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from Christine and Matt Lawton

15th July, 2010 - this is quite a milestone; five years since that awful day when we lost our lovely and very special Paul. As it happens it is also the fifth anniversary of the London Bombing on 7th July. I remember so clearly when the bombing took place and our niece Michelle was working in London at the time. It was such a relief when we knew that she was safe. The relief was short-lived though as a week later a day of horror really and truly struck us and Paul’s young life was snatched away in another horrible incident.

This time last year we were preparing to leave for Canada as Dr. Strausz was seriously ill. Sadly he passed away on 9th August. Fortunately we were able to spend time with him before he went and able to do one last job for him; the closing of the office. Whilst we were there we met the new addition to the Coccetto family. Louise and Dave now have a long awaited lovely son - Ciaran - a brother for Rian. Fortunately, time allowed us to be present for his Baptism; such a joyful event for us, happening at such a sad time.. In the “your stories” link on Paul’s website there is a an incredible story entitled ‘Friends for Ever” which Louise wrote. After all that happened to Louise, we are indeed truly blest to still have her in our lives. Louise suffered gravely with dire, permanent consequences. Thankfully she is now well and blissfully happy with her husband and two beautiful children. There is and always will be a very special and unique bond with Louise and Paul and with us and the whole McLaughlin family.

In February of this year, we went to Windsor and attended the presentation of Paul’s scholarship. The McLaughlins normally attend this on our behalf but were in Florida in February of this year. We therefore decided to go and were so happy to be there. The recipient was a lovely and extremely talented young girl by the name of Courtney. Courtney is in her final year at St. Clair College. The scholarship was awarded to her because of her dedication and hard work enabling her to take part in a talent competition which she won and will be traveling to Australia to take part in a musical theatre production. The money will help her with all the extra expenses to attend workshops, classes, auditions, sheet music and so many other extra expenses Well Done Courtney we wish you every success. We also met the recipient of last year’s scholarship who told us that without the scholarship, she could not have afforded to do the course. This is a wonderful a legacy that St. Clair College initiated and how rewarding to all who made it possible for it to continue perpetually.

An amazing thing happened immediately after the Scholarship Presentation. We switched on the mobile phone and there was a text message from Sandy, a medium friend. Sandy had no idea that we were in Canada or else she would never have sent a text from England to Canada which would be so expensive. We only hear from Sandy when she has something to tell us. However, in that text, she asked about some kind of ‘acclamation’ that Paul had just received and he was very humbled but very happy. When we got back to England we got in touch with Sandy to tell her of the Scholarship presentation that had happened that same day.

Sandy then told us that Paul was very happy about a wedding coming later this year. She asked if it was Sapna. When I told her that it was not Sapna Sandy then asked if the bride to be was very pretty and petite with long curly dark hair. I told her she was and that she was a really close friend of Paul and of Sapna and her name is Denise Cousineau.. The image that Sandy had, was confusing her. I told this to Cous and to Sapna some time later and Cous told me that the two of them were together somewhere and were asked if they were sisters so it is understandable that Sandy did get confused.

Our very best wishes do go to Cous and to John for their forthcoming wedding. All of their previous disappointments and their consequent perseverance have resulted in a miracle. Cous is pregnant and a new arrival is expected in 2011. We are simply overjoyed.

I simply cannot leave this there; I have to tell you about a lovely yet funny dream that I had just last night. We live next to a very lovely park here in England and in the dream I was taking a walk in the park. To my delight Paul was sitting there on a bench and he was still alive, Standing next to him was a huge pram (the kind that we have in England) Paul was strumming his guitar and gently singing a lovely lullaby but I have no idea what it was. I went up to him and looked into the pram and there was a beautiful baby lying there listening and smiling. I sat down and listened to this lullaby and waited for him to finish singing. I asked about the baby and he said he was minding it for Cous because she had been feeling tired. John was working and so Paul offered to take the baby for a walk to let Cous have a nap. He then looked at his watch and told me that he had to go because Cous would now be awake and it was time to feed the baby. I asked if the baby was a girl or a boy. He told me he didn’t know but he would tell Cous to phone me and let me know. He put the guitar on top of the pram, gave me a huge hug and kiss, told me he loved me and said “ I must rush now Mum because the fish and chip shop closes at 2 pm and I want to take fish and chips back for us and off he walked, pushing the pram. Dreams have a tendency to fade so I immediately got up although it was very early in the morning and wrote it here. It was such a lovely dream and yet so funny because it was so typical of Paul - didn’t know if it was a boy or a girl and wanting to get back in time before the fish and chip shop closed. On the other hand, Atypical as I just could not imagine Paul pushing a huge pram through a park with a guitar sitting on top of it. I just love that dream. It is one of many beautiful dreams that I have and in them he is always still alive.

Here in Chester there was a Mass yesterday Sunday 11th July in Paul’s memory. This was to enable those who cannot attend on Thursday due to various work and school commitments. Afterwards in true Paul-style we went for breakfast and later went to Beverley and Gerard’s for dinner and watched the final of the World Cup. Paul wouldhave definitely approved of the way we spent the day. There will be another family Mass on Thursday 15th.here at St. Werburghs in Chester at 12.15 pm and there will also be a Mass at St. Augustine’ s in Vancouver on Thursday 15th at 7pm.

In closing I will leave you with a few little verses that I have written for our lovely son.

Five long years and so many tears
A brave face to show no trace
Of the sadness in our hearts

So many if only’s pass through our minds
And we know they can't change a thing
But it would be so good - if only you could
Pick up your guitar and sing.

And if you could - we just know you would
And you'd write to us in song
I Love you Mum - I Love you Dad
But please - try not to be sad

And you'd tell us all that you’re happy
And that life up there is just great
And you'd tell your wonderful family of friends
That the music just never ends

You'd tell them you’re watching over them all
And you’re proud of all they've achieved
New jobs, new homes, new family additions
And how you feel so relieved

That they've overcome the great sadness
That they suffered when you left
You know how much everyone suffered
When you left them so greatly bereft

And how thrilled you are with “Great Stuff”
And the message that it sends
And you really cannot thank them enough
Those great musicians and friends

But you're with them as they gather
Round that beautiful bench and tree
And how it means so much to you
That they're able to say c'est la vie

The bench and tree are a lifeline
And he knows that never ends
Because it's lovingly nurtured and tended
By a fantastic family of friends

And as you gather around the tree
My wonderful family of friends
Remember that “ Everton are the greatest”
And “the music goes on and never ends”


To Our Darling son Paul;

The years pass by, months and weeks pass too
But there’s never a day that passes by that we don’t think of you

Thank you Lord for the gift of our wonderful son; for the years he was alive and the lovely memories he has left behind. Thank you for our lovely family and for Paul’s family of friends, for our friends and for Sandy on whom you have bestowed that wonderful gift which enables us to know that Paul is with us all in spirit.

Mum and Dad

Christine and Matt.
15th July 2010

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