This is for Paul

Sunset for Paul WilkensThis is for Paul

On this street tonight we are all lying in our beds wishing everything were normal.  “How can this be?” we ask.  For we are missing one of the sturdiest among us.  Paul.

Our good neighbor of seven years, a family man, a partner for a lovely woman, the father of two children and two stepchildren, a fireman, a former serviceman with the Corps of Royal Engineers, a long distance cyclist, a rugby player, a coach for children’s sports, a dog lover and trainer, a believer in chickens and fresh eggs, the man who checked the street’s septic tanks, the man who sponsored my family for British citizenship just this year.

A man with a quick wit, an optimistic man, a man who was willing to help.

Paul encouraged my family through the two and a half year process of permanent residency certification and UK citizenship.  Towards the end of the long slog of paperwork, Paul asked how it was going.  I answered, “We still have to swear to the Queen.”  He smiled.  “That’s easy.  Here we do that all the time.”

He was a practical man, who saw the situation and made a decision:

One day I had walked to Newcroft Primary to collect my children after school and it started raining.  Paul offered us a ride home.  We got in the car and my last child walked up.  The car was full.  Without a change of his impervious, cheery expression, Paul called out to him,  “What do you want first?  The good news or the bad news?”  My son looked uncertain.  Paul answered, “The good news is, you get an umbrella.  The bad news is, you’re walking.”

A man who was larger than life.

You must be up there, Paul, controlling the celestial fires in the boldest, reddest, most incredible fire engine imaginable.  Let your booming voice ring out across the heavens and send a little of its strength down to those of us left behind.

Rest in peace, Paul.

13 thoughts on “This is for Paul

  1. On this street we are are lying in our beds tonight wishing everything were normal….And when we realize its not we see the beauty of life of which Paul loved so much…RIP my lovely you will never know how many hearts you have touched and imprints you have made on others a true legacy…love to all who you loved.

    Beautiful words about a wonderful man he would feel honoured at this tribute. xx

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  2. Lovely words Laura.
    In today’s society our close is an anomaly. We know all of our neighbours, we watch out for each other and are lucky to call them friends. Paul (and Melanie) epitomised everything you want in a neighbour.
    Feeling heartbroken to have lost such an integral character.
    Sometimes life really isn’t fair.
    Love and best wishes to his wonderful family x

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    • Thank you for your words, Tracey. Our close is a rare thing, and we neighbors are indeed lucky to have one another. The loss of Paul is deeply felt by all.

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