A week ago today we said goodbye to Paul in grand style and it's taken me this long to be able to put anything in writing. There were so many emotions associated with the day: joy, nostalgia, respect, appreciation and of course, sadness that it has been difficult to process.
Our dear friend was definitely in charge of the weather because it dawned sunny, clear and much warmer than the usual first-weekend-in- May average. Paul was always cold so it was perfectly fitting. Interment at the beautiful Mount Holyhood cemetery in Brookline was simple and brief. The urn sat atop the gravesite along with the lovely glass rose that symbolized his online friendships with other cystic fibrosis patients. It was difficult walking away.
The memorial mass was given by a Jesuit priest, Father Jim, who couldn't have been a more perfect match. Paul would have loved him and I can just imagine the lengthy and in-depth philosophical conversations what would have occurred between the two of them. Although the two of them never met in life, Father Jim perfectly summed up Paul, no doubt due to the loving descriptions given by Paul's parents and aunt. His mom picked the readings for the mass and although I am probably the furthest thing to a religious scholar, they made perfect sense to me and tied the ceremony together perfectly. It was a beautiful service and a wonderful, loving tribute to a great son, brother, nephew, friend, scholar and teacher.
His family had planned a delicious luncheon reception following the service where everyone could mingle, share stories and process the mass. The food was delicious and a perfect way to cap off the morning's ceremonies.
It was amazing to have a group of 15 cystic patients together in one place celebrating the life of a cherished friend. The photo was taken on the steps of a former dormitory that was adjacent to the reception and chapel. Friends came from far and wide to pay tribute to Paul: several from the west coast, the south, and the northeast. I can't think of another occasion which has gathered such a number of cystics in one place.
The culmination of the day was the Because of a Woman CD release party that night. Held at an Irish bar in Brighton, the setting couldn't have been any more perfect. Dorian Taj made the trip from Chicago to perform and Paul's brothers David and Kevin did an amazing job of bringing to life the songs from the CD. My favorite, of course, was Terminal.
I think Paul would have been quite pleased at his sendoff, though I can hear him blustering about all the cystics spending time together. Somehow, though, I think he would have understood that we needed to do this for us and if anything, that would have made it almost ok in his mind. 'Bye, friend, I'll always miss you but will see you on the other side.