A Life Well Lived

I have just returned from Rohode Island and the funeral of my older brother Paul. This was a difficult week, but Paul’s long siege with Parkinson’s disease and more recently, Lewy Body Dementia, made the quality of his life nearly unmanageable. His death was not unexpected, yet when death comes, it is still a shock.

The picture below is from his long and thought-provoking obituary in The Providence Journal. It is grainy, but still shows the irrepressible positive attitude my brother brought to his life and to those he touched. The poem below is the one I read at his funeral on Monday. His children and grandchildren also spoke of Paul in loving terms that touched us all. 

My Tribute to Paul, Gentle Giant

by middle sister, ellen sue

Paul was so much more than my older brother;
he was also my knight in shining armor & my friend.
Born only 20 months before me,
on Paul I could always depend.

As teens we hung out together:
building puzzles, double dating & just having fun.
And wonderfully, he married my best friend Carol.
Now she & I became sisters and friends, all in one!

Bali (his childhood nickname) was a terrific teacher,
attending college and grad school @ M.I.T.
And when I had trouble with Freshman Calc.
He taught me to understand it, from A to Z.

Paul’s research and students kept him busy & happy,
always studying, teaching & learning along the way.
He worked with Dr. Francis Crick in Eng. & at the Salk Inst. in CA.
before Brown University brought him to Providence to stay.

A wonderful dad, life with Carol was full, with 3 loving children
& 3 grandkids—Jakob, Andrew & Cameron—to keep him young.
We’ll miss his kind, brown eyes and his sweet & gentle ways,
for the music of his life has now been sung.

Let’s keep mem’ries of this “gentle giant” in our hearts,
and celebrate his life as the mourning period starts.

P.S. Before his death, we had planned a trip to California to visit family, some of whom we saw at the funeral. I will be away from Feb. 15th until the end of February. Because of this sad interruption, I may repost some recipes. I do have a couple of postings already in the works that I hope to post-date for when I am away. Your comments are always welcome, but I may not respond until I return. 

5 thoughts on “A Life Well Lived

  1. Very touching poem that captured your love and relationship with your brother.
    Deep sympathy,

  2. It’s tough, tough, tough losing a brother and good friend. Been there – 8 years now. And miss him in so many ways. My best thoughts to you, and sincerest sympathies, EllenSue. And thanks for sharing your poem. Lots of hugs, Lois

  3. Beautiful tribute to a wonderful man.
    So happy that I had the pleasure of meeting him.
    I know that he will be dearly missed by countless folks.
    Hoping you will find peace in the many wonderful memories you created together.

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