This classic exchange today, on the 11th anniversary of Paul leaving us. So much to talk about this year. Our return to the Hudson Valley, officially graduating from college, Steph and Joe moving into their first house. More babies! Things are going well. As well as they can go without him here. I still have those moments, now over a decade later, where I want to pick up the phone and tell Paul about a Monty Python Moment that occurred, usually during my commute. I've been seriously considering finding a storytelling group somewhere and honing my abilities by spinning a good tale or two. Maybe telling Paul stories at The Moth or somewhere else in the city is something to aspire to. We miss you!
To: Ashley, Amy, David, Alec, Justin, and Angelle,
Paul would have have been 60 today so this is all fresh in my mind at the moment. Three of my six children knew their uncle Paul. Maybe not as well as I knew him, but enough to feel the empty space where he used to be. To my other three: You would have liked him. He was a gentle soul, and had the Goldstein sense of humor, maybe with a little more Monty Python thrown in. For me that empty space nags at me and reminds me that I can't share things with him. So many major and minor events that I feel like telling him about, or knowing how much he would have loved my new family, and the positive effects that would have had on everyone.
I tell you this now because someday some of you will experience this same thing. I hope to god it's a LONG time from now. Like 80 years from now. When it does happen though, those of you still here will think back to this and realize how important you are to each other. Even when you have differences. Even when things don't go quite right. Even if you all end up in six different states. You will always be bound by those family ties. I know you're not all close, all of the time, but consider starting some sort of regular meet up. My family did this when we were kids at the request of my grandparents, and we were all better for it.
I love you all. I may not be around when you understand what I'm talking about, but please consider the importance of family. Absence makes the heart grow fonder, and older it seems. Happy birthday Paul!
Clearly this is an amazing shot. As a family shrinks, it also grows. As the lower limbs of a tree disappear, new ones grow, and become entwined with the branches of other trees.
There are people missing here. Some who had a call to duty, or work. Some who left us after being here for so long. And, one in particular who should be here with a crazy grin on his face marveling at his grandson.
We've grown Paul. We've all continued down that path in your absence, and new people have joined this journey of ours. They all hear about you, and wish they could have met you. I know you would have wanted to meet each and every one of them too. Especially though, your grandson, and grandnephew.
It's been an eventful ten years. I'm thrilled with the accomplishments and revelations. I just wish I could tell you in person.
It's funny what you can be sentimental about. A matchbook, a name-tag, a street-corner, or a plastic straw.
Paul loved drinking things with straws. As he began his ordeal which eventually took him away from us, the straws became more of a necessity. At some point when we were sharing the Jersey City apartment he asked in the dollar store nearby about buying a whole box of straws they had behind the counter. I can't remember what he paid for it, but it was more straws than most people would ever need. The box stayed in NJ when Paul left for good, and remained with me when I moved out.
Tonight I used the last one. Appropriately on a low carb milkshake. It's a strange feeling to be sentimental over such a trivial thing, but I found myself wondering if I should save it. In the end, I decided that Paul would have wanted me to use it on something like this, and not try to save it. I mean, it's just a straw, right?
Take care friends. Save the memories. Not the disposables.
I can't, and won't ever know how big the smile on your face would have been upon seeing your grandson Jordan.
I can't, and won't ever know how proud you would have been to see me finish college (almost now), and smile to see my family grow too.
I can't, and won't ever know how you would have contributed to all of the successes and triumphs this family has seen lately, and how you may have supported us during the minor disasters, and our saddest moments.
I can't and won't ever know how sad you would have been to hear of the loss of the man who shared your birthday, and was a friend to all of us.
This is a house in Norwalk, CT. Although it did not always look like this, my family lived in this house until sometime in 1966 I believe. Mom, Dad, Lee, Paul, and 1 year old me. I was thinking about this house the other day. Our Uncle Win also lived in Norwalk, not far from here. His neighborhood had split-level homes on much larger wooded lots.
A few days ago I was watching an episode of House Hunters with Jill, and a couple was home shopping in Norwalk. One of the houses, a split-level with a wooded lot, looked familiar. It wasn't Uncle Win's house. It WAS a few houses down the street though. I immediately wanted to share this revelation with my family. When things like this happen that's the first instinct. We want to pick up the phone and call the people who appreciate these little moments in life. These "hey look at this" moments. I called Lee. Not that talking to my brother is any sort of disappointment. No, on the contrary. Lee and I have great conversations about all things past, present, and future. The problem is I wanted to tell Mom. I couldn't. I wanted to tell Dad. I couldn't. And, I wanted to tell Paul. I couldn't.
At least once a week, usually more, I see something, or read something that I want to share with them. It's those moments that will never let me forget. And especially now, on the ninth anniversary of losing Paul, I want to know what he would have been doing to prepare for the arrival of his grandchild, and my parents with them seeing great-grandchildren on the way.
We can't keep them forever
We can keep their memories for longer than forever, but...