About a year ago I was on a flight to some place. I remember looking out the window and taking this photo of the arid landscape I called home. I then looked forward into the cabin of the plane and I saw over a hundred people sitting in their chairs flipping through magazines, scrambling with digital devices, working through puzzles, watching movies and engaging in various conversations. 

There was no way to know what personal challenges each passenger was dealing with, but my guess was many of them worried and struggled because they’re human, but few of them were in crisis. Many of them seemed anxious to get to their destination so they could move on with their life. I then looked out the window again and wondered how my life could continue. I missed my son and the weight of grief loomed heavy on my soul. It felt like the weight of a million planets tugging with sorrows pull.

The once familiar desert 30,000 feet below felt foreign. The passengers all around me felt like strangers from a distant land. The world around me seemed so provincial. The mad dash for wealth, material things and the endless distractions that turns life into a numbing dream … all of it rang hollow. The meaning of life was suddenly monumental. I didn't care about anything but my wife and family and my heart ached deeply for my fallen son. 

Yesterday I spoke with a man who runs the world’s largest grief organization. He asked me to be one of their keynote speakers at their next conference a few months from now. As we spoke he asked me how I was holding up and I responded that the answer to that question depends on the day, and sometimes the moment. He, being no stranger to grief, said he understood exactly what I was saying.

Today I find myself between two worlds: Earth, the world I once knew before losing my son … where the gravity of everyday life was tolerable and familiar; and the world after, where I found myself walking on Jupiter, struggling to live and breathe under the crushing gravity of grief. I live somewhere between those two places. Neither are home and I don’t sense they ever again will be, but I frequent them often.

At least for me, grief has evolved … more accurately, I have evolved. My grief hasn't changed ... it is still very difficult. The pain of my son’s death is just as soul crushing today as it was the day I lost him. It isn't difficult because I think about it, you see – it is difficult because it happened and he is no longer with me. In many ways, I miss him even more today than I did a year ago. However, my ability to carry grief has changed. I don’t know how or why, all I know is my grief journey is entering a new phase. 

In 2015 I will be writing more stories of Mitch and his journey, for I have many, many to share. I will also be writing about the evolution of grief and our family’s journey through the shadows of death and how we are learning to find a new normal. 

I am no longer afraid of going to sleep or waking into feelings of terror – though I regularly experience moments of terror. I no longer cry every day – though I still have frequent, intense moments of weeping. And though at times my eyes may seem dry, rest assured that my soul still cries. 

For as long as I love my son, grief will be my constant companion - so I am learning to co-exist.

While he was living, I don’t think little Mitch knew how much his life meant to me. I've discovered it isn't possible for our children to know how much they are loved. It seems one has to become a parent to truly understand the depths of that kind of heavenly love. 

As I find myself between two worlds, I am learning to take up residence here. I can see things today that I have never before seen … for grief has changed my sense of being. Strangely, though I ache for my son, I find this new place, though painful at times, a heavenly one. Now, if only I could hold my son …