Mitchel's Story

The following tribute was written by Mitchel's mother.


Mitchel, a UW Health Organ Procurement Organization (OPO) organ donorMy husband and I lost our youngest child, Mitchel Wesley, to an automobile accident in the fall of 2009. We are still struggling with the finality and loss of our son, but would like to share a small tribute and allow you a glimpse of the young man that gave to save others.


We received the dreaded phone call on a Wednesday night. Our son had been in an accident and we were asked to come to the hospital. He was listed as being in critical condition. After we arrived, it was very clear to us that we would lose our boy. He had sustained massive head, neck and back trauma and the CT scan and carotid blood flow study, the next morning, confirmed our worst fears...our Mitchel was gone.


We were approached about organ donation and we made a mutual decision (his siblings, his father and I) to donate abdominal organs. The team went to work. Mitchel had a rare blood type, so it took a little longer to match recipients, but he was able to give his heart, liver and both kidneys.


To date, the recipients I have heard from are doing well and had successful transplants. We are thankful for that. I have chosen not to go into great detail about our time spent at the hospital with our son. It was extremely difficult, and by far the hardest event we have experienced as a family. But, this story is not about us. Let me share a little about our Mitchel. Below is a portion of what I shared at Mitchel’s graveside service. I hope it helps you to see a glimpse of the young man that we loved and the one that would have freely given to help others:


I could talk, at length, about Mitchel and what he meant to my life. As I stated in his obituary, his life cannot be limited by the use of words on paper. Words will never capture the fullness of his time here. He lived life on the edge, trying to fit it all in. Nothing about him was in slow motion. He had fun and enjoyed being here.


Mitchel was both tender and tough, a joy and a struggle, patient with children, but not with himself. He was witty and charming, a master of storytelling. According to him, he had done it all. He was strong willed, strong of body and a survivor. Misunderstood by many, but he delighted those of us who understood him. Talented with his hands, he could play a mean game of pool and could back any size trailer, perfectly.


He was fearless and a warrior. He demonstrated loyalty, love and compassion. He was passionate about life, thrived on adventure, loved Black Bridge and recently enjoyed a float down the Wolf River on a tube. He loved others more than himself and appreciated his friends and family just as they were. He understood that he could never be good enough to earn God's love and salvation, but knew that it was a gift he received, because he asked and it was all about God's grace to him.


He taught me to be in the moment and to accept people for who they are, that we are all not cut by the same cookie cutter and we are actually designed to be who we are, and that God delights in His creation of us. I admired him, for not conforming to everyone else's standard for him, even though it was torturous to watch. He was given as a gift, and I just accepted him, who he was, all of it, the best times and the most difficult, as he did with me. Through him I celebrated individuality, encouraged it, defended it and fought for it.


I will miss my son for all the days I am here. Grief is now a part of me, something I will have to learn to embrace. I will miss seeing his brown eyes smile before his face does, the smell of his hair, the way he walked with purpose, strength and determination. I will miss his car in the driveway and the sound of him walking down the hall and his voice saying, "Get out of here!" as I kiss him goodbye.


Mitchel has left a big hole. It feels as if something has been ripped from my chest and that I will never be the same. He was so fine to me. My baby is gone, from here, but God has not left it there. Death is not the end. In Revelations 21, the Word tells us that there will be a New Jerusalem and that God will dwell with us. We will be his people and God himself will be with us and be our God. He will wipe every tear from our eyes, and there will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain. All of that is ours, as long as we believe in the work that Jesus Christ did on the cross that he truly died for each and every one of us.


Right now it hurts, we mourn, but that will end and we will all be together in eternity, as long as we believe and let God be the center of who we are, not ourselves. Our Mitchel is a hero.