one a day. That is impressive. I try to avoid going out during the day during naptime. But, that can't always be avoided and so I have had quite a few of those naptime meltdowns. It's been so bad before that I have had to just leave everything in the cart and leave the store. Haha

    Although I can't make it to one of the above gatherings, I plan to attend the CA memorial.

    Be safe and enjoy your trip. Please keep those beautiful pictures coming!

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

  27. Hi Ringgolds! So glad you didn't get blown away in all those crazy storms!

    Yes, meltdowns happen in our house. Sometimes with warning, sometimes without (with 5 kids, you kind of get the garden variety!) I'm amazed that Ali's only having one a day - what a kid!!

    Sweet smiley pic of Bella - SO glad you're sharing these!!

    Love from TX,

  28. Tim,

    I sounded rather gloomsville at the end of my post. It truly wasn't intentional (Lesson 1: Don't write posts at the end of a long day unless you're a past master like Tim Ringgold).

    The cloud pix from yesterday are simply spectacular.

    Fondly, as ever!


    PS Must think of a new term of endearment soon

  29. I would so be in NC on Friday if it was AT ALL do-able.

    I think things will work out just the way they are supposed to, Tim. Meeting with other EB families who WILL be in attendance is so wonderful.

    I am in complete agreement with Elena above. I felt odd even thinking that though, I mean, I have not stood in your shoes. My feeling is though that your sweet girl would not wish for you too feel guilty.

    Lots of love,


  30. I so wish that i could attend the EB Gathering but I am all the way in New York. I'll be there in spirit. Thinking of you guys every day and missing Bella. One day she did say "I was born with this rare skin condition but when i went home it went away"

  31. Tim,

    I think maybe more people have responded to Patrice to let her know about food. Whether there are 7 or 700 of us (I pray more for the 7 or 70) we will be there together to meet each other & let each other know how much we care & receive a blessing from God.

    I am sending prayers for safety of travel & looking so forward to meeting you, Ang & Ali on Friday..

    Missing Bella more that I would have ever dreamed I could, to miss someone you have never met is amazing..don't worry about your feelings I am sure they will change daily-from sadness to happiness to anger..you will find them all a necessary part of grieving.

  32. Spending a little time here today reading the comments. I shouldnt have responded last night...my mind at times seems to forget how to communicate with my fingers. Like I said in my comment yesterday...the thoughts in my head and heart have a hard time flowing down to "paper". Always have and I am sure always will. But I have gotten better and have broken out of my shell because of Bella...ok I am repeating myself. Maybe a lack of caffeine. :)

    I cant imagine all that you are going through...the different feelings you all are having. But know that they are normal...everything you are feeling...normal. Dont feel bad about it, Tim. You will have those good days and they are ok.

    I hope more people do join you for your gatherings. I have no regrets going to the memorial...it was one of the most amazing experiences of my life. To finally meet you, Ang and Ali...to remember Bella...it was amazing. I hope people dont let their fears keep them away and I wish that anyone that is thinking about possibly going does. They really will have no regrets.

    Ok, enough rambling on my part today.

    Sending all of you my love and sweet kisses and bunches of hugs for Ali.

    Denise WI

  33. Wow! Those pictures are amazing, especially the ones of the sky. They are magnificent and powerful reminders of God's creation. I'm glad you all escaped the storms. It was pretty scary around here last night with tornado warnings and potentially more this evening. But it looks like clear skies by Friday...woo hoo!

    I can't speak from personal experience about kids hitting the wall out of the blue. I can, however, tell you that I have my own personal meltdowns on occasion...and I'm M U C H older than Miss Ali! It's the end of the quarter at school, and we're in the middle of mid-term exams, and I've been headed toward that wall several times this week. I've managed to keep my composure (I am the adult, after all) - but in my mind - I'm snapping!

    I can also identify with your feelings of relief and guilt. This past July my 84-year-old dad went to heaven after having struggled and suffered for a long time. We too had struggled as we tried to care for him at home. So when the angels came to take him home, there was indeed a feeling of relief...for him and for us. Of course, those feelings went hand in hand with the guilt...all of which are part of the grieving process. Continuing to pray for you guys as you find your way through that process.

    Take care and safe travels.

    ¡Hasta el viernes!

    A friend in NC

  34. Oh Bella... her little cheeky smile is adorable...

    I so wish I was closer and could come to one of the gatherings, I would love to meet you all. Unfortunatly I'm way over the Atlantic and it's just not possible. I hope you enjoy them all though.

    Oh how I miss hearing about how little Bella is doing each day... It's great to hear about your journey through the states though, thanks for sharing it with us. Thank you for being so honest about your emotions too. It helps us all to grow as people when we understand how our emotions work, for now and for the future too.

  35. Gorgeous photos! Happy to read about your travels!

    I filled out the survey, saying I could be in Phoenix on Sat Nov 6 but not Fri the 5th... but I could actually come the 5th as well, just a bit early, maybe sometime in the 4-6pm range instead of 7. :) Just wanted to leave my correction with you for consideration.

    Still reading and thinking of you all everyday!

    Cara in Tucson

  36. Wow-the pictures of the countryside are beautiful...makes California look pretty boring! In regards to the meltdowns Brae is the King of meltdowns and of course with no warning signs (-: Gotta love it!!! I thought it was called terrible 2's, but the 3's are NO JOKE!!! Brae's about to turn 3 tomorrow and he has been going thru the "I do it myself" mode. Not to mention his new obsession is skateboarding. I have no clue who or where he picked this up from. He carries the fingerboards around all day,everday. He always has one in his pocket. Thanks McDonald's...it was the happymeal gift a few weeks back. Everyday he wants to only wear t-shirts that have graphics of skateboards. The problem is Mommy has only found 2 tshirts, so the other days of the week are a knock down drag out fight getting dressed for Joan's. And now he convinced his Granny to purchase his first skateboard and helmet from Hotskates over the weekend. GReeeeaaatttt, you can't even ride a bike yet but you think you can ride a skateboard. I called Van's skatepark in hopes that they have leasons for his size. Busted!!! the lady on the phone laughed and said the youngest they start lessons at is 6 yrs old. I guess we have a few years til then. So mommy and daddy are running up and down the street trying to minimize any injuries. I pray for no broken bones. AS always thank you for sharing your journey. Have a safe trip, praying for you all as always.

    The Davidson's

  37. Your family is constantly in my thoughts & prayers. If your travels bring you to Topeka/KC, Kansas areas, I'll definitely be there.
    Thank you for keeping your "followers/fans" updated as to how your family is doing. :) May you continue to find peace & healing & enjoy knowing that Bella is always watching over you!

    Brenda (Kansas)

  38. heaveno!

    i hope the bad storms didn't cause you any troubles today! things were really bad here - we even had a tornado! thankfully, the weather should be much better by the time you get
    to w-s!

    praying that y'all realize how lucky bella was to have such devoted, special parents!

    god bless y'all!
    w-s, nc

  39. I took my two-year-old to a local community music and play class this morning and a woman walked in with her one-year-old(ish) daughter, decked out in little mary-jane style socks like the ones I associate with Bella's early BMT days. I honestly had such a strong emotional reaction to the sight of a healthy child wearing Bella's socks, that I couldn't decide if I wanted to A)ask the woman to remove the socks (totally unreasonable), B)take a picture of the baby in the socks (totally creepy), or C)I couldn't even think of a C. In the end, I ended up avoiding the woman like the plague and then leaving the class early just to get away from them. How's that for rational behavior, huh?

    Just thought you might like to know that totally random people you have never met are grieving in strange, non-constructive ways for your very precious daughter. Thank you for sharing her with us. I miss her dearly.

  40. Phew,I have been sittting on this post for a while. BE STILL AND KNOW THAT I AM GOD be still Tim, be still. I am not quiet sure why numbers at these gatherings are important or if indeed they are. Life for us all goes on that does not mean to say that we have forgotten little Bella or ever will. I too think of you all frequently and you will always be in my prayers.I get the impression that some folk have put you and aAng on a pedestal?!? This is a little scary I see you as two ordinary people and Like Little Bella have/are living through an extra-ordinary situation. I have learnt about EB and will always support Eb research in any way I can.I have learnt about faith, courage and hope.God Bless and go well.

  41. Dear Ringgold Family,
    Should.... yes we struggle with should A LOT here. Please do no feel one way or another about how you are feeling with this journey; just let your feelings be, just feel them-Bella would want that, we all want that for you.
    Looking forward to seeing you, Angelique and Ali soon and celebrating wonderful Bella.
    Michael and Robin Setto

  42. Hey Ringgolds,

    I haven't written in a few days either, thinking, thinking, thinking about you all. I got home about 5:30 last evening and sat down at the computer and saw the news of the storm and the first thought in my mind was the fact that you all are traveling in the area and hoping and praying you were OK. My kids are in St Louis and first I worried about you all, feeling my family was OK and they are. Not much in STL, just a lot of scary warnings. I lived in Evansville, IN for 8 years, so I know the beauty and so wonderful you are getting to see beauty now. As to small turnouts. I think it is easier for many to express what's in our hearts if we do it by computer, as your Vancouver commenter said. How shall I dress, etc? With the computer, it seems so pure and from the heart where in person, we might be tongue tied. The love never lessens tho. Guess we're a bit afraid of being judged in person. I look forward to your being back in CA and being able to attend Bella's memorial. Love, peace, hope and so much more to you all, Greenie

  43. Love looking at the beautiful pictures as you travel across the country. Someday I say "I am going to do that." Not sure I ever will get to but it is fun to dream. Looking at clouds always reminds me of what is to come after this life, this body or world as we know it now. Thanks again for the beautiful pics.
    A little story from the weekend to share.
    We met our daughter and her family for a fun weekend. We try to meet half way and get a hotel and enjoy everyones company. Well little boys can have meltdowns also. We were in the mall shopping and papa was suppose to be watching him with the one car we let him take in to keep him occupied while the girls shopped. Well that worked for about 2 minutes when he remembered where we were. He convinced Papa that he needed to ride the rides. Nearby there was one of those cone shapped things you put coins in and they spin around (a donation thing) Anyway, papa turned his back and as quick as can be that car went spinning around and around and before anyone could get to it, Donated! One very upset 4 year old. The look on his face was priceless, I just wish I had my camera.
    Even meltdowns can be a special moment.

    Thanks for continuing to share your journey

    The Cooley family in Nebraska.