I took this photo at the cemetery one evening as I was writing about my son and our family’s journey through the wilderness of grief. I have spent some critical time thinking about Mitchell’s Journey of late … what it is and what it is not. I hope this blog, for as long as it exists, is a place committed to honest and sincere reflections on hope, healing and finding happiness. I hope, also, it is fearlessly committed to telling the truth about sorrow and its many setbacks. The truth is, the journey of grief is not an intellectual journey nor is it a linear sequence of events and you're done. Grief is a tangled ball of yarn. 

Though this page began as a quiet account of my son’s journey with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy it took an unexpected turn as it documented his death, our family’s journey with grief and now explores past experiences we had with our son. Perhaps what’s most interesting about Mitchell’s Journey is the vast majority of its followers are not afflicted with any disability at all but are somehow finding meaning with their own journey through life. My wife and I have been deeply touched by the private messages from others, who come from all walks of life, and have shared their story and how Mitchell’s Journey has helped them in one way or another. The moment someone decides to make a course correction in their lives, to love more intensely, to forgive more freely, or to live more fully, Mitchell’s Journey goes from cyberspace to real space – and that is well enough with me. 

Though I write of deep grief, I do not live in a constant state of grief. Healing is happening. But healing hurts and I write of that, too. The hardest stories have yet to be told – and I will write them not because I'm stuck in those moments, but because others may be encountering those very moments at this moment. Perhaps those reflections will serve as a candle to others as they journey the dark wilderness of grief. 

Among the recurring themes of Mitchell’s Journey are discussions of faith, making sense of sorrow, and reflections on love and loss. I suppose one could add to those themes the singularity of grief, that after all is said and done, the journey of grief is travelled by one. Although nobody can do that work for us – just because we must carry our grief alone, we need not walk alone, nor does the wilderness need to be completely dark. I have seen many of you respond to others who post on Mitchell’s Journey and are hurting – and each of you who do so become a candle in the wilderness. I think that’s beautiful. 

I am still a bit surprised, at times, how lonely the journey of grief can feel. I have found that people can do or say things that might complicate the healing process were I to allow it. Some, speaking from the depths of their own pain have said things like, "just be glad you had 10 years and not 10 hours" or some who have lost a spouse say "at least you have/be grateful that you have your wife to lean on" and a million other variations of a familiar and insensitive theme. Rather than taking offense at their volley of sorrow, or comparisons of grief, I just recognize these people are still deep in their own wilderness. I don't know their sorrows any more than they know mine – I only know grief is a heavy burden for all who bear it. I only know they hurt and I wish it weren't so. 

I hope for as long as I live I can be a candle in the wilderness. For I have discovered the wilderness is vast and deep and exceedingly dark at times. I have also discovered what a little light can do.

The truth is I don't know what I'm doing here. I’m not a writer or a public speaker or anybody of significance … I’m just a daddy who misses his son with all of his heart. But as long as I have a heart, I will share it … because where there is love there is light and where there is light, there is hope. 

To all of you, who love and lift others and have become a candle in the wilderness, shine on.