Paul’s Death August 31, 2000

Paul was 10 when he survived the accident that took the lives of his younger brother and sister. I cherished his love every day until he too was killed in a highway accident at 19 years of age.
Through high school Paul, now our only child was placed in a class with slower students. For his final year he was determined to rejoin the regular Grade 12 class. Paul and I visited the principal to make the change. We were told he likely would not succeed in the more challenging situation but we insisted that he be given the chance.
Paul not only graduated along with the high school’s top students, he received an achievement award as the student showing the greatest progress that year. It included a bursary of $150. I think I was the proudest mom in that room. We kept the bursary going for the next 12 years.
Paul and I had been apart for the previous two years. A job transfer had moved me to Orillia and he had chosen to remain in Sudbury with his father and his friends and to continue in the same high school. I travelled from Orillia to Sudbury to attend his graduation.
Two weeks before his death Paul had come to visit me in the small truck he had recently bought. We went golfing that weekend. Paul was an awesome golfer. As we drove to the golf course on a wet asphalt road Paul goosed the truck a couple of times to make the rear end swerve. The action told me he liked that teen-aged cowboy stuff a bit too much. I told him not to fool around, to please take care. And I reminded him he was my only child. We had a great week-end.  When he said goodbye on Sunday afternoon to head back to Sudbury, I didn’t know it would be our last time together.
It was August 31st about midnight or 1:00 a.m. A telephone call wakened me. Paul had lost control of his truck and was trapped inside. He was dead. They were waiting for help to come and remove his body. I was alone when I received this news. I remember falling to the floor sobbing and wailing uncontrollably. Only a person who has gone through this experience can understand how this kind of news utterly destroys you.  My sister-in-law called me shortly after. She insisted that I give her the name of someone in Orillia to come and stay with me.  My good friend came and we sat on the front steps until morning. He then drove me to my parents’ house in Sudbury.  I am eternally grateful for this kind act.
Some of Paul’s close friends were severely distraught and remained sadly affected long after his loss.  Many years later friends left mementos at his grave to show they missed him.
When Anne and Adam died, we bought four cemetery plots, two for the children and two for me and my husband. We put a headstone with our names on it. Paul, who was 10, asked, ‘’Where is my name? I want my name there too’’. We explained that he would grow up, get married and make arrangements for his own family later in life. We understood what he was saying; it was like he wasn’t part of our family.
The headstone company returned to add an engraving: ‘’Paul, brother of Anne & Adam’’.  There, now the family was complete.
Who would have ever believed he would be cremated nine years later and placed in the plot with his sister & brother?IMG_0640

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5 Comments

  1. Thanks for sharing Helene. Even though I know your story, I still feel your pain as if it was yesterday. I draw from your strength when my life doesn’t feel so good. You are my inspiration. Keep up the good writing.

  2. I can not believe all you have had to go through. Life can be so cruel and one has to ask why, a wonderful lady like you has had to go through so much, when there are terrible people out there that never have anything happen to them! I will never understand life, or the injustices of it! I do hope that when it is our turn to go, that the ones we love so much and went before us will be waiting at Heavens doors waiting for us with a large smile on their faces. Take comfort in knowing that we care so much for you and are so lucky to know you. lots of love Ursula

  3. As you said in one of your blog posts, how come some have to go through so much? When I read one of your posts, this is what I think about all the time. I hope you know how amazing you are pretty lady!

  4. Helene, Thank you for sharing. I think of you often, especially all the obstacles you have faced and you are still going strong. You have touched so many people, you will never know. You are the strongest person I know. My thoughts are often with you.

    Your friend Marie

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