Thursday, April 15, 2010
Bigger Than Life – In Memory of Paul Sands
He truly was bigger than life and yet today - he is gone. When I knew he had passed, I pulled this photo from my personal album and it made me cry. I remembered how peaceful and happy he was with Jody sitting there on his lap. It was our last night together on this particular vacation and it was one of those photos that unbeknown at the time, became iconic; it was the photo that captured the essence of our time together.
But today, in this early April, Jody was there to be with him as he was preparing to die. She didn't hesitate to interrupt her busy career or all the obligations that come with life as a single mom. She booked her flight and headed south. By the time she arrived, he had lost his senses and wasn't able to hear her carefully crafted words. He died without her being able to hold his hand, tell him to let go, or tell him how much she had truly loved him.
Paul was the only man she’s ever known who hasn’t broken her heart.
I told her if he had known how much you really loved him, he would have tried a lot harder to marry you, or to sleep with you, at a minimum. He had asked and longed for both on more than one occasion.
But she didn’t want to mess up a 26 year friendship with the guy who never broke her heart. And she was right.
In our conversations this morning, Jody asked me if I had the photos from our trip. She said she was looking for one specific photo. She didn't need to describe it, I told her I already had it scanned and on its way to her. They had been friends for over twenty years. They loved each other and this photo represented that love.
When she went on to question the injustice of his early departure from our world, I told her the only thing I could think to say, which was that heaven just got a helluva lot more fun because big Pauley had arrived.
It was four years ago when Paul treated Jody, Janelle and I to a four day trip to Fort Myers. We had been feeling out of sorts; each one with a specific obstacle in our busy lives that was holding us back. Early April in Milwaukee can mess with a woman. We were all depressed and we yearned for sunshine and answers to the great mysteries in our lives. Paul didn't hesitate, he was there for us.
He rented us a convertible.....Chrysler....Sebring, to be exact. We were free to roam about, have our girl time, ask young men to carry our groceries and find our way back to the center of our lives.That’s Jody and I on the night where we spontaneously laughed ourselves back to healthy and happy. “The Bridge is right there”! (Inside joke).
He treated us to limos, yachts, a beach side hotel and nights on the town. He loved baseball, golf, boating, cigars wine and women, not necessarily in that order. If he could have them all at once, he would. He loved moments like these where he got to show off for his friends. We didn’t mind, he was like the biggest, friendliest, most harmless teddy bear we had ever met.
At the end of the night, when we were exhausted, he would sometimes have to wake us up to send us back to our hotel. We couldn’t keep up with his boundless energy and non stop desire to live life to the fullest. Between the three of us girls, we were mothers of nine children. We weren’t used to that kind of life.
We will miss you here on this earth sharky. You touched so many lives. Hundreds of people came to your memorial to tell you what you meant to them and they weren't just casual acquaintances, they were bonafied friends.
Don’t we all wish we could live a life like that? Pauley left a legacy by living large and living well, with a big heart and an even bigger hug to embrace us all.
Darling Paul Sands, truly one of a kind.
My heart is with you Jody #2 as you must let go of this beautiful man. As I said to you earlier.....perhaps in the next life.