Yesterday I received an email from a good friend. Possibly the most difficult email they have ever had to write. A goodbye email. He explained that he has cancer. Untreatable cancer. And not long to live. Not wanting a fuss, he had simply emailed us all to let us know and asked that we didn't bombard him with replies. My blog is my place to share, to vent and to be me. So, this is my response. You have said goodbye to us, so we want to say goodbye too.
Paul, this is for you.
As a friend of both my parents, you have pretty much been there all my life. You gave us a place to stay when they split up and, although it wasn't the relationship you hoped for, you were a very important person in my mother's life. I have never known two people flirt so outrageously and not get together. You deserve an 'I tried my best' medal for this!
When you think about someone and more and more memories keep flooding into your mind, you know they are important. When they are all good memories, you realise they are an exceptional person. You chauffeured me to my wedding and my husband and I home again afterwards. We have giggled many times over my husband throwing up at the altar. Not long after, we bought our first house in the same town as you and somehow you became our on-call handyman. You were there for me and I saw you as an adopted father, in fact, I once announced to my Dad that you were "the father I never had"! That took some explaining, I can tell you. One day maybe I will learn to think before I speak. Maybe.
You taught me how to use a drill and we built walls and wardrobes together. The amount of hours you put in to that house were definitely worth more than a curry and some beers. We should also have returned your sander. Sorry! In fact, I think we definitely owed you a few more beers for looking after the cats whenever we went on holiday. I hope you know how much we appreciated your help. You definitely went above and beyond.
When the boy was born, you were one of the first people to come round and see him, using the occasion to introduce us to surprisingly delicious sparkling red wine. In fact, I think the last time we saw you was at the boy's christening party at my Mum's house in Oxford. We were so impressed that you drove such a long way just to spend the day with us.
It has just dawned on me that perhaps you moved from North Yorkshire to Norfolk purely to get away from the various duties we imposed on you. We were gutted when you went. Not least because we had lost our handyman! We also missed nights out for curry with you. I like to think my family has provided you with much joke fodder! Your speech at my Dad's most recent wedding certainly went down well. There aren't many people who can claim to have been at a wedding which had children from three previous marriages and the future one as bridesmaids!
You believed in me when so many people didn't. You also believed in my marriage, which even more people were sceptical about. I like to think that ten years down the line, we have proven to most people that we were right in getting married even though we were young.
Your fabulous sense of humour and amazingly infectious laugh will stay with me forever and I will always hold a very special place in my heart for you. We love you so much and really want you to know that.
Goodbye, my friend.