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from Christine and Matt Lawton

As we approach the second anniversary of the death of our precious Paul, we cannot say that we have come any closer to "living with" this unfathomable, horrendous and inconsolable loss. As the days go by the realisation that we will never again see his lovely smile, listen to his stories, embrace him with a huge hug, hear him say "I Love You"  receive a phone call or one of his thoughtfully chosen beautiful cards and most of all  be in his very special presence, becomes more and more real and is still agonisingly raw. The tears are just below the surface and uncontrollable at the mere mention of his name. 
 
The support of friends has been constant and a tremendous comfort to us especially on the darkest days. Paul's own 'family of friends' continue to amaze us with their efforts to keep his memory alive. The roses continue to rain;  the recent production of the CD "Great Stuff" has resulted in raising $1230 from sales on the web and in Canada and £715 (approximately $1600) from sales in England so far. This figure in British Pounds is not a final figure. The CD's that we initially received were all sold very quickly and another supply was sent to us which again were all sold. A further supply which we understand now completes the number of CD's that were cut, has only recently been received. Most of that recent and final supply is sold and we have kept a few aside for future recipients of the Scholarship. We sent cheques for $665 to The Vancouver Hospice Society and $665 to the Vancouver Heart and Stroke Foundation. The sum of £715 has been given to the MacMillan Cancer Care. At the time of writing we have received a certificate and interesting letter from Susan Hurd, Chair of the Board of the Vancouver Hospice Society .and also a certificate from MacMillan Cancer Care. We have not as yet received any acknowledgement from The Heart and Stroke Foundation but no doubt we will and all of the above will be posted to the website. There have been several broadcasts featuring  the CD "Great Stuff" on various Canadian Radio stations. The most recent broadcast on the very popular Vinyl Cafe was brilliant. Stuart McLean spoke so very well of Paul saying that he wished he had known him. So many people have told us over the past two years how they have read about Paul on the website and wish they had known him.

It is not only in music that roses have rained and Paul's memory has been kept alive. A very close friend of ours here in England, Pauline, who is doing an MA Degree in Religious Studies, dedicated her work to him after reading "Brushwork" and getting to know Paul through us. The dedication is extremely moving as she attributes her inspiration to Paul. Other very close friends of over forty years Brenda and Bas and their daughter Diane  have been a tremendous source of comfort and consolation; Diane and her husband Jim have a daughter Georgia who was receiving her First Holy Communion. The teacher who was instructing the children was looking for a fitting closure to the Order of Service. Diane who has known Paul all her life, showed the teacher the article "Brushwork". It was just what the teacher was looking for and an excerpt of it was printed in the Order of Service. After the celebration to which we were invited, the teacher came over to thank us for allowing her to use it. During  conversation it was discovered that her brother Steve and Paul were "best mates" at West Park Grammar School here in England, before he moved to Canada. During recent visits to England Paul had tried to find Steve but had been unsuccessful in locating him. Shortly afterwards Steve phoned us and was stunned to hear of Paul's death. He talked of their school days and offered his help to console us in anyway he could assuring us that if we wanted to talk he would always be there for us.   
 
We continue to receive messages of support and words of comfort from various friends, constantly. Another friend Carol who is actually the sister of our oldest friend Eileen (i.e.  longest - we have been friends for over 45 years) seems to sense when we need encouragement. We seldom see Carol and only really know her through Eileen but on our very darkest days a beautiful card will arrive through the mail from herself and her husband Frank; always one similar to those that Paul used to send to us. There are similar occurrences from a much more recent and younger friend Sheila, who never fails to send messages of comfort, lots of love  and tokens  from herself and David her husband, and their children Beth and Joseph. These tokens are so amazingly appropriate to Paul and once again, always arrive when they are needed most. Paul is definitely at work. One day when I was particularly down, I received a packet from Shakeh (Sapna's mother) inside it was a card and a beautiful  cross which I have put on the same chain as the locket which Paul gave to me for my 50th birthday and which has been worn constantly since the day he gave it to me. I have the cross next to the locket, on the same chain, the two of them together. The remarkable thing is that the cross is very similar to that of Paul's which Matt wears constantly..
 
These are just a few instances of the comfort, encouragement and the prayers. There are many other relatives and friends of ours and friends of Paul who dedicate Masses, send messages of comfort, telephone calls and e-mails. Without all of these we would never have survived these very sad two years which have been so devastating for us. The website in particular has proved to be invaluable as we read and re read memories and look at pictures again and again and again. We can never thank Shawn enough for this.
 
On a happier note we were delighted to hear of the Engagement of Couz and John and we send you our heartfelt congratulations. How happy Paul would be for you both. You can rest assured he will be with you on your Wedding Day. We were also pleased to see The Paperboys whilst they were on tour in England a couple of months ago. We went to the show with  Paul's Aunty and Uncle (Angela and Peter) and his cousin Michelle all of whom Paul was so very fond. Unfortunately we missed two visits whilst we were away one of Donna and one of Anne. We were so sorry to have missed them; it would have been lovely  to see them. We did, however late last year, have a visit from Sapna and her mother Shakeh. We cannot express how much we appreciate having the Dayal  family in our lives. We are so happy for Sapna that she has achieved such a wonderful position with an organisation that does so much for education in the third world. This marvellously rewarding and admirable work is a new focus for her and we feel sure that Paul is holding her hand every step of the way.
 
We will close with a poem that was given to us by our dear friends Pauline and Jean:
   
To my family and friends, some things I'd like to say
But first of all to let you know that I arrived okay
 
That day I had to leave you when my life on earth was through
God picked me up and hugged me and said "I welcome you"
 
Then God gave me a list of things He wished for me to do
And foremost in that list of mine was to watch and care for you
 
But do not be afraid to cry, it does relieve the pain
Remember there would be no flowers unless there was some rain.
 
When you are walking down the street and you've got me in your mind
I am walking in your footsteps, only half a step behind
 
And when you feel that gentle breeze or the wind upon your face
That's me giving you a great big hug or just a soft embrace
 
And when it's time for you to go from that body to be free
Remember you're not going, you're coming home to me.

 
With continued love and deep, sincere appreciation to you all - Christine and Matt. 

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