canceer paxten grief

Childhood Cancer and Immeasurable Love

When I tell people that I lost a boy I loved to childhood cancer, questions inevitably follow.

"Your child died of cancer?"

"No, he wasn't my child."

"Oh. Your nephew?"

"No. Not a nephew."

And finally, with a note of incredulity, "Just a friend?" As if that somehow discounts my loss. After all, it's not like Paxten was related to me.

Childhood cancerBut you see, I learned something from loving Paxten: you just can't measure love. It's not like you have little cups in your heart, different sizes for different relations: venti for your own child, grande for nieces and nephews, and tall for everyone else's children. It doesn't work that way. You just love the child. That love gets all mixed in with all the other love in your heart. Loving this one helps you love that one. The love for that one blends with your love for another one.

And you don't want to lose any of them, because by loving them, your heart has expanded. So naturally then, when one of your beloveds slips away, the space that one occupied becomes hollow----bulky in its emptiness.

So yeah. Paxten was just a friend. He was a little preschool-aged friend who settled into my heart and claimed his very own spot, a spot that is still his. Just as it will be forever.

(Paxten passed away on April 6, 2008. He was 3 years and 7 months old.)

March 2008: Baker's Birthday Party, A fundraiser for Paxten's family

About the Author Aileen Lawrimore

Aileen Mitchell Lawrimore is a mother x 3, wife x 28 (years not men), minister, speaker, writer, retreat leader, and lover of beagles and books. She has a lot to say.

Leave a Comment:

Anonymous says April 5, 2013

Beautiful! Thank you for remembering and loving Paxten!

    Aileen Lawrimore says April 5, 2013

    Such a special boy!

Anonymous says April 6, 2013

Love immeasurable. Your gift of loving others so deeply is an amazing blessing!

    Aileen Lawrimore says April 6, 2013

    Aww thanks. Paxten was mighty special. 🙂

Anonymous says April 6, 2013

That was deep and beautiful, Aileen. Thanks for remembering and loving Pax ten.

    Aileen Lawrimore says April 6, 2013

    I always will. Always.

he says April 8, 2013

Reaching for a Kleenex, I am still wiping tears from my eyes. I appreciate this story and how it has at this moment helped me to grieve and remember some old clients of mine.During CNA school some years ago I remember being taught "not to let yourself love your client", and I am so glad I did not follow that rule. I have loved people and they became my friends now have passed on forever changing my life AIleen, you are absolutely right, I feel the spot in my heart that is full of love for them and I smile because I let myself love. Thank you so much for this story.

    Aileen Lawrimore says April 8, 2013

    Oh I'm so glad you found the story helpful. I have never been very good at keeping my distance in relationships! I'm glad that you, as a CNA, love those in your care. No doubt, they get better care because of your devotion. Blessings to you and thanks for reading!

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