Tuesday, March 15, 2011

And we depart.....

We have decided to call Laguna Beach, Florida our home for the next year. We will be leaving the first of May. We have been blessed with an ideal situation where we can rent the beach home that we have been so fortunate to vacation in over the years while my sister and brother in law rent our house here in Nashville. We made the decision while on vacation but have had to tie up some loose ends here before confirming. Amazingly everything has worked out so perfectly that we are left knowing this is definitely the right decision for us at this time.

While we were away Chris & I had much time to talk. We discovered that although we often expressed ourselves differently and handled our situation differently over the past 9 months, we both walked away with the exact same feelings about what Bella meant to us and what she means to our future. We know we are not the same people we were going into this. We have new goals for life, new dreams and new needs. We feel that instead of struggling to get on with our life as it was before, that we need to embrace all that we have learned and experienced. We need to take the time to find our new purpose in this life. We want to slow down and open up our hearts and minds to God's will for us and allow ourselves the time to heal. We want to invest in memories with Dylan and each other instead of college funds, savings accounts and a retirement plan. We have learned the hard way that memories are the only thing that truly matters in the end. They are the only real solid investment. We don't want that lesson to go to the way side by getting caught up in the hustle and bustle of the life we had before. We have a unique opportunity to go somewhere that will allow us to work towards becoming stronger physically, mentally and spiritually. And hopefully by taking care of ourselves during this time we can return and give ourselves completely to the many causes and needs we have come to know from Bella. We have so many ideas of how we can better ourselves and the world around us from our experience. We have talked of fostering medically fragile infants, adopting a special needs child, starting a non-profit to help those that follow in our footsteps or advocating for a chronic care facility here in Nashville. Whatever we decide we know that we want to do it prayerfully and with full conviction. We believe that as we heal, meditate and open up our lives more fully to the Lord that the answers will come.

Bella's life and death has given us a new set of eyes on the world around us and the life we lead. Hopefully in surrounding ourselves with the unfamiliar we can put this new perspective to the best use. The things that seemed to matter so much before seem of little importance to us now. We would like to think of this as a sabbatical of sorts but we don't have the luxury to stop working all together. We are just going to change our focus to work to live, instead of live to work. For Chris this means only keeping the clients on board that he can manage from afar and travel back to Nashville when needed. For myself, this means finding a job that allows me the time to indulge in the reasons we are moving in the first place while giving us the income needed to live a very minimal lifestyle. We don't need much at the beach and we look forward to challenging ourselves to cut out the unnecessary in the pursuit of happiness. We are moving forward with hope and trust that the Lord will open up the doors of opportunity to make this work.

Our hearts are heavy to leave those that have supported and surrounded us with love throughout this. However we are excited to offer everyone a place to visit and get away from the madness. We look forward to quality time over quantity with our family and friends. Our door is open always, the dinner table set, the waves crashing on the shore and Bella's beautiful smile can always be found in the sunset, so come on down....

I look forward to continuing the blog while away. I am in hopes that our experiences over the past 9 months can help at least one person. I am hoping to reflect and share insight with those that may follow in our footsteps. Mostly I pray that I can share with everyone the many ways that the Lord continues to bless us and guide us. And selfishly I hope to keep all of you near as we continue to heal and learn to live life without the physical presence of Bella. It does and will prove to be a challenge. I also truly hope that thru this blog you will share with us other prayer needs. We WANT to pray for others. We know the power of prayer, we know the comfort in having others pray for you and we need to grow as Christians. We need to be able to give back the most amazing gift we have ever received. Please comment with prayer requests or email them to me at telishacobb@gmail.com. These will not be shared with anyone but our family and the Lord unless you want to share with all of these amazing folks on here that have carried us in prayer.

Much love to you all


Friday, March 11, 2011

Welcome to Holland

This article was sent to me a while ago from a dear friend that always seems to know what I need when I need it. Today I share it with you and dedicate it to my friend, Mollie Shepperd, the most amazing ambassador and tour guide of Holland that I am blessed to know...

Welcome to Holland by Emily Perl Kingsley

I am often asked to describe the experience of raising a child with a disability, to try to help people who have not shared that unique experience to understand it, to imagine how it would feel: It’s like this…..

When you’re going to have a baby, it’s like planning a fabulous vacation trip to Italy. You buy a bunch of guidebooks and make your wonderful plans. The Coliseum. The Michelangelo David. The gondolas in Venice. You learn some handy phrases in Italian. It’s all very interesting.

After months of eager anticipation, the day finally arrives. You pack your bags and off you go. Several hours later, the plane lands. The stewardess comes in and says, “Welcome to Holland.”

“Holland?” you say. “What do you mean, Holland? I signed up for Italy! I’m supposed to be in Italy. All my life I’ve dreamed of going to Italy.”

But there’s been a change in the flight plan. They’ve landed in Holland and there you must stay. The important thing is that they haven’t taken you to a horrible, disgusting, filthy place, full of pestilence, famine and disease. It’s just a different place.

So you must go out and buy different guide books. And you must learn a whole new language. And you will meet a whole new group of people you would have never met.

It’s just a different place. It’s slower-paced than Italy, less flashy than Italy. But after you have been there for a while and catch your breath, you look around…….and you begin to notice that Holland has windmills…and Holland has tulips. Holland even has Rembrandts.

But everyone you know is busy coming and going from Italy……and they’re all bragging about the wonderful time they had there. And for the rest of your life, you will say ….

“Yes, that is where I was supposed to go. That is what I had planned.”

And the pain of that will never, ever, ever go away……because the loss of that dream is a very significant loss.

But…….if you spend your life mourning that fact that you didn’t get to Italy, you may never be free to enjoy the very special, the very lovely things…..about Holland.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

And we return....

We returned to Nashville on Sunday evening after spending a full week at a beach house in Laguna Beach, Florida. We are blessed to say that we found some peace in removing ourselves from life as we knew it but even more blessed to report that we also found great clarity to life in general. We had sunshine filled days of doing nothing but playing and just being together. We learned to just be. And with all of the great beauty that we witnessed we also learned that nothing is or was as beautiful as Bella's smiles or her physical presence on this Earth. With that we are left with the question, not why did God take her from us BUT why did He bless us with her for those 9 amazing months? And what can we do with our life from here forward to be witnesses for the many miracles we were blessed with during that time? What can we do that will ever be as rewarding or fulfilling as she was to us? How do we move forward exercising the many, many lessons we learned from her life and her death? We have a few ideas, some definite goals but mostly we know that we just have to turn our life over to the Lord. Fully and completely, trusting that He will lead us each and every day. We also know that these answers are not going to come over night. They are not going to come from a trip to the beach. They are not going to come in returning to life as we knew it. They will come as the healing continues, as we devote time to prayer and meditation and as we learn to trust completely. The answers will come when we have balanced our bodies, minds and spirits.

The strength we have found is not our own. If all I had to depend on was myself during this time then I would not get out of bed in the mornings. I would still be experiencing the gut wrenching, heart breaking physical pain of not having her here with me. I know this because I was there following the funeral. For a few days I shut out God, family and friends. I went to the loneliest, darkest place I have ever been in my life. I saw life without spirituality, without appreciation for loved ones. It is a place I do not wish to ever go to again in my life. It was not myself that pulled me from this place. I did not or do not have the strength for that. It was the Lord that did not leave me, nor forsake me even in the darkest moments. It was the genuine kindness and love of family and friends that pulled me from the darkness of self loathing and self pity. So again we thank you all for lifting us in prayer when we did not have the strength to do so ourselves, for the overwhelming gestures of kindness and love that you have given us. Mostly we thank you for loving Bella and letting her be a part of your life.

There are still good days and bad days, good moments and bad moments. There are limitations for what I can handle in life right now. There are situations in which I choose not to put myself in because I don't trust my emotions. The hustle and bustle of life around us seems overwhelming at times. There are moments of guilt in moving forward without her. There is and probably always will be a craving to touch her, see her, smell her. There are moments when I close my eyes and picture every fold of her skin, every scar, every detail of her face just because I am scared of one day not being able to remember those things. But mostly there is hope. Hope that there is life ahead that will always be a testimony to the beauty of Bella...

We love you all. We thank you all. We ask that you allow us to pray for you as well. Please let our family know of any prayer requests that you may have or know of.

Much love to all