New Farm Park, Brisbane

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

VALE PAUL

It was with great sadness that we farewelled our dear friend, Paul, yesterday. 

We met Paul and Helen back in 1990, when I started teaching with Helen. At staff dinners Paul and Bill met and we soon became friends. We often spent weekends away at the beach with Helen and Paul. Later we decided it would be fun to go on longer holidays together. We went to many places in Australia including Tasmania, Western Australia, Northern Territory and many more. They were great travelling buddies.( Click on the photos to make them bigger)
Cradle Mt. Tasmania

We belonged to a big group that went on a wine tour every year to different wine regions all over Australia. Helen and Paul also came on many wine tours with us.
Paul wine tasting

When we retired we went further afield and toured overseas together. Paul took us to Scotland, the land of his ancestors. Then we cruised down the canals from Amsterdam to Budapest. After that Bill showed his homeland, Switzerland, to Helen and Paul. We all had a wonderful time away together. In fact it is our favourite trip of all.
Travelling together in Europe

Not long after this we formed our Birthday Bear Group. A few us from school, who had all retired decided to celebrate our birthdays together so that we would keep in touch. Instead of giving presents each time we pass on the Birthday Bear, dressed differently each time to reflect the personality of the recipient.  Paul and Helen were part of this group and Paul really enjoyed getting his Birthday Bear each year. In fact he was the first to receive the bear and he loved it so much that he kept it and Helen had to organise another bear for us to pass around.
Bowling Bear
Reading Bear
Walking the Dog Bear
Crocodile Dundee Fighting Bear
Paul was an inspiration. It didn't matter how much pain he was in, how much the treatment affected him or how tired he felt, he would always make the effort to come to our Birthday Bear dinners. Paul had Mesothelioma an asbestos related cancer.  Life expectancy ranges from 4 to 14 months generally but Paul fought this horrendous illness for nearly six years. He suffered a lot of pain, operations, chemotherapy, radiotherapy and experimental vaccination therapy. But he had some good days as you can see.

He even managed to come away with us on Birthday Bear trips too.


Unfortunately, over the last year, the aggressive disease invaded more parts of his body especially his bones. We saw him deteriorate more each month but he still tried to be cheery until the last few months when his quality of life was very poor. He finally said, "I'm ready to go." It is so heartbreaking to see this lovely man, who was such a gentleman, be dealt such a blow.

We attended his funeral yesterday. There were many, many friends and relatives present including his sister, his sons, grandchildren and great grandchildren.
Friends and relatives packed the chapel and spilled outside.
Paul's favourite Fishing Bear was there to see him off.
Bear and many others were wearing the blue ADSS ribbon of the Asbestosis Disease Support Society, a volunteer society that supported Paul and Helen throughout his illness. We encourage you to donate to this group if you ever have the chance. 


After the service we were invited for refreshments at Paul's Bowling Club. It was nice to remember all the good times we had with Paul. There was a video celebrating his life and showing what a great family man he was.
Sharing stories
Paul's sister, Joan and wife Helen put on brave faces.
My BFF (My best friend forever)
My dear friend, Helen has endured the last six years with amazing strength. It has been so hard for her and she has more hard times ahead. I hope I can help ease her pain by just being there for her. 

Love you Helen.
Vale Paul. 

44 comments:

  1. Paul was a true gentleman. Please convey my sincere condolences
    to Helen.
    R.I.P Paul.

    Colin

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    1. Thank you Colin, I will pass on your condolences.

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  2. Love that first shot - what a great location. Asbestos has caused so much pain.

    Stewart M - Melbourne

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    1. yes it is scary to think there are many more people who could still suffer from it because that were in contact with it years ago. My Bill could be one of them.

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  3. Lovely summary of a life well lived. Give my regards to Helen. And you look after YOU too ...

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  4. Oh I choked up reading this post. I've gotten to know Paul through your posts, especially at the Birthday bear celebrations. Strength to Helen and RIP Paul.

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    1. Thanks Jo. Yes it is easy to get to know people through blogging.

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  5. Oh that's sad Diane.
    Lovely photos and good to see Cradle Mountain.
    A great friend of yours and Bill's gone to heaven. RIP Paul.

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    1. Thanks Margaret. We loved our trip together there.

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  6. These are so sad news ! To loose a good friend is terrible. I get always angry when I read how much is spent to discover the moon or if we could live on Mars, instead of spending more money in cancer research, that somebody finally finds a medication to heal it !

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    1. Thanks Ingrid. Yes I agree with you.

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  7. Great post mum! I'm so sorry you lost your good friend! Xxx lots of love to Helen and all your close friends.

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    1. Thank you Sonya. Will pass on your message. Take care of yourself too.

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  8. Hello Diane, it is sad news to hear that Paul has pass on. I enjoyed all the wonderful travle photos and the Birthday Bear parties for Paul. My prayers to Helen and the family. RIP Paul!

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    1. Thank you. WE will miss him at party time.

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  9. Always sad to lose a friend like that. Love all your photos and this is a great tribute to Paul.
    Cancer is horrible and there seems to be so much of it around but probably fewer now asbestos related ones. Thanks goodness they have stopped using it.
    Take care t'other Diane

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    1. Thank you, Diane. We will miss him.

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  10. this is one of the most perfect tributes to someone i have ever seen. i feel like i knew him. i loved all the bears and he and i shared the same likes. all his bears would fit me to.. Crocodile Dundee movies have been watched many many times,.. i teared up when i saw the last bear with the blue ribbon. just perfect for his last bear... sorry for your loss and his family and all your bear club friends

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  11. So sorry Diane. I can tell Paul was a wonderful friend for many years. Your group is going to feel a little incomplete for quite a while .I think he would have been so chuffed with your tribute here, couldn't be more heartfelt and true.

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  12. So hard. So very hard. I'm so very sorry. You have written a beautiful tribute to your friend. What a special person and how brave he was! I know you will be a huge help to Helen.

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    1. Thank you, Sallie.He sure was a special person.

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  13. A touching tribute to a dear friend. My deepest sympathies go to Helen and their family. X

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  14. Thank you, I will pass on your condolences.

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  15. He sounds like such a wonderful man and your tribute is so very touching and loving. My sincere sympathies to you and to his family. You and your amazing group of long time friends will be such a comfort to Helen as she moves forward.

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  16. Paul had such a great smile and apparently a strong spirit, too. I'm sure he'll be missed. He'd love knowing Fishing Bear was there to send him off. I have two relatives who died of asbestos poisoning - a very cruel disease. Hugs to you Diane as you support Helen through this time of sorrow.

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  17. So very sorry to hear of your loss Diane - your friendship to both Helen and Paul will, I'm sure, have been a great blessing over the years and your caring support to Helen now will be invaluable. We all need such friends in our lives. Bless you..

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  18. I do like your birthday bear tradition, and it is so terrible when we lose someone we care about

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  19. I am so sorry to hear of the passing of your good friend, Diane. Heart-felt sympathy to you and Bill and to Paul's family, of course. He must have been an amazing friend and he certainly was a fine gentleman.

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  20. A beautiful tribute, Diane. xx

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  21. what a lovely tribute Diane. it's a very sad thing when a dear friend passes. RIP

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  22. What a great tribute for such an inspirational strong friend, who left you with some amazing memories. How great you had all these wonderful trips and experiences together.
    Wish his wife and you all lots of strength Take care

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  23. Ah, bit teary. He must have been much loved going by such a huge turnout for his funeral.

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  24. This is so sad Diane to loose such a longtime friend. You made a very beautiful tribute to him with this post.

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  25. Our condolences to Paul's family and all his friends, especially to you and Bill, Diane. We know the sadness of losing a good friend to the ravages of this disease. This was a wonderful tribute in remembering all the shared good times you had with Paul and Helen. These memories are a special treasure and thanks for sharing them.

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  26. I am so very sorry, Diane, for the loss of your friend. Your tribute to him is so moving and I had tears in my eyes when I saw his final Birthday Bear. I know you will treasure all those beautiful memories together forever in remembering your friend Paul.

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  27. So sorry for your loss. Such deep friendship is so precious and your tribute so moving. Hold on to the good memories. It's a hard fact of later life that we must gradually lose those who have been so much part of our lives. I suppose we must adjust to it somehow, but it is especially painful to see people we love ravaged by cancer. I'm sure Helen will value your quiet concern for her. My condolences to you all.

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  28. I was so sorry to hear of Paul's passing, Diane. I know from all your blog pots that he was a very good friend of you and Bill's and that he fought a brave and long fight against his cancer. May he rest in peace and may Helen be comforted by your continued friendship and her happy memories of her wonderful husband.

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  29. I am so sorry for your loss! Paul seemed to enjoy life

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  30. So sad Diane. Such a lovely man and a very brave one too. Sending special thoughts and hugs to Helen.

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