On the 14th February 2014, my brother Paul passed away suddenly, at 35 years of age. 

It is incredibly difficult to explain how this has made me feel. Paul was not just my only brother, he was my only sibling.I still cannot believe that I will never be able to tell him, face to face, things I have done, or just chat to him. I  wish I had known that we had such a short time left together, as I would have tried to make the most of it, but that’s life (or death), isn’t it?

At his funeral, on the 7th March, our cousin Helen and I read the tributes together. I wrote the following tribute, which I read in front of the congregation at the Sacred Heart Church:

Tribute to Paul

In order to write this tribute, I looked up guidelines on the Internet on how to write a memorial tribute. I was told to “think of memories of your loved one”. Well, my first memory actually was of Paul. I was in my pram and he was pushing me down a hill in Ampthill Park. I’m not really sure how old I was.

I think it is fitting that my earliest memory was of Paul and I mention it here, as he is integral to the memories of many of the people sitting here today. We will all have our own memories of Paul- some of them fun, some of them heart-warming, some of them difficult, some of them outrageous. I will remember my brother Paul as someone kind, colourful, vibrant, sweet but above all, good. Paul was my half- brother but I didn’t see him as such, in the same way he didn’t view me as “just” his half sister. He was my brother or, simply, Paul.

He was someone who could bring a wry smile to your face. I remember visiting him in hospital last October and as I was coming up in the lift, I could hear the strains of Madonna booming out. I should have known- as I stepped out of the lift; I followed the music until I found the culprit- Paul, blaring his music out. He could never do anything quietly, could he?

Paul was a deeply spiritual man who had an interest in different beliefs which gave him strength, including Kabbalah. I remember when my paternal grandma Phyllis died in 2006, he told me that he felt the most important qualities a person could possess were caring and sharing, whatever your religious beliefs.

Paul liked to live life on the edge- on the edge of a river. That river being the Thames. London was a city that was close to his heart and he spent the majority of his adult life there.

We will miss Paul. Those of us who knew him, loved him, got angry with him, will miss him. We’ll miss the brother, the son, the boy who tested his boundaries. We’ll miss the little boy he was, the man he turned out to be and the person he was yet to become. We’ll miss the step-son, the cousin, the grandson, the friend, the partner, the nephew. The person who drove us to frustration but who ultimately loved us.

To paraphrase Irving Berlin, Paul, the song may have ended, but your melody lingers on.

Thank you.



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