Yesterday, our friend Paul passed away, following his battle with cancer. I say our, but I can’t speak on behalf of everyone who’s life was touched by this wonderful human. I won’t write too much, but I wanted to share two stories, if I may, which are perfect examples of why we all feel this way about him.
When our first son was born, Paul arrived at our house three days later, in his spine-cracking, toot-toot, Toad-of-Toadhole Caterham. He delivered some flowers to Mrs Pause, a four-pack of beers and cigars for me, and a gift for the newborn. Instead of the usual baby-booties, sleepsuit and other paraphernalia provided by the unimaginative, it was a CD. It was a copy of ‘Back in Black’ by AC/DC. Upon staring at my quizzical and sleepless face, he said “Personally, Ben? I think it’s really important that he can answer the “what was your first album?” question with a really fucking solid response….don’t you?”
The second is more poignant and pertinent to today. When he married his beautiful wife Julia, in Chipperfield on a wonderful August Saturday, rather than the traditional fanfare, they exited the church to the anthemic ‘Do You Realize?’ by The Flaming Lips, and we friends in the pews exchanged knowing smiles, nods and shared in their joy. However, Wayne Coyne’s words strike the chord I wish I could:
“Do you realize that you have the most beautiful face?
Do you realize we’re floating in space?
Do you realize that happiness makes you cry?
Do you realize that everyone you know, some day, will die?
But instead of saying all of your goodbyes…..
Let them know you realize that life is fast,
Its hard to let a good thing last,
You realize the sun doesn’t go down….
Its just an illusion caused by the World spinning round”
When my brother and I saw him only a few weeks ago, he did exactly that. He held us, told us not to be silly, stop crying and get on with living our lives. And he thanked us for being in his, while we cried on his shoulder. He made us realise.
Paul, I hope you’re smiling on us, shaking your head slowly, raising one of those enigmatic eyebrows, and telling us we’re being daft sods for grieving for you. And more importantly, I hope you’re now directing the great gig in the sky.
For Julia, George and Archie. x