Just yesterday my boys and I were hustling to get ready for church. Just before we left, I found Wyatt in Mitchell’s room with a reverent disposition – as if he were visiting his brother’s space to quickly to hit reset and get grounded. I love Wyatt and have grown to admire the good young man he is.
There was a special, tender spirit in that room yesterday and my heart melted a little.
Last fall, someone saw a different post of mine where I mentioned Mitchell's room remained untouched. Someone glibly posted, "No shrines. It's not healthy." It is my nature to think carefully over things, so I began to contemplate if my son's room was a shrine, as this man callously pointed out.
As I tried to examine the truth of things, I walked into Mitchell's room with an open heart and mind, and I began to see unfinished Lego bases he ran out of time to make. I saw little treasures on his night stand he so carefully placed. Mitch never cared much for things – but he did associate memories with certain items, and if it had an emotional tie, he treasured it for what it meant – not so much for what it was. Little Mitch was so excited to have a bedroom of his own; you can still see childhood posters and a calendar he hastily taped and pinned to the wall when he first moved in. They aren’t level, which makes the wall decorations even more endearing.
On his bed is a piece of art I had an artist paint that represents a tender exchange Natalie had with Mitch, the night he passed away. As she lay cuddling in agony over Mitchell’s lifeless body, she had a distinct impression Mitchell’s spirit remained to comfort his mommy.
As I examined Mitchell’s room, my mind was swept up in memory, and I could almost see my son there again, breathing softly under the warmth of the morning light. It was a tender, healing moment. But healing also hurts, so I felt a little of that, too.
With few exceptions, virtually everything in Mitchell’s room remains untouched. I determined at that moment what my son's room meant to me: it's not a shrine; it's a journal.
What is a journal if not a place to reflect and remember?
One day, when we're ready, we will deal with his room. But for now, it is a tender place to go to remember and reflect. I don't go there often … but when I do, it is always met with feelings of love, gratitude, and of course a little grief.
I used to go there and weep … but now, when I visit, my soul feels more peace than grief. It is a journal not confined to pencil and paper – but instead, one I can see, touch, and remember a little boy who shaped my heart and enlarged my soul.