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by Sapna Dayal

From the moment I met Paul I knew I’d been blessed. His warm smile and open heart welcomed me into his life of love, compassion, spirituality, laughter, music, and of course, Everton Football Club play by play. 

When I think about Paul I remember his joy. He carried it with him wherever he went and shared it with everyone who came into his life. Paul had a way of lifting spirits and calming minds. His positive projection onto others allowed him to see the best in people. In getting to know Paul, I grew to understand that these qualities came from the honesty by which he lived his life. He felt little need to conform and instead poured his energies into the things in life that mattered most to him. 

He pursued his dream of becoming a professional drummer, touring extensively with the Paperboys and the Irish Rovers and playing with countless other aspiring and accomplished musicians. Through his work with the handicap and elderly Paul found meaning in his day-to-day interactions, and in my opinion, found a perfect match for his patient and gentle character. And from his heart he gave to those that he felt that he could help, sponsoring foster children from the time that he had the means to do so, delivering meals and groceries to people in need, and delivering communion to parishioners unable to attend mass at Church. Though he spoke seldom of these compassionate gestures, he carried with him the fulfillment that they offered him.   

But most important to Paul were his family and friends. He had a remarkable ability to make time for the people in his life, making all of us feel uniquely special. I was always amazed how he managed to fit all of us in. He’d claim that it was a simple case of a malfunctioning “off button”. I think we’re all grateful for that. Because it was when Paul arrived that a party would feel complete. He brought people together, and kept us going with his musical compilations, never ending yet very compelling stories, football highlights, and even a pint here and there. 

For me it was the one on one time with Paul that I treasured the most. Never feeling the need to turn that button off, we would stay up all hours of the night beginning with the evening’s pre-recorded episode of Coronation Street and then carrying on, honouring the DJ in Paul, strumming guitars, singing out loud and talking and listening and talking and listening. We’d speak of our challenges and dreams, loves and losses, beliefs and questions, and anything else that was on our minds. There was such comfort that came from being with Paul. He had a way of bringing me back to my truth and ultimately to my joy. 

I am eternally grateful to have been a part of Paul’s life and now to be here together with his incredible family, Matt, Christine and Beverley, who have shared generously in their strength, grief and love over the past three months. We, his friends and family are so fortunate to have known a soul as free as Lolly’s. One that took every opportunity in life to sing, dance and play, to give, to praise, and most of all to love. It’s what he did best.

Not long before Paul’s death he sent me a message that will stay with me forever. In it he said:

“The pinnacle of all goodness is Love. God is Love, Life is Love manifest, Joy is Love. But sorrow is Love too. A mother’s loss, a lover gone, a friend passing on.”

It was messages like this that revealed Paul’s strong connection to his faith and to God. He trusted his place in time. Although Paul is no longer with us physically, the hope and energy that he brought to this world will continue to guide us. 

An article written by Paul was recently published in a book entitled “Meditations on the Holy Eucharist”.  Each time I read the article, I feel as though I am in conversation with Lolly.  Grounding and inspiring all at once. This book had been in the works for a couple of years and was brought to the Parish that Paul attended in Vancouver the day after his funeral. The publisher, who was working towards completing it for this, the year of the Eucharist, explained to the Priest that one of his parishioners had encouraged her to pursue her dream and continue her efforts to publish it. It turned out to be Paul.