DEAR MITCH*

DEAR MITCH,

I remember the exact moment you took your first breath, fifteen years ago today. Your tiny little body was so sweet and tender. So perfect. I marveled over your every little detail; your fingernails, your tiny feet, the soft hair on your skin. You were a miracle made mortal and my heart was overflowing. I remember holding you in my arms and kissing your face with a father’s love – a love until such time, I had never imagined. As you slept peacefully in my arms, I thanked Heaven for sending your sweet little soul to me.

When you first left, I was stumbling over pebbles … barely able to breathe. Now, dear son, I am learning to climb mountains.
— Christopher M. Jones | Mitchell's Journey

It would take 3 years before doctors discovered what I sensed the moment I laid eyes on you: your body was fatally broken and you would live a short life.

In your brokenness, I have learned deep empathy. I have also discovered my own brokenness, and in that brokenness, I hope to become like you, strong where it counts.

When you were young, I was excited to introduce you to the world and be your father, teacher, and mentor. But heaven had a different plan … and soon you began teaching me. Through your tender ways, you would teach me about love, family and the how to make ordinary moments matter. Although you were a quiet boy, your actions spoke loudly. You taught me, by your example, about sacrifice, service, obedience, and kindness. In every way that matters, you remind me of the saying, “Teach people about God at all times, and if necessary, use words.”

I wish I could hold you again – and there is an ache inside me because I can’t. Four years have passed since you left us and I still feel the weight of grief on my shoulders. I have learned grief will last as long as my love lasts. It is a heavy burden, but I am learning to carry it differently – and I can tell my shoulders are getting stronger. When you first left, I was stumbling over pebbles … barely able to breathe. Now, dear son, I am learning to climb mountains.

One day, when I see you in that place beyond the hills, I will run at reckless speeds to hug you and thank you for breaking me. Then I will look heavenward and thank my Father for picking up my broken pieces and carefully reshaping me.

Happy Birthday, son.

With all my love,

Dad

 Mitchell's headstone today (April 29, 2017)

Mitchell's headstone today (April 29, 2017)

Natalie met her mother and sister for a picnic at Mitchell's place of rest today.

Natalie and her sister, Sonya.  Both played an enormous role in Mitchell's life.

 Today has be a beautiful, sunny day.  Mitch loved these mountains and always liked to sit on our porch and watch the sun set on this magical formation of rock, snow and trees.

Today has be a beautiful, sunny day.  Mitch loved these mountains and always liked to sit on our porch and watch the sun set on this magical formation of rock, snow and trees.

Later that night, we returned to say goodnight.  This is all we can do to tuck him in.