I draw a line between my “blog life” and my personal life, but I needed to share this post. I’ve been sitting with this for the last few days, going through, editing, and re-editing and I’ve realized that there’s no way to fully express exactly how I feel right now, or tell you just how amazing a person my godfather was, through my words alone. However, this post is something that I know I need to write and I’ll just have to do the best I can.
Loss. The word itself has such a hollow sound, but at the same time it holds such an intense and emotional charge when you hear or say it.
This weekend I lost someone who was very important to me. My godfather and best friend’s dad, Paul, was freed from his battle with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, more commonly referred to as ALS or Lou Gehrig’s disease. Some of you may recall one of the very first videos I posted on my YouTube channel this summer. During the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge craze, my best friend, Marina, and I completed the challenge and created an informational video for the many people who were not familiar with what exactly ALS is. We created the video to honor Paul and to show our utmost love and support for him. Although it’s no longer a viral fad, and he is no longer with us, I still encourage you and ask with my whole heart that you consider donating to the cause because there is no cure for ALS at this point and for this reason we lost an amazing person.
I was going through pictures on my old computer last week and I realized that this was the last picture of us together, a candid that Ola snapped at a family event last year while I was giving a speech. While flipping through this album of photos, I stopped suddenly on this one and realized, hey there’s Paul smiling in the background, watching over everything and everyone like he always did. It’s crazy to think that this was just a little over a year ago.
Paul inspired me on so many levels. He taught me the impact of kindness, being well-read and informed, and knowing how to listen to others. After spending any amount of time with him I would always walk away with the urge to be the best person I could possibly be and with a reminder to be kind in all aspects of life. Paul encouraged me in anything and everything I ever did. He was a supportive and incredibly loving godfather, husband, father, brother, friend, and high school English teacher. Paul was the type of person who you’d meet and be able to have a solid and intellectual conversation with. He was good at making others laugh and his smile was one of the kindest I’ve ever known. Paul was also one of the strongest people I’ve ever known. He never put himself before others, even after being diagnosed with ALS. He was greatly loved by all who knew him and he will be missed immensely.