TO MOVE & BE MOVED

Last September I received a message from someone out of San Diego who was following Mitchell’s Journey. She gave me permission to share an excerpt from her message. She wrote: 

“I discovered Mitchell's Journey just a few weeks before Mitchell passed away and I have been following closely ever since. I think initially I followed in awe, moved so deeply by the bravery of one small boy and the power of a family's love. I thought to myself over and over again that your family must be woven of a fabric much stronger than my own constitution for I couldn't imagine walking a moment, much less a day, in your shoes. And yet, your family presses on and continues the journey with such grace. A true example for us all.

Overtime my following of Mitchell's Journey changed from being that of a passive spectator to that of someone who became inspired to take a journey of my own. To live life differently. To love more deeply and to be more present in every moment. To reach out to those in need and to allow myself to accept help when I need it and when it is offered to me.”

Caryn Glass, this kind, compassionate woman was teaching an intensive for a ballet studio and was to choreograph a piece for their end-of-summer showcase. As she worked with these young dancers, she did what all true artists do … dig deep. She inspired conversation among these teenagers to talk about ways they could be more present each day, find gratitude for the gifts of life and to share some of their favorite moments. They discussed moments they wished they could experience again and others they wish they could do over. At some point during this exploration with her students, this kind dance instructor shared a little about Mitchell’s Journey and what it meant to her and how it has affected her life. 

The following video is her choreography dedicated to little Mitchell and anyone who (in Caryn’s words) “inspires us to be the best versions of ourselves, to be grateful for our gifts, to be kind to one another and to simply be glad we're alive. For nothing else matters.”

I still cry every time I read her beautiful letter.

Her dance company, [the] movement initiative, wanted to help raise awareness for DMD by producing this video of their dance: vimeo.com/118058086

I’m not sure which was more beautiful; Caryn’s gesture of love and remembrance, the choreography … or the fact she took the time to inspire her students to find purpose and meaning in their own lives. Each was beautiful, but the combination of what she did even more so. Though I am touched by Caryn’s remembrance of my fallen son, I am even more touched how she inspired tomorrow’s generation to connect to things that matter most to them. Each of these young dancers walked away with something different – a meaning unique to them and their own life experience. At the end of the day, that is all I hope for Mitchell’s Journey.

Caryn Glass, you are simply remarkable. These young dancers were not only taught how move but how to be moved. You inspired them. You encouraged them to discover ways they might truly live. This world is blessed with you in it.

This is a link to her page: www.facebook.com/pages/the-movement-initiative/113639455358007?sk=timeline
----------------------------
instagram.com/mitchells_journey

ART & INSPIRATION

In April 2013 we were approached by a dance instructor who was seeking permission to choreograph a dance in in memory of Mitchell. The theme of the concert was Inspirations ... each dance dedicated to a figure or ideal they felt was inspirational. Evidently, her students were aware of Mitchell's story and he was at the top of their list. We were touched by their thoughtfulness and gave them permission to move forward. 

Last night my family watched their first performance and it was beautiful. We were deeply touched that these dancers, each young and with a life ahead of them, would stop and reflect on Mitchell's story and illustrate it with such an expressive art. 

Just before this performance, I found my hands shaking, unsure if I could keep it together. Tears of sorrow, tears of gratitude and love flowed.

I remember looking to Wyatt only to find him weeping because he missed his older brother so much. He was so touched by the dance.

It occurred to me on the drive home how much Mitchell loved to dance. He would spontaneously break out in an awkward little shimmy because his muscles were weak and getting less coordinated. But he would dance anyway - he didn't care - because he was happy and felt safe and loved. Whenever he danced my heart would explode ... he was so cute to watch. We have been able to capture his little dances of happiness on video and will share them some day. 

So to watch these students of dance tell his story and journey home was humbling. And then, later, to reflect on Mitchell's love of life that he often expressed through his own little dance ... I was humbled and reflective. This choreography ... this art of music and movement ... took on a much different meaning.

To the Dance Company, Creative Arts Academy and the students of Jefferson Jr. High School, we thank you from the bottom of our hearts; not only for the beautiful tribute to our fallen son, but for the reminder that life is still good and we should dance when we're happy ... even if we can only shimmy.