Here is a photo of Mitchell's brothers and sister I took yesterday afternoon. They are all growing up so quickly - I can't believe how fast time passes. All three of these children have endured profound and private grief over the loss of little their brother. Because of this, I have spent many nights on my knees praying for their well-being and that heaven will help them weather the storms of life. Teenage years are hard enough - and having to deal with such a personal loss at such a young age, I can see these kids growing up faster than I would have wanted. One thing I've learned on this journey is pain shapes us - it is unavoidable. I have also learned that our response to trouble has a lot to do with how pain shapes us: it can break us or re-make us.
Ethan (center) was Mitchell's closest friend and brother. Today he plays a vital sibling role as the glue that keeps our kids together. He didn't ask for that responsibility, but he fulfills that well as he's learning to be a good young man and honor the memory of his fallen brother.