Five years ago today the world lost one of the most beautiful souls. My dear friend Paul lost his battle with brain cancer. Five years. A lifetime ago. And yet, he is always present. I found a journal from years ago this week, filled with Paul stories. Paul was an incredible story teller. In his honor I would like to post a blog entry I wrote for him three years before he passed.
(Originally posted 11/16/05):
This is Paul. He turned 59 last month. He is dying of a terminal illness called Glioblastoma; cancer of the brain. He was diagnosed in October of last year. He wasn't supposed to live this long.
I spent the morning with him. For someone who has such a limited amount of time left, Paul is wonderful to be around--talking openly about what it feels like to know that you are going to die, joking around when he accidentally tried to unlock his front door with the keys to his sailboat. He said that at night he lies in bed reciting his name and address so that he won't forget.
It's hard for me to talk about Paul. There are no words for how much I love him and how much he has changed my life. He makes me realize how special each and every day should be:
Dear Lauren.....your testimonial, your wonderfully inspiring words to me are such a validation of my career, my passions, my dreams, my life. It has always been about trying to navigate by reading the compass course we all have in our hearts. Even now in new and uncharted waters I seem to have this needle pointing always in the true direction.....follow it and fear diminishes, the seas come alive again and all that happens that we constantly label good or bad is simply the natural unfolding of life's myriad and mysterious events.....everything teaches us.....even cancer.....and the learning continues.....observe, accept, be open-hearted....all the things you already are. love, paul
I am reminded of this quote:
"Some people come into our lives and quickly go. Some people move our souls to dance. They awaken us to new understanding with the passing whisper of their wisdom and make the sky more beautiful to gaze upon. Some people stay in our lives awhile and leave footprints on our hearts and we are never, ever the same." -unknown
Paul, you've given me laughter. Over and over again. Every time I see you, I can't help but smile. Your uncanny wit mixed with your occasional "Yo girl" or "Hey man" does it every time. You wear purple Totes socks with tread on them! Who could resist smiling?
You've given me tears. Especially as of late. I know that I should be strong for you and not let you in on the secret that I cry often, but they are happy tears. Happy because I just love you so much that it hurts, and it is excruciatingly painful to see you hurting. I keep the rose you gave to all of us in the rear window of my car and I take a piece of you with me on every journey.
But you've also given me strength and I know that no matter how tough the road may be, we need to walk forward. There will be no stopping along this road to hitchhike (although at times it is quite tempting). We will all get through this together, and if one of us stumbles, he will be carried.
You always used to say, "A hawk is an eagle among crows." But Paul, you're an eagle among all others. And I love you so hard it hurts. You've come into my life and left your footprints, and I will never, ever be the same.