Being a father is never easy. Teaching young children to be strong and positive adults is already difficult enough as is. But can you imagine how stress it can be to know that you’ll outlive your child? That’s the reality for one father who made an important promise to his son, 10-year old Ayden.
Ayden was one of the most active children around…
Ayden is a young child who has always been active. He enjoys sports, hunting, and lived a very active lifestyle. He’s the type of child that would never want to stay indoors when there’s a huge wide world out there to experience. Ayden would have likely grown up to be a frequent camper or hiker if things were different for him.
The news presented a horrible situation that no parent would ever want for their child
When the news came that Ayden had suffered a rare form of Childhood cancer, the news shattered his and his family’s lives. Two tumors were discovered in his body in places that couldn’t easily or safely be removed. The doctor’s told Bill, Ayden’s father, that his son only had 12 months, at most, to live. Which as any parent knows is not nearly enough time.
The hardest part was reconciling the situation for a young mind that hadn’t learned anything like this…
You can imagine the grief and trauma father and son faced. Bill asked his son what was on his mind one day, and Ayden had a heart-wrenching reply. This led to difficult conversations about death and faith and how it’s every person’s job to make the most of the time they’re given. It may not seem fair, but Ayden’s father is committed in making the most of his son’s last months of life.
But Ayden’s father didn’t want his son to give up, so he refused to give up as well
Bill knew that his son was suffering. He knew how scary the situation was and how much support that he would need. So Bill made a promise.
This promise defined their lives over the course of the next few months. They worked to do all the things that Ayden loved and show him new experiences that he’d always been curious about. Anything to make sure that when he last closed his eyes, he could say that his was a fulfilling life.
Every day was cherished and every moment filled with positive memories
These activities range from the sports Ayden enjoyed to games of table hockey in the home. You can see the concentration and focus that Ayden shows at every step as he just lives life to the fullest. But beyond the fun activities is something else that is far more meaningful, especially when you hear Bill narrate during the video.
Bonds between father and son grew as did the support
That is, of course, spending time with his father. Ayden, from the few words he speaks, clearly draws a lot of strength and comfort from his father. His father is his rock and we’re fairly certain that he could only manage what he has with his support. Thanks to Bill, Ayden could do all the things that most boys his age never could.
When Cancer hurts Ayden’s mobility, you can even see Ayden clinging on to his father’s neck as they go down the stairs, just so they can go out and enjoy the day. He’ll also make sure to help his son into his wheelchair so that he’s safe and secure as they explore and adventure.
What came after the final days
“Dad, I gotta quit.”
These four chilling words escaped Ayden’s mouth one day. Dad understood. He had given the fight his all. Since he was a soldier, he knew that this was all he could ask of his son. Ayden went on to live for 7 months and 7 days after and dad made those days the very best he could. He lived up to his promise to be by his son the whole way.
This story has a clear sad ending. But the important thing is to remember that Bill made sure that he could smile every day. Even through the hard times, his love for his son kept him pushing and fighting for as long as he could.
If there’s nothing else that you can take away from Ayden’s story then…
Ayden’s condition and passing leaves a hole in Bill’s heart and it will always feel like his family is missing something vital. But, the final months of his son’s life will give him memories that will inspire him to live his best, just like he taught his son to do.
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