When Kylie and Carl said goodbye to Mitchell for him to take a job at Hamilton Island, they had no idea that it would be for the last time. Mitch had taken the job after his grandfather passed away. The family thought it would be a great opportunity for him to get away after a long and emotional few months.
A typical teenager, Mitchell could be brooding and quiet one minute, and boisterous and cheeky the next. He was a talented artist and costume maker, and always larger than life - something that suited his 6ft+ frame perfectly.
On February 13, Mitch set off for his new life on Hamilton Island. He posted on Facebook: "Well I'm now in the plane and should be taking off in about ten minutes. Wish me luck XD"
Due to start work on Monday, Mitchell made the most of his first day in Paradise (as he called it), and spent Sunday snorkelling. On Monday, he posted just one thing on Facebook: "First proper day on the job and what do I do?? I throw up. Good work Mitch." Concerned about continued vomiting in a type 1 diabetic, on Monday night, the family member Mitch was staying with called his mum, Kylie - over 1,000 km away. They promised that though they couldn't get him to the doctors that night, they would have him seen to in the morning.
It was impossible to believe, when the call came through on Wednesday, that Mitchell was gone. Unable to reach anyone on Tuesday, Kylie had no way to know. But there it was. Mitch was found on Wednesday morning, but he was already gone. And to make matters worse, no one could tell Kylie and Carl what had happened. The only thing they knew for certain was that their hearts were shattered. Mitchell had left behind a village of family and friends who had never imagined for one second, what life would be like without him.
Now begins the long journey to say goodbye. When the autopsy to determine Mitch's cause of death is complete, he'll begin the trip home. He'll make his way back to where his Mum, Dad, and younger brother wait impatiently. As friends, we have started this page on their behalf, knowing that the financial cost of having lost their son is yet another crippling blow to a family who have suffered enough. We ask each of our friends to help, in any way they can, knowing that every little bit can help ease some of the burden over the coming month. Financially, the hardest days are ahead, with Mitchell's journey home, and his farewell scheduled for next week. Each and every aspect costs so much, and seems designed to inflict further pain.
Just eight days before his passing, Mitchell contemplated the value of communication and love in a post he shared on Facebook: "If I was dying and had 5 minutes more to live, what would you tell me?"
We would tell you, Mitch, that five minutes doesn't seem like enough. To tell you that we love you. To tell you that through every crazy thing you've ever done, we never stopped believing in you for a second. To tell you that there won't be a day you won't enter our thoughts, and that there never has been a day when you didn't. And we'd tell you that though five minutes doesn't seem like much, we'd give anything just to have it. Because going without it is pain personified.
How terrible it is, to love something death can touch. To feel so tender and lose so much. To see your love take wings and fly. Without ever the chance for real goodbye. But in you son, my faith was true. My heart, my soul, belong to you. No one can give answers. They don't seem to know; why you can't be here. Why you had to go. But I'll cherish every second we had. The fights, the laughter too. And know you spent your days, unequivocally you. And as you take leave from this place, I watch you soar in all your grace. I ask you just to leave your heart, for you've had mine, right from the start.