HERRIMAN — Chris Jones has created all kinds of media presentations for clients, but his latest project is the most powerful and the most personal.
He is documenting his 10-year-old son’s final journey in this life.
“This was a little quiet thing for our family and friends to follow Mitchell’s journey,” Jones said. But the Facebook page Mitchell's Journey — filled with poignant reflections, photographs and meaningful videos — has attracted thousands of followers all over the world.
“Taking photos, our observations of him have really helped us as a family. It turned us from being victims to be more observers of this marvelous thing that was going on, even though it so difficult,” explained Jones, who has three other children.
He often writes the Facebook posts in the middle of the night when he can’t sleep. “It’s been good therapy,” he said.
His wife, Natalie, agrees. “It’s been amazing to feel love from everywhere. It really has lifted us up and made our burdens light.”
The Jones family first learned their son’s life would be limited when Mitchell was diagnosed with Duchenne muscular dystrophy at the age of 3. The muscle wasting disease usually results in progressive muscle deterioration and is fatal by late teens/early 20s. Mitchell was only 10 when doctors discovered over the summer that he had cardiomyopathy and the muscles in his heart were rapidly deteriorating.
By January, Mitchell's heart was barely functioning, and two weeks ago the decision was made to bring him home from the hospital so he could spend his final days surrounded by family and friends.
“We’ve not only had one more day, we’ve had many more days," his father said. "So there has been a strange potpourri of pain and anguish, hope and happiness.”
Mitchell has always had resolve and courage beyond his years. “He is a joy. He has the best sense of humor,” his mother said. Despite the numerous tests, procedures and hospitalizations, Mitchell rarely complains.
“He was engineered for this trial,” remarked his mother. She said he often reminds his family about the things that matter most. “He has this serious side, and he asks the serious questions,” she said.
Though Mitchell’s body is frail, his spirit remains strong. He loves spending time with his family and friends, and appreciates every sunset.
He is shy around strangers and was nervous to be interviewed. But he laughed when his mother talked about the good advice he gives to his siblings and nodded mischievously when asked if he was any good at video games.
The Jones family has counted many blessings and tender mercies along this journey. Chris Jones has written about many of these experiences on the Facebook page. In a video titled “Sweet Dreams,” Jones records the moment his son received a puppy from his grandparents — a gift that turned out to be medicine for his soul.
“The hospital would allow Mitchell to have puppy visitations, something they don’t normally allow,” Chris Jones explained. “We’d bring that puppy in, and Mitchell’s spirits were lifted. Believe it or not, it seemed like his vitals got a little better because he was so filled with hope and happiness because of this puppy.”
Mitchell’s best friend lives next door and is a frequent visitor. “His friend Luke has been such a blessing. They have both had difficulties in their life and have compensated for each other and been the best of friends,” his mother said. On Facebook, Mitchell's father wrote: “It’s as if their souls were woven from the same heavenly fabric.”
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