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Paxton with his mother.

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How you doing? You hanging in there? You doing okay? Do I dare tell the truth? The answer is a resounding no. I’m not okay, I will never be okay in terms of my heart and soul being crushed. The pain, the confusion, the loss, the anger, the onslaught of sadness that hits you numerous times a day without warning. This is my new life after joining the way to large of ranks of parents who’s children have passed from drug abuse. My story is typical of the countless others, nothing new or special to add to the tragedy we are facing as a nation. However my son was special to our family. He was not another statistic. He was a loving son, loving Father to his newly born son, a loving sibling, and a loving friend. He will be missed by many for a lifetime. The past years of drug abuse of course put a strain on our relationship. How could it not. The addiction does not play favorites and destroys more than just the addict. It destroys entire families if allowed. Our family took our share of bumps and bruises along the way of course. However with guidance from my son’s Mother we learned to hate the addiction not the addict. Sounds cliché I know. It truly is not. I learned to make boundaries and sometimes kept them. We always told our son we would help him anyway we could when he needed it, we would not help the addiction to thrive and take control. We prayed, we cried, we wished the courts would put him in jail. Think about that last sentence. We actually wanted our beloved child to be put in jail. That is how bad we wanted him clean. Anything to keep the drugs away from him. Nothing we did could stop the beast that was within. Haunting him, taunting him, making him someone he wasn’t. He is not a faceless addict to our family. He is the little guy I taught to ride a bike, went to the video store with, played catch, discussed his dreams, held when scared, and praised when he did good. Our society wants to keep the addict a faceless person a drag on society. Nothing could be further from the truth.

He was a great athlete who never really seemed to care if he won, he just wanted to compete and have fun. That pretty much sums him up in a nutshell. He just wanted the experience of life he didn’t need to be better then you or beat someone to feel good about himself. He was always happy and supportive of others success. He was the peoples champion in my book. He was always searching for peace and happiness.

Since both my children have been little I made it a point to always leave them with I love you. I recall one time my son was teased at a practice by his teammates for telling his Dad he loved him. He looked at them and simply said I love my Dad why would I not tell him. We kept this going throughout his entire life. Even in times of turmoil we would always tell each other we loved each other. The last words I said to him were I love you too. I hope that is true. I like to think it is. If not, then he knew how much I loved him.

My son is Paxton! Not some faceless junkie that you can scoff at, minimize his life, throw away in the trash, look down upon. No sir. I won’t allow that to happen. In my families heart he will continue to live and we will not allow the addiction to define him any longer. We will share his memories with others. Share with his son how special and caring his Father was. How proud he was to be a Dad and how he wanted only the best for him.

I think of a line from Phil Collins in the Air tonight. ” The hurt doesn’t show, but the pain still grows. It’s no stranger to you and me” I believe anyone who has suffered a loss of a loved one would confirm that those lyrics ring hauntingly true.

Be at peace my son. We love you and you will never be forgotten.



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