Tuesday, September 01, 2015

A Full Year


As we approach the final weekend of the summer, many writers can’t help but remark how quickly the time has flown by, how hard it is to believe that summer’s come to an end, all the while fully acknowledging that it’s cliché to do so. Yet there it is. It’s hard not to.
Summer is the one season we never seem ready to let go of. The warmth, the long days and ease of it all is a welcome respite from the rest of the year filled with early morning school buses, meetings, appointments, the holidays, and for the majority of us lots of cold rain and snow.
And yet, year after year we have no choice but to surrender to Mother Nature, as we collectively make our turn around and away from the sun.
The turn from August into September will always represent something deeper and more personal for me than just the passing of a season and the end of warm weather and play. It means that a full year has passed since a light brighter than any Sun went out and I came to know darkness darker than any moonless night.
A full year since I last held my sweet angel.
A full year since I kissed her goodbye.
A full year since I watched as she took her final breath.
A full year since she surrendered.
A full year since we let her go and released her back to God.
A full year since my world was flipped upside down and smashed to smithereens.
A full year.
Time does move quickly whether we’re ready or not. One observation I had as we counted birthday after miraculous birthday, was how children really force you to pay attention to the passage of time. When you have a new life become a part of your life you see how quickly it all goes by. Another year. Another birthday. Another miracle.
We’ve now gone through all the firsts without Mia. First holidays, first birthdays, first anniversary, first everything that comes in the span of a year. And now here we are. The first anniversary of the ultimate surrender and return to the beloved. To say it was a hard year for us only scratches the surface of the range of emotions, highs and lows we experienced. The immense suffering that comes from such a loss.
I often find myself existing on two planes, one where the suffering shakes me to my core, brings me to my knees, and fills me with the deepest sadness and grief imaginable. The other plane is where my suffering is Grace, Mia’s Grace, where I am filled with an undeniable understanding and acceptance of the perfection of it all.
I learned a lot from her during our nearly 8 years together but the most important lesson in all of this is that Mia showed me how to live unconditionally. The love that exists between us is something that will never die. It has always existed and continues to exist beyond her physical death. Love is boundless. Love needs not take any from, though it often does and quite beautifully. Love is as pure an uncondition as there is and I feel Mia’s love with me still, in the quiet moments, when I am still and open.
Mia’s life was her gift to us, her grace. She showed us how to live with the purity of the heart, to do everything from a place of love.
Her light has not gone out. I can see that now. It’s just different. It fills my days and carries me on. She is the air that I breathe. She is the waves in the ocean. She is the bee buzzing in the flower. She is the flower. She is the warmth of the sun. She is in the changing leaves. She is the falling snow. She is the whole universe.
She is.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Birthday Love

8 years ago Mia Bella entered this world and changed my life forever.

All children do that for their parents. They teach us what's important. What has real meaning.

They teach us what love is of course, and they remind us what we easily forget - love is all there is really.

At the heart of it all, at the heart of who we are is the love that we are and the love that we share with one another.

Mia brought this message in a profound and powerful way.

Mia was about the moment, this one right now. She was not trapped in the past of expectations or worried about what was to come.

She knew the gifts and the miracles that living fully in the now would bring, and she never felt bad about who she was.

I wake up everyday and I thank her for giving this gift to me.

For coming into my life and showing me how beautiful it truly is,

and how blessed we all are.

Happy Birthday Mia Bella.

Daddy loves you now and forever.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

The Stars Above

Hello again. We are still here and we are healing and moving through the wide range of emotions that still come up on a day to day basis. After 7 years of sharing Mia's story very publicly through this blog, Facebook, and other various social media it was time to take a break. It has now been almost 12 weeks since Mia made her transition and we're starting to emerge from a much needed time of rest and reflection.

Mia's story is far from over and there is more to share, and much more coming. I am beginning to write my first book, and while this first one won't center completely on our life with Mia, her story will certainly be woven throughout. She is my inspiration for the writing and we are both very excited about it! The book is more related to my Health Coaching practice (you can read more about that here), and will be a practical guide to help anyone who is facing challenges in life both big and small, and looking to reclaim the health and happiness that is our birthright. Stay tuned for more info!

In the meantime, there is a very special story to share about Mia's memorial in New York. First, the memorial held at the Queen of the Most Holy Rosary in Bridgehampton was an incredible experience. We were surrounded by friends, new and old, family who had traveled far to be there, and the undeniable presence of Love coming to us from each and every one present. We are honored to have so many gracious and beautiful people in our life.

There were pictures of Mia everywhere, as well as signs Francesca had made for Mia's hospital room when Mia was first born and then taken to the hospital here in Boston. It's hard to capture the full presence of Mia but she was still felt fully!

On the evening of Mia's Memorial in Bridghampton, there was one of the most stunning sunsets that most had ever seen, and on the east end of Long Island that's saying a lot. Our friend Diane captured this beautiful shot of the sky over the water.

The clouds rolled in after that and covered the sky in darkness. With friends and family that had stayed around after the memorial we went down to the beach to light lanterns and send them off in to the sky for Mia. Our dear friends Rachel and Skip brought the lanterns and one by one we sent them into the heavens and to Mia.

As the lanterns made their way higher and higher into the air, the dark cloud covered sky was lit by these little beacons of light. One by one the lanterns disappeared as their fire burnt out, but as each lantern was extinguished they were replaced by stars, as the clouds rolled out and the once dark sky was illuminated by thousands of bright twinkling stars. It was a true gift from Mia. She was right there with us, shining her own light for all to see.

There is so much in our lives to be thankful for. Mia taught us the importance of gratitude and appreciation.  We can easily get bogged down in the details of life but give thanks for this moment, for the experience of love in your life wherever it is and however it shows up. May you all have the happiest of Thanksgivings and we'll be seeing you soon!

Wednesday, September 03, 2014

Memorial for Mia Bella Friday, September 5, 2014

We will be having a celebration of Mia Bella's life this Friday, Sept 5th at her school, which she adored.

Boston College
Campus School
Lynch School of Education
Campion Hall Rm 197
235 Beacon St
Chestnut Hill, MA 02467

The party will begin at 1:00pm and it will be a PARTY! We always said that we wanted to celebrate the life Mia lived when she passed, and make it as happy of an occasion as we could.

We will have food, music, and there will be a time for people to share their feelings and remembrances of Mia Bella's incredible life.

The Campus School is right on Beacon St, but please park in the BC parking garage which is just east of the school on Beacon if you're heading toward Boston.

We are asking if you would like to contribute something to please give a donation to our fund for Mia or please donate to the Campus School. The Campus School is an amazing place, filled with brilliant and caring teachers, therapists, nurses, aides and staff.

Campus School donation info here: Campus School Donation information.

IMPORTANT: If you're using GPS make sure you use Chestnut Hill as the city and NOT Boston.

Please call the Campus School with any questions @ (617) 552-3460

Link to Google Maps BC Campus School

Tuesday, September 02, 2014

Mia Bella Zingarelli February 10, 2007 - September 1, 2014

Mia Bella made her transition last night at around 9pm. She was in her favorite place in the world, her mother's arms.
She went peacefully, and without pain. We watched as she took her last breaths and then she was gone.
I don't have many words right now, other than to say besides being completely heartbroken and beyond words missing our little angel, we are happy that she is at last complete again and at peace.

After my last blog post yesterday, Mia began to decline. She required more and more breathing support just to survive and her lungs were failing without it. We could not let her continue to struggle, as she has for so so long. Mia was tired, and she was ready. Fitting that she chose Labor Day to go.

The picture above is from a couple of years ago at the incredible Boston College Campus School where she loved to go and learn and discover. That is how she went, in Francesca's arms with me by her side, and our parents surrounding the three of us.

Thank you to all for the outpouring of love and support that you have given us not only in the last few days, but all of Mia's precious life. She made the world a better place and all that knew her have been forever changed.

We are having a memorial service near our home in Massachusetts on Friday, and probably another for our friends in New York who cannot make it. We're still sorting it all out. Details to follow.

Thank you again.


Monday, September 01, 2014

Labor Day

Thank you so much to our amazing community and network of friends, family, and beyond. It is incredible the reach that the internet allows, bringing people together and making it so easy to help and support one another. We are eternally grateful for the support we have been given, not just in the last few days but throughout all of Mia's life. Whenever we have needed it, you have all been there for us and it has made all the difference. 

Mia had an OK night. They are trying to ween her off of the ventilator, but her oxygen level began to desaturate and they had to raise it back up. She had a fever of 101 but beyond that no major episodes.

I spoke to the nurse this morning from home and both Mia and Mom are resting. They lowered her oxygen support to 60% and she seems to be tolerating that level so we'll see how that goes. Her temperature has come into a more normal range and she hasn't needed any Tylenol.

She's on quite a large dosage of morphine to keep her sedated, as well as other drugs to help with the pain. It breaks my heart to see my little girl in this state. I miss her bright eyes, her smile when I walk in the room, her yelling at me when she has a dirty diaper, and her incredible lust for life and wide-eyed curiosity of all things.

I know that that is all still there, somewhere below the haze of medications, wires, tubes, and monitors. I pray that we will see that little girl emerge from this again. If nothing else Mia is a fighter, and her lesson of strength and courage is beyond description. She inspires me to show up, to see the beauty of this life even when it seemingly knocks you down and drags your around. We have learned the most important lesson you can from this little being of light - that we are here to love unconditionally. We came from love, we are love at the very core of our being, and we are here to love and care for one another. That's it. Nothing else truly matters.

Thank you all for you support. We feel loved and want you to know that you are loved by all of us.

Enjoy the final days of summer and carry Mia in your heart and continue to pray for her recovery.

Noah, Francesca, and Mia

Friday, August 29, 2014

Summer's End

As we sit bedside at Children's Hospital, once again I'm realizing that Mia's blog has suffered as the business of life takes over and posting updates to things like Facebook make it easy to fill in the gap. 

But the quiet time sitting bedside as we watch for even the slightest improvements in Mia's condition make for good reflection time. 

I was going to post some pictures of Mia in her hospital bed, hooked up to wires and tubes and breathing apparati, as she is right now but it didn't feel quite right. 

What she, and we need right now is love and happiness sent our way, not worry and fret, as a picture of her here at the hospital would only show a moment in time and not the bigger picture. 

The truth: Mia got incredibly sick, and if we hadn't gotten her to the hospital last night and instead tried to manage this at home as we usually do she probably would have died. 

An angel came into our home last night, a new nurse we had never met before who was just coming to meet and greet, to potentially take a few shifts as one of our home care nurses. She saw how Mia was struggling, jumped right in and starting doing some respiratory therapy with her. She asked, "Why isn't this child in a hospital? They could treat this infection much faster with IV antibiotics." 

By that point Mia had gotten much worse, really struggling to breathe and it was clear what had to be done: the ambulance was called. I'm confident Francesca and I would have reached that same conclusion sooner than later but I hate to think that by that time it may have been too late. We both have been so sleep deprived in the last week that we weren't thinking with the clearest minds. 

Divine intervention truly. 

She's improved a lot since last night but still has far to go. Her blood pressure is too low, her heart not strong enough to keep it high without IV medication and her lungs are still clogged with pneumonia. They had to stop her normal diet, which is the one thing keeping her metabolic condition and seizures in check. But they're slowing getting her back to where she needs to be. We, and the doctors are hopeful.  

So with that said I thought I'd post some pics of our little summer vacation from a couple of weeks ago, a great time spent with family and friends. I'd rather you see Mia in this way, more smiles and love being what's needed here than worry or comcern. Thanks for reading, it feels good to write and connect again.