I’ve been reblogging some of Paul’s brother’s posts lately. Partly because they have stories or photos of him that I hadn’t heard or seen before. And I want to have them here so I can read them easily. Some I haven’t even read. I’m not ready to.
It’s been hitting me the last few days that the memorial sort of opened a wound that had started to heal. I was sort of getting used to the fact that he wasn’t here any longer. Or I thought I was anyway.
I haven’t had the desire to work in the garden because it reminds me of him. He helped me plant this or that, or we had many, many, discussions about what this flower’s name was, what it was doing and why. He helped me prune that tree, and he helped me bury one of my cats under the other one.
It’s hard to even look at the garden without memories of him. One of the vines was driving him crazy because it was dormant and was just bare stems. I wish he’d worked on it. I can’t do it now, it was his project.
He had the idea of planting the cactus (which I’d thrown into the ivy) up on the bank between retaining walls. He carved out a level spot out of the granite so we could put planter boxes there. Had I known how bad his back was and how much pain this was causing him I never would have let him do it. But he was game for anything when it had to do with gardening. As first I’d introduce him to my friends as my “gardening buddy.” But later it was “My good friend Paul who helps me with my gardening.” The cactus is doing very well by the way.
I love the Christmas season. I really do. The lights, the glitter and glitz! But as you can see by some of my previous posts, I lost my best friend a few weeks ago. The grief hits when I don’t expect it. I’m doing my usual things and then, surprise! I’m in tears. And they keep coming. And then I’m okay, and then it hits me again.
He was my neighbor and I find myself looking up at his apartment whenever I walk outside, expecting to see him. Whenever I see the plants he helped me plant I think of him. Whenever I see the vine we were watching, wondering if it would make it through the winter, I think of him. The plant is still surviving. Unfortunately he didn’t.
His memorial is January 2nd, I’m looking forward to it and dreading it at the same time. I look forward to meeting the members of his family that I’ve only heard about. It makes me sad that he never got to meet his only granddaughter.
I look forward to hearing about things he did before I met him. I’ve already heard some of it from him. His time with the Moonies when he was selling tea and was the best salesman. I believe it, he was quite charming and loved people. He loved the atmosphere of family since his childhood was not a pleasant one.
He spent some time on a commune and he enjoyed that. He liked the vegetarian food. And he loved the children. And once again there was the sense of family.
I’d heard about his time in rehab for his drinking. He liked living there, and doing the work that was required of him. He didn’t really want to leave. He liked the guys that were there. And the sense of family again. He didn’t have any problem with not drinking then, but as soon as he left he started. He would have liked to stay there, and work there. I wish he could have.
I heard about the twenty years he worked as a gardener for a retirement community. Of course he made friends with the residents.
When he was recuperating from from surgery in a nursing facility he made friends with all the nurses. He knew them all by name and they didn’t want him to leave. He also made friends with an old man who never had any visitors and never talked to anyone. He said he was surprised at how much they had in common. I told him I’d take him back to visit him sometime, but I never did. I regret that.
So I have to prepare myself for the memorial. I’d like to write something to be read, I really would like to, but I’m not sure what to say. Maybe I’ll extract something from the posts I’ve written.
So I’ll celebrate his life with his family and friends. And just be thankful for the years we did have together. And for the fact that we considered ourselves best friends. And as far as I’m concerned, we always will be.
I miss you Paul, and I know I will never have another friend like you.