"Dad, will you hold my hand?" Mitch asked softly. My heart melted as I reached down to grab his hand.

Mitch and I never simply held hands, we hugged hands. That simple exchange between us was both playful and deeply felt. Sometimes we had a contest to see who could give the biggest hand hug. Those are some of my favorite memories.

While holding hands, we often didn't say much. We didn't need to, for we had a conversation through our hands. All the love in our hearts was expressed by gentle squeezes that said, "I love you more than words can say." 

I didn't want Mitch to go anywhere that he didn't know he was loved beyond words. I wanted him to know his mom and dad would catch him when he fell. Always. If I couldn't heal his body, I at least wanted to heal his worried soul, and I knew that love heals.

I miss that voiceless exchange; that unspoken love which was often felt more than heard. That's what children do: they show us a kind of love where words, at times, are inadequate. Even barren. 

Although I was blessed to hold Mitchell's hand for a season, he now holds my heart forever. He was worth every piece of my broken heart. Even if I cried a million years, he would be worth every tear. 

As Mitch lay on his bed, about to pass away, I know he felt me squeeze his hand like I used to. I know it because he squeezed mine back, only this time, his squeeze was weak, like a candle about to flicker out by the winds of change. I hope, when his tender heart was worried and afraid, that he felt my unspoken love. I hope his soul felt, in a most tender and loving way, "I love you more than words can say."