It is interesting how God prepares our souls for the end of life. Not always, but sometimes. And when He does, I believe it is for a higher purpose. It is almost as if He is gently saying, “My child, over here.” Through this hardship I have learned to hear and recognize those impressions in new and meaningful ways. I was being prepared for my son’s passing the day he was born. I had a distinct impression something was seriously wrong. It consistently pressed on my soul for the first 3 years. I couldn’t shake the feeling; I knew his life would be short. Then the diagnosis came and those whispers to my soul suddenly made sense. A year before we discovered Mitchell’s heart was failing, I sensed something life-altering was going to happen. I remember telling a few people that were close to me that I sensed an almost chilling change in the air. I didn’t know what, I just knew something significant was going to happen. I wish I knew it was my son. I would have done more with him and less with things that matter nothing to me now. Such is the lament of those who grieve. 

So, when Mitch came home to die, not knowing his days were short, he had a premonition in the same way I had them – except his was more specific. “Mom, can I have an early birthday?” Mitch said in his soft voice. “It feels so far away.” Natalie looked at me and without saying a word, said a million things at once. Immediately a birthday party was put in motion. We didn’t know if we had 10 minutes, 10 hours or 10 days with Mitch – so every second counted with him. The next day we had a special birthday party for our son. It was a beautiful celebration of life and love and my son’s heart was full – while ours were quietly broken.

After his birthday party, Mitch sat near his aunt Sonya trying to build a Lego set. My sister Diane loving inflated a great many balloons to make the day extra special for my son. As small as that act of service may have seemed, it was big to me. When I saw what those balloons did to Mitchell’s heart … how it lifted his spirits and put a spark in his eyes, I have never looked upon a balloon in the same way. I get it now. 

Just beyond Mitch was my youngest child, Wyatt, twirling in the background with an over-sized teddy bear. For a moment I wondered what act was playing out on the stage of his mind; was he in a magical forest with an imaginary friend or a king’s hall dancing under a moon-lit sky? For a moment I was swept away in wonder, admiring children for all the good and imagination that is in them. Then, I was reminded of my other children’s needs. I knew each of them were different and needed love and attention unique to them. Most importantly, they needed to know in our moment of crisis that mom and dad were going to be okay – that no matter what, the world would go on and that our family would survive this hardship. 

When I saw Wyatt playing happily by himself I felt the words in my heart, “… over here.” I had as distinct an impression as I ever had with Mitch, this time it was directed at my youngest son. At that very moment I set my camera down and walked over to Wyatt and started to play with him. I let him know how proud I was of the young boy he was and that I loved him very much. Wyatt smiled with a mouth full of missing teeth. I kissed his face and hugged him tightly. 

I don’t know what that little exchange meant to my youngest son. I only know my Father wanted me to remember him, too. Ever since, that is all I try to do. Oh, to listen to that whisper, “Over here.” It is there for all to hear, if we choose have a listening ear.