It was a year ago this very evening (almost to the hour) I received a call from Mitch who was in bed for the night. I was in my basement office when he called from the home phone to tell me his heart felt strange. Immediately I dropped what I was doing and ran to my son. When I first laid eyes on him I saw nothingness in his face. Upon seeing him I quickly scooped him in my arms as he came to. I remember thinking to myself, “[Please] … not like this. I’m not done with you, little buddy.” It was then that I felt the heavy, cold breeze from the abyss that was inching to devour my son. I could almost feel the ground from under him crumbling and it was then I sensed the true depths and darkness that was lapping at my son’s feet. Death was coming and I didn't know how to stop it. Within a week I would come to realize that death wasn't at our door but in our home lying in wait.

I stayed with Mitch a while to reassure him and to let him know I loved him. I tucked him in nice and snug, kissed his face and took this photo of his sweet smile. We talked about his Minecraft base and other things on his mind. He knew I was recording our conversation and he gave me a sneaky smile. He was as perceptive as he was innocent and sweet. I knelt by his bed and ran my fingers through his hair and said, “Son, people spend their lives in search of treasures. They go to the ends of the earth; they sometimes kill each other or themselves in search of it. They drain oceans and level forests in search of treasures … treasures that don’t last. But I have the world’s greatest treasure … and that is my family. You, son, are one of my greatest treasures. I want you to know how much I love and treasure you.” He smiled and snuggled his head deep in his pillow and drifted to sleep. I miss him. 

Once Mitch was sleeping I went to the kitchen and wrote what happened in his event log. A few months prior we started documenting events and irregularities in search of patterns - there were none. In fact, nothing like that had happened before and I didn't know what to make of it. I didn't realize this small tremor was a prelude to a biological earthquake that would strike a week later and send my son into a death-spiral of end-stage heart failure. 

The original post of this event can be found here:

Until this night I didn't recognize this was the beginning of the end. I just did what I always did … I looked him in the eye and told him I loved him. Never a day passed that I didn't tell my kids how important they were to me. … how important they are to me. We spend our lives making sure they’re bathed, fed, clothed and on top of their homework … but I think kids should also be fed with love and clothed with confidence.

Why do we wait for someone to die before we eulogize them? Why do we withhold words of affection, commendation and admiration as if they were scarce commodities? Sometimes, at funerals, the nice things we have to say are said too late. And I get the sense, that for whatever reason, some people die a little inside each day – and a loving observation or a word of encouragement can be just what someone needs to breathe new life into their life. It’s been my experience that as long as I’m truthful and sincere with others, telling them what good I think of them never gets old and is always appreciated.

I said nothing at my son’s funeral that he didn't hear a million times from me. I didn't want him to go a day without a sure knowledge he was loved and treasured. And I hope that whatever thoughts crossed his mind as he was slipping from this world into the next that he knew how much he was loved and treasured by his mom and dad. I hope my son had a sure knowledge I could search the seas, the mountains and trees and never again find a treasure quite like him. 

Though I can no longer hold my son, my treasure, as I once did he has made my life richer and more meaningful. Children are treasures that last.