Written and read by Rhian at Llandaff Cathedral, Cardiff 13 March 2012.
Paul lit up every room he entered
Paul was a true gent, a gentle giant
Paul would do anything for anyone
Paul was one of the nicest blokes you could ever meet
You only had to shake Paul's hand once to know what a lovely bloke he was.
These are just a few of the things people have said to me this week. Burkey, Buey, Rusty, Ginge however you knew Paul I am sure you agree he was one in a million, an incredibly special person.
I met Paul on a blind date in Taunton on 21st May 1999. He was wearing a white Ralph Lauren polo shirt, collar up of course, jeans and his beloved boat shoes. I had no idea back then that my life would never be the same again. At the time Paul was living in London and I was in Taunton. However, distance meant nothing and we spent every spare moment together. Once Paul had completed his degree he moved back to Taunton for us to be together. We eventually moved across the bridge to wonderful Wales, Paul begrudgingly paying the toll fees for the hire van! I was always teasing Paul about his ever increasing Welsh accent and that Brains Bitter was definitely better than his favourite drop of Guinness!
We spent 5 happy years living in our first home in Miskin and it was during this time his career in Sales and Marketing took off. Paul loved his work and he was a true professional. He was determined to succeed and was committed in everyway. He kept applying for new positions saying ‘I wont get this one but I have to give it a go’ and before we knew it we would be celebrating his new job the following day! He respected and admired everyone he worked with. His boss Nick wrote me a letter last week that moved me beyond words and in it was a quote that someone had e-mailed him on hearing of Paul’s passing saying:
“…his beautiful personality and gentle way of engaging with people will stay with me and hopefully I will always use him as a role model in how I communicate with colleagues and customers.”
I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who worked with Paul for supporting him over the years!
It was in 2005 Paul surprised me with a holiday to Dubai. Unbeknown to you, he was a true romantic and did everything in style. It was on this holiday he proposed. About time! 7 years is a long time for any girl to wait! In 2006 Paul and I were married here in Llandaff Cathedral, the happiest day of my life and where I became his wife.
My everlasting memory of that amazing day was when the music for our 1st dance started and the look of horror on Paul’s face. I had persuaded him to dance to a soppy number but decided to surprise him with his beloved, ‘You will never walk alone’. He thought his friends had arranged it for him and I was not going to be impressed.
I was so proud to call Paul my husband. Proud to take his name and proud to walk beside him. He was my rock, my best friend, my hero who despite leaving his underwear on the bathroom floor and the remnants of his beard, after shaving, up the bathroom mirror was my soul mate.
I don’t know how I will live or breath without him but I do know I will never forget him, the feel of his touch or the smell of his skin. I will love you forever Paul.
Paul was a wonderful husband but there are few words to describe him as a Daddy. Our 3 beautiful children adored him and he of course them. They had him wrapped around his little finger. ‘I’ was his ‘mini me’. They look so alike and although this will cause pain at times it will also give me much comfort. His legacy will live on in ‘I’ who can already kick a rugby ball off a T and smack a cricket ball out of the garden. It is his 3rd birthday in 2 days and he will unwrap the cricket bat and stumps his Daddy bought him only four weeks ago. A very good friend said to me this week:
“If ‘I’ can grow into half the person his father was, he will be a great man.”
‘H’, Paul’s little princess, was the apple of his eye. He loved spending time with her, just the two of them, and often he would sit and watch her quietly with a proud smile across his face. He loved his children so much and it was the love he felt for them and his devotion as a father that made him leave us.
Georgio, Gorgeous George, Our Georgie was born on February 14th 2011. Valentine’s Day! 11 days late! He was determined that he would arrive on that day, the day of love!
He was a perfect baby brother for ‘H’ and ‘I’ and was the final piece of our family puzzle. He never cried, just chuckled. He smiled non-stop and slept like a dream. He was simply adored by all who met him. He was our little star! His nursery now sits empty, with his star wallpaper and other star bits and pieces. His star sleeping bag lies open where I left it ready for George to go to bed nearly 3 weeks ago. He had little goofy teeth and pokey out ears and his gingery hair never looked tidy. Perfect! ‘Hiya’ and ‘Ta’ echoed around the house amongst the giggles from his brother and sister. My perfect family!!
However, on February 22nd while playing happily with his toys George fell asleep and was taken by the angels. As we explained to ‘H’ and ‘I’ he was so special and perfect the angels wanted to look after him and his ball of sparkle we all have in our tummy’s has been thrown into the sky to sit amongst the stars! His presents and cards from his 1st birthday, just 1 week earlier, still sit in the playroom.
There is no messy highchair to clean, no bottles to sterilise and no pitter-patter of his hands as he crawled into the room. I will never see my George take his first steps, see him kick a ball with ‘I’, see him in his school uniform or his first rugby kit. I will never hear him say Mummy but we have been blessed. The most wonderful year has passed, full of happy memories that I will never forget. Our family is now 3 but I promise you Paul I will make you proud and a day won’t pass that we wont talk about you and George. I will continue to raise our children in the best way possible and make them people you would be proud to look down on. Someone wrote in a card this week;
“Death leaves a heartache that no one can heal but love leaves a memory that no one can steal.”
My boys are now together and George will once again lie in his Daddy’s arms. We must imagine them playing, laughing and looking down on us. They lay side by side today dressed in their pyjamas, no pain, grief or fear just love. Sleep tight in the stars my angels. Look after each other and remember that I will never forget you.