It was April 2012, Mitchell’s last spring, and we were about to head home from our annual Easter trip at our family ranch. A few weeks prior I had returned from a business trip in Honduras and was so glad to be back with my family. The US State Department issued a travel warning indicating the risk was critically high, having the highest murder rate in the world. While there I was careful, but I found the people of that country beautiful, kind and my heart went out to them. I fell in love with their people and wished only to help them. Coming home was especially sweet because I realized how blessed I have been. The lyrics to the song “Because I have Been Given Much, I Too Must Give” kept playing in my mind.

While I have enjoyed traveling the world a little, I have discovered how much my family is my world. I would sooner explore the peaks and valleys of family life with them than visit all the wonders of earth. 

As I took this photo of my kids I remember feeling the genuine, unrestrained love among these children. My heart sang. Mitch surrounded by siblings and a cousin proudly wore the soccer jersey I gave him as a souvenir from Honduras. Unlike his siblings, Mitchie would wear his souvenirs long after my other kids moved on from theirs. It wasn't that my other children were ungrateful; Mitch just had a heart that was more sentimental than the average person. While he loved getting things, he appreciated the meaning behind things even more. You could give him a paperclip and say, “I got this for you because it reminded me how sweet you are.” Mitch would treasure that simple paperclip as an emblem of affection. Sweet Mitch was the keeper of many virtues; chief among them, gratitude. I love that little boy.

At this moment I had no idea we would have less than a year with our son. No one handed me a memo that read, “Mind your moments, it’s later than you think.” 

A few weeks from this photo we would get just such a memo from Mitchell’s cardiologist that read, “Beware: Mitchell’s heart is in trouble.” We had hope medicine would slow the catastrophic muscle wasting to his heart, but we were awakened to the harsh realities of DMD, once again. I remember not sleeping well the night we got the first memo. I went to my computer and put this video together. ( In many respects, this was my first real post on Mitchell’s Journey. Sure I’ve back-dated some early photos, but this was my first, clunky attempt at sharing the gravity of it all. 

Within six months of this photo, we would get second memo that our son was in serious trouble and was at risk of sudden death. Within 10 months, a memo our son would die any day. Then, a few weeks later, the end. 

I wonder how often life has handed me a memo and I ignored it because I was too proud, too preoccupied or simply chasing squirrels. I have always tried to manage life’s memos, but being human I am sure I missed some. I know I cannot change the past, redo missed moments, nor can I undo my mistakes however big or small; but I can own my moments … from this moment to forever. I get it now. I got the memo. 

I cannot wait for the day I get the memo that says “Your son is just around the corner.” For I will run to him with paperclips and kisses and a heart overflowing with love. I think I will cry. Forever.