A real sense of grief swept over Bessbrook following the sad passing of little Jaxson McAllister on Thursday.
The four-year-old passed away at Daisy Hill Hospital, plunging his heartbroken family – and the wider community and St Joseph’s Primary School – into darkness.
Presiding over his funeral at the Church of the Good Shepherd in Cloughreagh on Sunday, Fr Aidan Dunne told Jaxson’s parents – Kirsty and James – as well as siblings Taylor, Riley and Ava, that there were simply no words he could use to console them.
“Over the last few days I have spoken to parents who have found themselves in a similar situation and asked them if there was anything I could say and they said, ‘no father, not really, there is nothing you can say because of the grief you are going through and you alone experience yourself’.
“Yes, I feel your pain but I cannot feel it exactly as you do,” Fr Dunne added.
“When the life of a child ends prematurely we are inclined to speak as if everything important about that child lay in the future, a future which will now never be but I think this is a mistake.
“While it is true Jaxson’s life had barely started – four and a half years – nevertheless it had started, but still we are tempted to say I’d love to know what the future held for him. That is not what matters today.
“We judge not so much by its duration but by its intensity. Children can pack an awful lot of living into a single day, one moment in the life of a child is like a day in ours.
“For example, if you ever observe children playing on a beach, every object they find is picked up and closely examined – the most extraordinary object is invested with wonder and gets their undivided attention, how dedicate they are to their tasks. No artist was ever as engrossed in their paintings as they are in their explorations.”
Addressing the family, Fr Dunne, added: “As you told me about Jaxson, he idolised his mummy – she was his hero. He loved to help his daddy in the garden. He told everybody that his daddy gave the best bear hugs – he loved bear hugs and kisses.
“Jaxson was a very affectionate child, a very kind-hearted boy. He loved to play fight with his brother Taylor but he also loved to win. He loved to watch Riley play the Xbox and was very keen to learn to play Fornite.
“He cherished playing babysitting with Ava along, with some arguing.
“Custard creams were his favourite biscuits and was always the first thing he asked for when he went to visit his nanny and grandad.
“He loved to play. He was easily pleased in life; the smallest things making him happy, putting a smile on everyone’s face, everywhere he went. He was a very popular little boy, he loved all his friends in nursery, his cousin, brothers and sisters. Spiderman was his favourite superhero.
Fr Dunne mentioned the comments of his parents who said Jaxson had been with them four and half years, a wonderful four and half years, but that “it feels like he has been with us all our lives”.
He added: “There is something beautiful about children, even though they are unfinished – children teach us how to live. Their vision is so fresh and clear – they are always themselves, and that is what make them so charming and unique.
“We don’t know why such tragedies happen, though God permits them, he doesn’t want them to happen. They are not the will of God. Jaxson has gone straight to heaven, he is a saint in heaven. He is helping you today.
“Nothing will ever fill the hole, the space Jaxson has left and you refer to him as your buddy, your pet, your hero.”
Deeply regretted and always remembered by his heartbroken Mummy, Daddy, sister, brothers, Granny, Grandads, Aunts, Uncles, cousins, his many friends in St Joseph’s Nursery and the entire family circle.