Mitchell’s funeral was a year ago, tomorrow. I have done a lot of public speaking in my life and there was no address more difficult than speaking at my son’s funeral. Although a year has passed, my knees still shake and my hands tremble from grief. 

On the day of his funeral I couldn't believe all that was happening – everything was surreal. The months following I would awake each morning with feelings of absolute horror and breathlessness. I would scramble out of bed in a panic hoping that somehow everything was an awful nightmare. Some mornings, half awake, I would run to his room only to discover it empty- then fall to my knees in utter grief. Not a day has passed that I haven’t wept for my boy. Although I feel an increase in peace these days, I still cry and I still grieve. I think I always will.

It wasn't until we took Wyatt to a Grief Camp last fall that I realized how individual grief truly is. Although my wife and I could love and guide our 7 year-old son through his sorrows, his pain was his alone to process. I couldn't do that work for him … no more than anyone can do the same for me. Later that night I wrote in my journal “After all is said and done, grief is a journey traveled by one.”

I have discovered managing the grief of losing a child is incredibly complex. How does one save another from drowning when they are drowning themselves? As a husband and father I have sometimes found myself hanging by a thread, desperate to tread, while trying to process my own sorrows. I have sensed that grief, if not managed, could easily swallow me up. Yet I know there is more to this equation of sorrow than me. At the same time I see my sweet wife, who aches just as much as I do, and also in ways I do not know – for I am not a mother. I reverence her sorrow more than my own. On top of our mutual grief, I have my other children who each hurt in their own, real ways. I must also care about their sorrows, too.

To be clear, I am not drowning in grief – though I tread its waters and I can tell they are deeper than deep.

I am learning new things about grief every day. So far, I have found if I set aside my sorrows, even if only for a moment, and try to lift and love my family who also hurt, somehow I hurt a little less. Oh, I still hurt - but just a little less. Therein is that heavenly paradox of which I've earlier wrote … that the only way to save ourselves is to save others. 

Yet, after all is said and done, grief is a journey traveled by one.