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The Journey from Jupiter | Mitchell's Journey

It has been almost a year since I wrote “Walking on Jupiter”. To my surprise, I have made a journey from Jupiter. It is no longer home, although grief requires me to visit there often. Earth is still a great ways off and I don’t know that I’ll ever really live there again, either.

Earth is closer than it has ever been. I can live with that.

And should I live out my days marooned in some place between the punishing gravity of grief and the near weightlessness I knew before – I will count myself blessed.

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Walking on Jupiter | Mitchell's Journey

That was the day my wife and I left earth and took up residence in an unfamiliar place. That was the day our world changed.

There are days, sometimes agonizing moments, the gravity of grief is so great it feels like I’m walking on Jupiter. It’s a place where your chest feels so heavy even breathing is difficult. I have come to learn that once you lose a child you leave earth’s gravity forever. You may visit earth from time-to-time, but Jupiter is where your heart is. And from what I can tell, we will live the remainder of our lives in the gravity well of grief. 

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Weighing the Cost of Your Everest | Mitchell's Journey

As these determined climbers realized their lives were about to end, I can't help but wonder if they regretted their goal. Both left behind families.  Yes, they met their goal, but at what cost? 

If given the choice, knowing the price they would ultimately pay, these climbers would have reconsidered their goal.  

 

In like manner, consider the man who, at an early age, decided he wanted to become a millionaire.  During his ascent to financial riches he gets married and starts a family, never taking his eye off his financial goal and bravely doing whatever is necessary to reach the summit. 

At some point this man reaches his summit ... he makes his pot of gold and celebrates a job well done.  Then, to his horror, on his descent to other things he values, he realizes he has destroyed his family in the process.  

In both scenarios, the subjects had a lofty goal and their efforts were noble and noteworthy.  The question they had to ask themselves was if the goal was worth it, in the end.  Yes, goals require work, and as one person put it, "if our goals don't scare us, they're not big enough."  But are some goals we aspire to worth the price we might ultimately pay to achieve them?  

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You're Not Overworked, You're Under-Prioritized | Mycore

The root cause of my colleague’s troubles stemmed from priority confusion. When we lack clarity about our priorities, the things that are most important, we lose sight of what we should be doing and why. 

Any more, in a world saturated with endless distractions and things to do, I'm convinced we don’t need longer days ... we need smarter hours.

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In Search of Home | Mitchell's Journey

To our left was a most beautiful array of warm colors as the sun was slowly descending; to our right were storm clouds (not seen in this image) that had all manner of deep blues – the contrast was stunning. As my wife walked down a dirt road to take in the sky I couldn't help but think of our journey to find a new normal. Though I didn't see Jupiter with my eyes, I could feel its tug nearby.

Later that evening I posted this photo I took with my phone to Instagram with the caption, “In Search of Home” making a veiled reference to a recent post about our journey from Jupiter, “Should I live out my days marooned in some place between the punishing gravity of grief and the near weightlessness I knew before, I will count myself blessed.”

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Good Night | Mitchell's Journey

Then, the words of Michael Faudet came to mind over and over again: "Good night. May you fall asleep in the arms of a dream, so beautiful, you'll cry when you awake."  I had tears in my eyes the rest of the drive home because that was exactly what I wanted. I prayed in my heart I would have just such a dream that night. I did not.  I haven't had many dreams of Mitch since he passed away … only two, in fact. Both of them were deeply emotional and lovely. 

I hope to dream of him in future days. I yearn to see him in some distant field where I will run at reckless speed to hug him and hold him and I will wet his neck with my tears. A dream so beautiful I will cry long before I wake. 

Yet, when I stop to think about it, I have already lived a life equal to my most beautiful dream. I have a wife and four wonderful children who are in every way a miracle of life and love and heaven above. When I think of that, my soul awakens with gratitude. And I cry.

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Alone in the Dark | Mitchell's Journey

Surely we may have people around us cheering us on, offering love and support. But they cannot bear the burden of the sufferer. They don't know, nor can they know, the horrors of the sufferers heart. And when the night comes, when we lay down to sleep, that is when the unfiltered horrors of loss and sorrow are ours and ours alone. As I wrote in an earlier post, "After all is said and done, the journey of grief is traveled by one." In my experience, going to sleep or waking up was when I was most alone in the dark. 

Yet during my darkest moments … when I felt I was drowning in a rising tide of grief and sorrow, I would have subtle impressions and feelings of peace that defied my own understanding and soothed my weary soul. They didn’t take away my sorrow; they only gave me a measure of understanding and just enough strength to carry on a little further. 

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Mending Broken Things | Mitchell's Journey

At this moment I realized my responsibility as a father wasn’t to keep my son from hurting, for that is impossible. Instead, it was to teach my son how to mend broken things. I wanted Wyatt to understand real strength isn’t found in pretending to be unbreakable but in having the courage to admit our brokenness, then make broken things strong.

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