I’m Reynolds Stewart, and this is how I’m Living Deeply.
“It’s different without Mary Mitchell because now I don’t have a sibling to play with and interact with. When we eat dinner, we don’t have four people at the dinner table anymore. We don’t have a big mess in her seat anymore- she always made a big mess when she ate. For most of the time she was sick with her genetic disease [known as MPS III, often referred to as Childhood Alzheimer’s], I didn’t think she was going to go be with Jesus. I asked God to help make her better. But I knew that if she did go to be with Jesus she would be better and she wouldn’t have MPS III anymore. So when she died, I thought of it as God answering my prayers. But I was really sad too. I don’t really cry that often about it. I told Mr. Brett [Reynolds’s counselor] I hadn’t cried since the day she died. He said that was okay- that’s just because different people express things different ways.
Then, the week of Mary Mitchell’s birthday, I was watching videos of her on the iPad and it made me cry. My mom came in because she heard me. She just hugged me and said, ‘I know, I know.’ It was kind of like a release. I think I have gotten to know Jesus better in the year since she died because I have started praying a lot more often. It feels settled and it feels calm. Jesus has calmed me. What makes me happiest about Him is that Jesus is everywhere and we can always talk to Him or God whenever we want. Back when Mary Mitchell passed away, some of my friends didn’t know at first. They asked questions once they found out. Some of them asked how I felt. A lot asked if we would still celebrate her birthday or if we would do special things on the anniversary of the day she died. And I said yes. I knew we would because my parents and I had talked about it. So for Mary Mitchell’s first birthday after she passed, we went to Dollywood with one of my friends, Ada. Ada’s sister passed away six years ago from another genetic disease. Her gravestone is right next to Mary Mitchell’s. We had gone to Dollywood for Mary Mitchell’s fourth birthday, when she was still alive, and now I think we’re going to do that every year. We don’t want to forget the things she loved to do, her favorite things.”