Our life and death are the same thing. When we realize this fact, we have no fear of death anymore, nor actual difficulty in our life… Shunryu Suzuki
Those of us who knew Cameron were blessed to be with one of those rare beings that magically radiate light and love and laughter. This guy was truly one of a kind. And his parents, well, the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, does it?
Over the course of Cameron’s illness, his extended circle of family and friends was held together through two wonderful websites/blogs (Caring Bridge and Care Pages.) These non-profit sites were created expressly for facilitating communication when people are going through critical illness, treatment and recovery, and they offer a much needed vehicle for staying in touch when individual contact may be overwhelming or impossible.
Also during this time, Cameron’s dad, Henry Allen, founded a non-profit organization called The Brain Candy Project to support the needs of families who are living in the hospital with their children who are recovering from brain cancer and other brain trauma. After sleeping on the hospital floor for the month that Cameron recovered from surgery— and trying to make do with what passes for food in a hospital—Henry took action and Brain Candy was born.
By providing life administration services such as financial management, nanny services, laundry and pet sitting, as well as specialized services and workshops in the arts, meditation, nutrition and cancer research, this group is making a much needed difference in the lives of parents who are traversing the unthinkable.
I learned so much from Cameron and his family over these last two years. Watching this beautiful child be so strong and unwavering in his appreciation for each moment--whether it was a ripe tomato from the garden, sushi from his favorite restaurant, the 1,000 handmade paper cranes hanging from his ceiling or his beloved dogs at his side, his ability to abide—to actually find joy—in the present was a window to the nature of The Buddha.
In Buddhism, as in Yogic philosophy, the understanding of “suffering” is of critical importance, and it is said that our attachment to suffering is what brings us pain and distress. The spiritual practices that are central to Buddhism, Yoga, and other meditative traditions are meant to help us transform that suffering into a connection with The Divine.
It is impossible to imagine how one could detach from the suffering that accompanies the loss of a child, but I hope and pray that Henry and Paula (and all of us who love Cameron) find moments of peace and light in these passing days.
And I thank you Cameron, from the bottom of my heart, for showing us your connection to the Divine and for all that you have brought to our world.