Tuesday, January 17, 2012

January 17, 2012: Into Nawlins again...


Well, with a heavy heart, I made the voyage to Lousiana for Tripp's funeral tomorrow.  Two cool things to share about the journey:

1.   I walked up to the Budget rental car counter with a fierce headache.  The agent, Sharon, couldn't have been nicer.  She began some polite small talk as she was processing my car.  After asking if I'm here on business, I share I'm here for Tripp's funeral.

"Is that the boy with the skin condition that I've seen all over facebook?"  She asked.

"Yep.  That's him." I replied.

"Oh no!  I didn't know he passed!"  She frowned.

We continue to talk and share and after a while, I give her ours and Tripp's blog addresses.  She shares how she wants to contribute to causes, and to volunteer in the NICU holding and rocking babies.  I witnessed this amazing ministry when Bella was in the NICU.  So, I got her to promise to call the volunteer office by the end of the month to begin.  She lit up, and said, "That's it!  All I needed was a deadline!"

We had the most tender conversation between a rental car agent and a weary traveler.  God is present, even at the rental counter.

2.  When looking at where to stay tonight, it was no more expensive to stay in the French Quarter than to stay at a vanilla, cookie-cutter hotel airport.  So, I had a thought.  I'm gonna stay in a historic building and go to Preservation Hall to listen to my dad's favorite jazz band, The Preservation Hall Jazz Band.  So, I found a great old hotel two blocks from Preservation Hall for a whopping $62 a night.  Because my flight got in late, I only had 30 minutes till their set ended, so I headed straight to the Hall.  It was unlike anywhere I've ever been.  It was literally a time warp.  My dad was 44 when he had me in 1972, and when I was little, cassette tapes of New Orleans ragtime jazz lined the glove compartment of my dad's 1980 Buick Century.  He played piano by ear, and loved playing stride and ragtime by ear, and man, he could tear it up.  But, like so much of my dad, he kept his love for and playing of jazz private, reserving the moments of his playing and listening to when no one, or maybe just one person might be around.

When my dad was dying of cancer, he told me he wanted to have "Weary Blues," by The Preservation Hall Jazz Band played at his funeral.  Well, that's an UPBEAT New Orleans jazz tune, and I chickened out and didn't request it.

Tonight, I did.

The Jazz club is tiny, no microphones, cushions on the floor for the first two rows, benches for the next two rows, and the back of the room is just the floor.  It is incredibly intimate.  Well, time was running out on their set, and I came to the side door and asked them if I could make a request.

"A music request?" the trumpeter asked.

There I was, the whole room and the band looking at me in total silence (no joke), waiting for an answer.

"Could you play Weary Blues for my dad up in heaven?"

Truth be told, I didn't even know how the song went, but I knew it was my dad's favorite, and it's something I've never really talked about with anyone before, so I was nervous even just saying the song name.

They could tell I was really nervous, and so they said, "Weary Blues?  Weary Blues, yeah, we can do that one."  Then the trombone player shook my hand with a twinkle in his eye and said, "Alright, alright!" in the most laid back, creole/nawlins way with a smile, as if to say, "Good work, kid."  (At least 4 of the 6 in the band must be twice my age)

And so they did.

And as the familiar thumping style that I so vividly remember from my childhood filled the room, as the tears filled my eyes, a smile filled my face, and joy filled my heart.

There I was, in New Orleans, in Preservation Hall, and THE band itself was playing my dad's favorite tune FOR HIM.

I kinda feel like I made up for his funeral in a way tonight.


Tomorrow is Tripp's funeral: a joyous celebration of a life that changed lives, and will continue to change lives all over this planet.  I realized that I was coming to mourn his passing and loss, but really, I think I'm here to celebrate his life.  Pain and joy can co-habitate my heart.  They've done it a thousand times before over these past almost 3 years.  They'll do it again tomorrow.

Also, our friend Patrice Williams, Jonah's mommy, is flying in tomorrow from North Carolina with not a lot of time to spare.  It is a trip of many firsts for her, and she is understandably nervous about leaving Jonah and Matt and handling all the travel logistics on her own, since Matt is usually in charge of that duty for the family.  Will you say a prayer for her safe and timely arrival?  She humbly requested this on her blog, and so please send her some love and comfort, will you?

Lastly, please pray for our friend Courtney.  Tomorrow is going to be many things, and A LOT of people are naturally going to show up to share their love and support.  I remember Bella's memorial in CA as a blur.  It was wonderful to see so many people take time out of their busy lives to be there, but it was also stressful to try to be present and connect with everyone who came out.  It still feels a bit like a dream.  Please send Courtney strength so she has the physical and mental energy to be with so many people after being in her home with Tripp for so long.  Please send her comfort as she has to say goodbye to his earthly body for the last time, and send her love to will help replenish all the love she has poured out of her heart for that amazing little boy.

Thank you,

God night.


  1. I'm so glad you're going. I really wanted to come, but it was just not in the cards this time. Will you please give Courtney a hug or me and tell her that I'm thinking of her and wish SO BADLY that I could be there? Thanks, Tim. Good luck tomorrow. Jennifer

  2. Number one you listed brought tears.

    The rest of this post had me sobbing.

    You are an incredible person. I'm blessed by your blog.

  3. I love that first story. Tripps an amazing kid. When I posted a link to their blog a week ago, a friend on Facebook commented that her other friend had also posted the same link, except her friend lives in Australia. It's awesome to know so many people loved Bella and Tripp without knowing them at all.
    I remember reading strangers comments when Bella passed away. Amazed at how sad they felt "losing" someone they never met...but with Tripp, I get it now.
    There is no better representative than you to be at Tripps service and Courtney's side tomorrow. You are there for the thousands that can't be....I know it will be a blur to Courtney, but having you and Patrice there (prayers for her safe arrival, too), will mean so much to her.
    Give her a big hug for all of us...
    (I bet Tripp loved your jazz experience, too)....
    I'm wearing red and thinking of "our" Elmo loving boy today.
    Lots of love from home....

  4. Thinking of Tripp and Courtney-sending love,love love!!!! Sara put it into words perfectly (as always)!!! Make sure you give Courtney a big hug from all of us here in CA who love them so.



  5. So so glad you are there. I think many of us would have like to be there. Having you and Patrice there will give us a sense of support for Courtney.


  6. Tim -- We are glad you are there safe and are sending everyone love. I know your dad was looking down on you last night and THRILLED! If you need to stay in NOLA on your return, please let me know. My friend Keli lives in Treme (near the Quarter) and her place is empty right now as she is here visiting.

  7. Prayers for you right now. SO glad you're able to be there for Courtney. I know having you and Patrice there will be an immense comfort for her. Please hug Courtney from Team A! (And hugs to the Ringgolds too!)

    Love from TX,

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  9. C'mon Becks... let's not make this nasty. His blog is primarily about HIS life and the precious daughter he lost. I think it's awesome that he also brings awareness about these other sweet EB babies. I think it's wonderful he took time out of his schedule and is sacrificing a few days away from his family to go in support of Courtney and her family. He knows firsthand what it is like to lose a child to this awful disease and I think he should be respected... not bashed. Prayers for Courtney and her family, along with all the other families who have/had children with EB.

  10. Becks, really it is clear you don't know Tim at all. His heart is in the right place, and it is all about Tripp, that's why he is there...Praying for Courtney, the Ringgolds and for you!

  11. Becks, there is no reason to be nasty. This blog originated about Bella and her amazing journey. I take offense to your comment about Tim posting a picture of Bella at the end. He is honoring Tripp and his amazing Mom Courtney by traveling to Lousiana to lend his support. I am Bella's Grandma and am offended by your comments of my amazing family. I find you disrespectful and I pray for you.

    Grandma Carolyn

  12. I agree, what Becks said was disrespectful! Lots of thoughts and prayers are with you today Tim, as well as Courtney and her family and Patrice too!

    If it weren't for this blog about Bella I wouldn't know what EB was and I wouldn't have known about Tripp and Jonah. Tim, keep up the amazing work you are doing!!

  13. GO Grandma Carolyn!!!!! Boo on you Becks...I know you do not know the Ringgold's personally, you can tell by your writings. Becks maybe you should put some of your harsh words to good use and try to honor EB babies by educating all of those who know nothing about about the horrible disease. Not going to waste my time on you or your negativity anymore...like all the posts before me...I WILL PRAY FOR YOU!!!!!

  14. Becks,
    The most telling thing is this. Do you know who would probably be THE MOST offended by your post? Courtney. How dare you insult Tim in the name of her son? This is Tim's blog. A blog, by definition, is written from the author's perspective. Tim is in the unfortunate unique position to know exactly what Courtney is going through. He CARES so much, that he has taken time off of work and money that I am sure is not plentiful with two kids... and he is flying to Louisiana to lend her support. He is not doing it for the "glory" of it. In doing so, he reopens his own wounds of losing his own sweet Bella barely over a year ago. He writes about how the rental clerk knew about Tripp... writes about his father and how he is honoring him. Gee... going to a funeral may conjure up memories of burying both his father and daughter? How healthy and open for him to share that with us, his blog readers that have followed him on his journey with Bella and his journey through the grief of losing Bella. I for one am so damn proud of Tim. He has a tremendous strength to fight through his own grief and work to help all other EB children, including Tripp. He and Angelique work tirelessly to raise money for EB research and treatments by helping run PUCKFUND.ORG with the Moorelands. He is a true crusader for EB children!! Take your hate and your judgments and your warped perspective to a different forum. We are about support and love her. Oh yeah, and I will save my prayers for Tripp, Bella, Courtney, the Hotard and Roth families, Tim and Angelique and their families.

  15. Not sure why these posts are bringing out the trolls all of a sudden! If you've read enough of the blogs of EB families you'll notice that they are all commentary on our lives, with and without our children. And, if you've read the blog regularly you'd know that the picture of Bella is at the end of every post, by request from our blog readers.

  16. Tim I just wanted to let you know that it was an honor to meet you today. I know it meant the world to Courtney to have you and Patrice there. They had 2 girls sitting in front of us in Church that had EB and I am touched that they were there to show their support also. We will continue to pray for everyone that has EB and their families. I am glad that you went to Preservation Hall and they played the song for your daddy. Much love from New Orleans, Gearldlynn Lucia

  17. Yes,I agree, it would have been nice to have included a photo of precious Tripp on this post about him.

  18. Tracy....thank you.
    Tim....we love you.

  19. Thank you, Tim. So many of us followed Bella and Tripp on their journey. I like to imagine you represented us at this gathering. And shared our hugs with Courtney and all of those that love these sweet souls. I love today's picture of Bella. I like to think she is joyfully welcoming her friend!

  20. Tim what a wonderful man of God you are. Reading your blog for the last year and your book has changed many lives.. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for sharing Bella and her story with all of us! I found you through Courtney's blog as I mentioned to you yesterday. ( my uncle is Tripp's grandfather) I never had heard of EB before we received the call that Tripp was born and was as fragile ad a butterfly.. As sharing with you I thought Noah's condition was unbearable.. Little did I know it could have been so much worse! I admire you, your wife, Patrice and Courtney for allowing everyone to be able to read the blog post of your most treasured angel's! I encourage you to keep doing what you do and spread awareness! God Bless you and your family it was an honor to meet you in person.

  21. Tim and Angelique- please don't let negative comments bother or hurt you!! What you and the other EB parents have done in sharing these journeys is generous, loving and educational!!

    I admire and appreciate your efforts! Kim