New Year’s Eve was a few hours away and 2012 would soon be in the history books. Unaware our son had about 2 months to live we carried on with our lives as normally as we knew how. Perhaps in some measure we took a little of life for granted - for had I known the hour was so late, I would have spent my minutes differently. Such is the lament of all that grieve … but I did the best I knew how – and I can live with that. I can breathe.

On this night we took our kids to Rock Creek Pizza Co, a local restaurant chain we love to support. Mitch sat beside me, as he always did, clung to my arm and leaned his head into me. I love how softly he loved. If this tiny, almost invisible exchange meant the world to Mitch … it meant the universe to me. His gentle, affectionate touch was more powerful than a million of the world’s strongest men. 

I quickly grabbed my cell phone and took a photo of my tender son who just wanted to love and be loved. I swallowed the lump in my throat and wondered who was comforting whom. I then kissed his forehead and whispered, “I love you, son.” Mitch replied softly, “I love you too, Dad.” 

I really miss my son.

As often as I say “I love you” to my family (and I say it about 100 times a day) it never gets old because each time I mean it a little more than the time before. Each day I discover love anew and fall more deeply in love with my family. Sometimes in my sorrow I am pained by the price of love, but I would rather have a broken heart than an empty heart – no matter how much it hurts.

While I travel through life on the other side of Mitchell’s Journey, this impossible sojourn through love and loss, I find each day offers a little more than the day before. A little more sorrow and a little more healing: it’s a curious blend – what seems like arch-rivals are indeed paradoxical friends. I hurt because I’m healing – I am on the mend.

Some days are more difficult than others. It has been over a year since I lost my son and not a single day has passed that I haven’t cried for him. I pray for a day without rain. One day it will come. 

This was just an ordinary night punctuated by ordinary moments of love and quiet affection – not just with Mitch, but also with my other children. 

I love my family and not a day passes they don’t know it – each day a little more than the time before.