This is the thirteenth year we are celebrating Paul’s birthday without him. He would have been forty years old today.
So as I’ve done in past years, I’m sharing some of my memories of him. It’s amazing how clearly these things continue to stay in my mind and continue to beget even more memories of our boy, Paul.
Happy Birthday, Paul, always with love.
· I’ll always remember he slept without closing his eyes all the way
· I’ll always remember he walked fast and way ahead of us
· I’ll always remember he had long, thick, black eyelashes surrounding clear-blue eyes
· I’ll always remember he played the piano, legs crossed at the knees, leaning
way down over the keyboard
· I’ll always remember he liked to wear second-hand clothes and didn’t mind
if they were ripped
· I’ll always remember the way he stood at the pantry door munching almonds
· I’ll always remember he liked to climb – trees, rocks, up the highest diving boards
· I’ll always remember he was meticulous about his things
· I’ll always remember he could play almost any tune by ear
· And that he was always a loner
· And how much he loved Janet
· And wasn’t hugged enough after she left him
· I’ll always remember he was sensitive
· I’ll always remember he drove too fast and erratically
· I’ll always remember he got lots of parking tickets
· I’ll always remember he was in love with John Lennon
· I’ll always remember he liked Doc Martin shoes
· I’ll always remember he tapped his foot when he sat down
· I’ll always remember seeing him on the stone stoop drinking coffee at Starbucks
· I won’t ever forget the feel of his cool pale skin the last night I saw him
· Or the sound of his voice
· I’ll always remember his hair was thick
· I can’t forget he knew all the nursery rhymes by the time he was two
· I’ll always remember that he and his brother called the back of the station wagon,
“the really back”
· I’ll always remember he loved to fish.*
Putting a Face on Suicide also remembered Paul today. I am so glad I connected with this powerful project this year and that I can promote its mission in even a small way.
The PAFOS Mission: Every 40 seconds somewhere around the world someone dies by suicide, that’s 99 people every 66 minutes. Every day, that’s almost 100 people in the United States alone, and over 2160 worldwide. Putting a Face on Suicide (PAFOS) is a suicide awareness project that creates posters and videos to pay tribute to those we have lost to suicide with dignity and respect. PAFOS humanizes the daunting statistics; lovingly replacing numbers with faces.
PAFOS, is an ongoing project soliciting pictures of your loved ones who died by suicide. Its objective is to collect 99 photos of people who have died by suicide for each day of the year; i.e., 36135 faces will represent 365 days of loss by suicide in the United States.
* This list appears in my memoir Leaving the Hall Light On: A Mother's Memoir of Living with Her Son's Bipolar Disorder and Surviving His Suicide.