Here are a few of my favorite pictures of him with some of his greatest joys; his great grandkids. And below, are the words I shared at his funeral service, while holding his namesake, Baby Paul.
I'm told that when I was little I didn't recognize Daddad without his camera hanging around his neck and his pocket protector full of pens jabbing me in the face when he hugged me. It's true his passion for photography was rivaled only by his passion for foreign languages, hostas, tomatoes, puns, palindromes, a good math problem, a bad limerick, well okay... he was passionate about a lot of things. But what I really wouldn't recognize him without is his huge smile.
With three kids, I barley have time right now to brush my teeth, let alone have a hobby, or a dozen, like he did. But somehow between his enormous garden, his proficiency in many languages, and running a medical clinic, he was never once too busy to help, or play, or laugh, or comfort one us.
Our 2 year-old son, Isaiah, was so smitten with him after Bubby and Daddad visited us this spring, that he started turning down every song we'd try to sing him at bedtime. Finally, I asked, "Well, what song do you want?" "The BubbyDaddad song!!" he exclaimed. As no such song yet existed, my mom, Lisa, wrote one. (I'm sure she'll sing it for you tonight if you ask nicely.)
I have regrettably not inherited his creativity like she did, nor his impeccable memory, or his green thumb. I wish I had his self-control with sweets and his uncanny pain tolerance. I'm afraid I didn't receive his goofy sense of humor or laid back attitude either. However, he did pass me his hunger for adventure as I watched him white water raft, bike, hike, and ski well into his 70s and 80s. And a good bargain is my Kryptonite just like it was his.
But none of those are the reasons we named our son after him.
Baby Paul, you have some very very big shoes to fill. You would do well to find yourself a fabulous Bubby to keep you organized and out of trouble as you follow in his footsteps to have a beautiful marriage, adoring family, and exceptional career.
Paulie, We are so sad you'll never jump waves with your Daddad in the ocean, climb 14ers with him in Colorado, or read anymore books with him in multiple languages. But mostly we're heartbroken you'll never truly know his kindness. If you inherit anything from him may it be his unparalleled generosity. If we pass on any of his goodness may it be his genuine love for everyone, especially family, and his joy in life.
This week, as I've held Baby Paul a little tighter, I've prayed over him that as he grows up, people might say that he reminds them of another Paul they used to know. Because what greater compliment could any of us ask for?