At the head of my son’s bed lay his favorite Halo mask and toy gun. 

I purchased that mask when Mitch went to work with me, just before his last Halloween. He loved to have pretend battles with his friends; many of whom would call him “Sir” or “Master Chief” to show their willingness to follow his lead. While Mitch was physically weakest among them, he possessed a strength and influence that transcended muscle and bone. Mitch, unaware, was a quiet but natural leader. 

Even to this day, almost two years since I lost him, he leads me in the battle field of life. Whether I wrestle with enemies of the mind and heart, or take refuge from a sudden onslaught of grief, Mitch has shown me what it means to fight the good fight and to endure suffering with a grateful, loving heart. Though I cannot always control the struggles of life, I can decide how to respond to those struggles. How I respond makes all the difference.

I draw strength and inspiration from my timid little boy who struggled to walk, breathe and eventually live. I'll never forget little Mitch laying in this very spot, saying in shallow breath, “I don't think I can survive.” That quiet utterance broke my heart then and it breaks it again today. 

Little Mitch faced an implacable, fatal enemy; and though DMD took his life, he fought the good fight, and he won. Mitch reminded me the battles that matter most in life have less to do with the body and more to do with the soul. 

He taught me how to look past my troubles and find gratitude with what I have. Mitch taught me whatever I have is enough … and when there isn't enough, to share anyway. Mitch taught me how to bear my burdens with a glad heart and cheerful countenance. He showed me a heavenly paradox … that to lift another’s burden strangely lifts my own. These lessons, and many others, have sunk deep into my bones.

My sweet boy fought the good fight, and though he died, he won. As I face different battles I hope to fight the good fight so that one day, on some distant field, I might see my son.