Sunday, October 24, 2010

In Loving Memory

     As many of you know, my father passed away the morning of October 16.   His passing came as a shock to everyone but I truly believe Dad was ready to meet his Creator. He wanted to spend his last few hours with Mom, George and I so, through the power of God, he maintained what little strength he had until George and I arrived in Virginia.  We stayed up all night holding Dad's hands, sharing our favorite memories, and talking about the lessons we have learned from him.  We watched the sunrise over the water, something my father liked to do every morning from our back porch, and then he went on to a better place.  I am at peace knowing he is free from pain and I am proud of the person I am today because of his influence.

     I began this blog a short while ago partially because of my passion for writing, but its primary purpose, being a creative and emotional outlet for me. George and I felt we should write something for Dad's service and sharing my eulogy is not only helping me heal, but also allowing friends who were unable to attend his funeral a way to experience a small portion of the celebration of Dad's life.

     I also would like to dedicate this entry to the countless friends who have helped me through this difficult time.  I have been touched by the outpouring of love and support I have received in the past week.  I have experienced the power of friendship throughout this process and can not thank my friends and family enough for their selfless actions and words of encouragement. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

Hey Dad, 

       It's Honey Bunny. Right now you are probably in a big hot tub in the sky with a beer in one hand and a guitar in the other. I told you the other day that you didn't have to worry about me because I have such  a great support group that I know will help me through this difficult time. Then I got to thinking. Remember when you tried to teach me how to check the oil level in my car? After wiping the dip stick off with a napkin, I stared at the napkin and said, "Dad, I don't get it. How can you tell my car needs more oil by looking at this napkin?" You shook your head with a concerned yet amused look on your face. After college, I got a flat tire in Raleigh and called you, of course. You advised me to wait for AAA to take the tire off, have them fill it with air, and listen for a leak. I did as you instructed but Jim Bob the mechanic and I could not find where the air was escaping. I took my hair down, and told the mechanic to start spinning the wheel. I knelt down and when my hair started blowing, I knew we had found the leak! I proudly relayed my unconventional discovery to you, and through the phone I  could sense you shaking your head and trying to suppress a smile. So…maybe you do have to worry about me after all.  But
only if I have a car problem.

     Someone told me the other day that you were the type of man that everyone hoped they would be seated next to at a dinner party. I couldn't agree more. Your stories were legendary, your laugh was contagious and you were nothing short of an absolute pleasure to be around. I hope someday my kids have a father as wonderful as George and I had, and that they inherit your talents, your sense of humor, but most importantly, your good looks. I'll keep our traditions alive by making sure to bring them "special water" every night before bed, giving them Eskimo kisses, and howling at the moon whenever it is full.  They will grow up with all the love and support that you showed me and George.
     I remember when I was about six years old, we were in a store, and ran into an old friend of yours. The friend looked at me then looked at you and exclaimed, "Wow Paul, I see so much of you in your daughter." I then proceeded to cry hysterically.  When you asked why I was so upset I said, "Because your friend said they see me in you but, you're…you're bald!"  Who would have thought that some day hearing those words would be the greatest compliment I could receive.

     I miss you so very much and wish more than  anything that I had more time to spend with you but I know Jimi Hendrix was tired of waiting for competition up in Heaven.  Thank you from the bottom of my heart for being the father, the husband, and the best friend that you were.  I love you. 

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

PurpleStride Raleigh-Durham 2010

     As many of you know, my friends, family and I will be participating in the PurpleStride 5K on November 7 to raise awareness and medical funding for pancreatic cancer.

Team Pauli's Girls last year - PurpleStride Atlanta

   Pancreatic cancer is something that I have become all too familiar with as my father has been fighting the disease for over 2 years now. Two years may not seem like a long time, but in the world of pancreatic cancer, a two-year survivor is almost unheard of (less than 6% of patients survive more than 5 years).  In my eyes, my Dad will always be a superhero.  But now, even doctors are astonished at his ability to bounce back from countless surgeries, chemo and radiation treatments. 

Me and Popsicle

    Over the past few months, my family has had to face some rather tough realities in response to the swift and unexpected decline in Dad's health.  I went home last weekend to visit Dad and was, once again, amazed by his resilience and optimism.  I remember him joking that when he decided he could shed a few pounds a few years ago, cancer was not his ideal diet of choice.  When looking through photos from a family vacation, I told Dad how handsome he looked in the traffic cone orange get up he was sporting.  His response, "You think that's handsome, you should see me work a courtroom!"  He is bravely coming to terms with the fact that he can no longer practice law, his career and passion for the past 30 years.  Yet, despite all the tribulations, Dad continues to demonstrate courage, dignity, and perseverance—the very virtues that he has instilled in my brother and me over the past 20+ years.

The Fam

   Now more than ever, I urge you to make a donation to the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network in support of my father and the thousands of others affected by the disease.  Many have already made contributions, and, if you have, I am touched beyond words.  Every dollar makes a difference so please make a contribution and let's kick some Pancre-ass!

Monday, October 4, 2010

Friends Indeed

When I made a last minute college decision to attend Wofford College over Auburn University in 2005, I was relying solely on a gut instinct. My graduating class in high school consisted of 72 students whom I had known since sixth grade so the idea of going to a school with tens of thousands of students thrilled me.  I was ready for the challenge of auditorium style classrooms, football stadiums packed with screaming fans, and hundreds of majors to choose from....or so I thought.

 I reminded myself that although big classrooms meant I could get away with skipping class, it also meant I would have a harder time getting the professor to help me if I had questions (and questions are something I am ALWAYS full of). Secondly, rooting on a football team has never been a top interest of mine (gasp!) so having a dome sized stadium ultimately was not a deciding factor for me.  Lastly, I have enough trouble deciding what shoes to wear in the morning, so, having a myriad of majors to choose from would most likely just stress me out.  A week before the deadline, I enrolled at Wofford.

The next important choice was who I wanted to room with my freshman year and seeing as I was the first person in my high school's history to attend Wofford, I had little interest in playing the name game and trying to scramble and find my dream room mate based on a series of AIM conversations.  I let Residence Life make this decision for me and I am so happy they did or else I might never have met Bethany.  We were instantly friends and got along so well, we lived together ALL 4 YEARS OF COLLEGE!  


Bethany has remained one of my closest friends and knows me better than most people.  She sensed I was having a rough week from a phone conversation we had Wednesday night and before I knew it, she was on my doorstep.  She drove the 3.5 hours from Spartanburg to Raleigh after work on Thursday and surprised me. We had a great time catching up and it was the perfect remedy for the funk I was experiencing.  She had to leave at the crack of dawn the next morning to get back to work which made her visit that much more special.  I am so blessed to call her my friend!


Speaking of friends, I continued my much needed dose of girlfriend time this past weekend when I made the trip to Charleston to visit Mary Loyal and Tippins. Last October ML, Tip, and I celebrated Tippins' engagement in Charleston and had such a great time, we vowed to make it a tradition (if you can call 3 times a tradition). 

As promised, we reunited for a weekend of wining, dining, and wedding planning. Tippins and I  arrived at Mary Loyal's adorable apartment Friday night and settled in before getting ready to go out for the night. 

We went to a quaint wine bar on Market Street called O'Hara and Flynn. We sampled different wines, shared a cheese board, and chatted about our new lives in our respective cities. Saturday, we had a 10 o'clock appointment to get fitted for our bridesmaid dresses for Mary Loyal's wedding.  After that, we shopped on King Street for a while and had a delicious lunch at Sermet's Corner.  We spent the later part of the afternoon laying in bed watching re-runs of The Hills.  We decided to walk to one of my favorite's, Social, for dinner. The weather was gorgeous!

 After a delicious meal, we met Mary Loyal's godparents and close family friends, the Rowe's and the Wofford's, at The Blind Tiger.  They were so much fun and we were very impressed that they were able to join us in celebrating well past midnight! 

The weekend was over before we knew it but most certainly, well worth the drive!

.....MUST HAVE.....

Continuing in the celebration of friendship, I would be remiss not to mention my friend Hanna Nation's stationary line GADABOUT.  Hanna sketches each unique design by hand and adds a personal touch with cleverly placed monograms.  Her vibrant color palates, keen sense of style and eye for design make each masterpiece more intriguing than the next. It is no wonder she has already gained notoriety for her exquisite work. 

It is obvious to see why girls are naturally drawn to these stylish notecards but her site offers choices that will even get your boyfriend inspired to send that long overdue Thank You card.  

Being a friend of Hanna's, it is no surprise that I enjoy singing her praises but I know I am not alone when I say the girl has talent! I look forward to seeing what else Hanna has in store and applaud her for her success thus far.  In a society where traditional values and manners are slowly being replaced with the brevity of a quick email or text, it is nice to see that there are people like Hanna who continue to value the sincerity of a handwritten note.

.....MUST HEAR.....