There is a poem I have long admired that reads: “It will be gone before you know it. The fingerprints on the wall appear higher and higher. Then suddenly they disappear.” 

While Mitchell’s fingerprints on the walls of our home may disappear, he has left an indelible fingerprint on the walls of my soul. In life, he taught me how to love deeply, how to laugh loudly, and how to play freely. In death, he taught me how precious and fleeting time really is. He helped me understand with great clarity time is finite and perishable. 

Earlier this afternoon we dressed our son in the last outfit he’ll ever wear. I’ll never forget the feeling I had when I took this photo today. It was as though I stepped out of time and space for a moment and the world froze still. My wife stood there ... arrested … contemplating all that was before us and all that was behind us. It was a somber, sacred occasion. 

After he was dressed I watched my wife, his loving mommy, hold his hand and kiss his face … and my heart went out to her and to my son … and my heart shattered. And as it was my opportunity to hold my son’s cold hand I began to consider that he was alive only a week ago … I could be no more sober. All the distractions the world had to offer, the preoccupation with things that don’t matter, were all so clear and uninteresting. All that mattered was my son, my wife and what we had together.

Tomorrow evening we will have a public viewing. Saturday, the funeral. Our talks are written, our clothes are pressed, and arrangements have been made for virtually everything … from home and parking lot security to casseroles, we’re covered. There are even overflow arrangements to stream the funeral to second building should the need arise. It is safe to say we are prepared for everything … except saying our final goodbye ... goodbye to the fingerprints on the wall. 

But alas, his fingerprints, the ones that matter ... remain.