Wed 23 Feb, 2005 07:58 am
This is the place I thought this thread would belong. Paul spent so much of his time here sharing his wit and wisdom, so I felt it was a good place to share some of my memories of Paul with the group of people he loved and cared about so deeply.
First of all, I want to thank everyone for their sympathies, Paul-quotes, poems and writing, anecdotes about Paul, and so on. I can't express how much strength you have provided me, and in turn, my family, including Naomi, my mother and father, Naomi's mother, my wife, and all our aunts and uncles, cousins, friends and other relatives.
The funeral was short and simple. The cantor sang beautifully, the rabbi spoke tenderly, and then Michael, Naomi and I spoke to Paul. I will print my eulogy below. After that, the pallbearers, consisting of friends and cousins (immediate family is not allowed to act as pallbearer) brought the casket to the hearse, and we followed it in a long line up to the cemetery. The further north we went, the more it snowed, large white confetti decorating the trees and sky, which Paul would have surely found beautiful and appropriate.
We arrived at the cemetery and went to the grave. It was set off in a new area of the cemetery. He will be alone for a while, it seems; there are a few other gravestones nearby, but it is largely free of clutter. I think he will enjoy that. My memory of the ceremony is a bit hazy. I remember the rabbi speaking, and then followed the Jewish custom of ensuring a proper burial, in which, beginning with immediate family, all those able shovel some earth into the grave.
After that, the friends and family flank the path, while the mourners pass through, feeling the love and support of those surrounding. We walked back to the car, and then drove back to the house for the shiva.
I'm going to stop now, and write more later. I am going to ask my father to scan some old pictures of Paul which I will post later. Below is the eulogy I read for Paul at the chapel:
Paul, I know you know all the things I'm about to say, but I really want you to hear them from my perspective. I'm going to be a bit selfish today, and simply talk about the influences you had and continue to have on me. I apologise for the length, but it is necessary since you gave me so much. I hope those that didn't have the chance to grow up with you will be able to understand who you were more deeply through my words, so here goes:
Paul, we both know that we have been as different as two brothers can be since we were children. When we lived on Burton Road, I used to come home from school and go directly to the basement where I watched Three's Company re-runs or played video games while snacking on Sugar Crisp cereal. You never ventured down there. You always went directly to your room, closed the door and isolated yourself until dinner. What were you doing in there Paul? We heard strange music emanating from your room, and occasionally strange smells of the incense you burned.
Paul, sometimes I wished that we could spend more time together, and that you could play your music for me, or teach me about the things you studied on your own. And sometimes you did! Once in a great while, I would have the honor of being allowed inside your sanctuary, always on your terms, but always invited for the specific reason that you had something you wanted to share with me. You taught me about Irish music, Jon McLaughlin and the Mahavishnu Orchestra, Emerson, Lake and Palmer, and many others. You were fascinated with Beowulf, Chaucer, Dante, William Blake. You possessed a keen understanding of literature and poetry that I never had.
All through high school, that was our relationship. Things changed when you went off to McGill. Living in Montreal and studying the things you loved opened you up so much. Do you remember when I went to visit you there once? I was only 15, but you insisted that we could still go to a club to see my favorite reggae artist, Yellowman, who of course you introduced me to. And the next night you took me to the Old Dublin, your absolute favorite Irish pub with live music. You always shaped my own interests, and created new passions in me that I never would have otherwise found.
Paul, we overlapped at McGill for one year, your final one and my first one. You were able to create a masterful meal even out of the contents of a poor male freshman's fridge. And the one time you invited me over for dinner, you again introduced me to things I had never tried before - rabbit stew and Caeser salad "the way it should be", which was so strong I nearly passed out. You were so adventurous when it came to your passions. You knew where to go to get the most exotic ingredients (Chinatown), you started a baking business in my dormitory selling cookies, cakes and pies. You used to perform your original music at the Yellow Door, a coffee-house with an open-mike night. You urged me to perform together with you, and sparked my own interest in composing music and performing, though I never had your nuanced talent for sensitive lyrics. You gave me so many memories, but those memories are still living in me. While I still can't appreciate literature or poetry (my brain simply can't wrap itself around non-literal things), I have a strong interest in languages. Our experience busking on the the street corners of Toronto and playing occasional gigs inspired me to keep writing and performing. I still listen to Irish music, I still play Keith Emerson solos on the piano, I have developed a passable skill at guitar-playing, which came to you so easily.
Though still not able to understand the subtleties of the poetry you always loved, I have started to study some of the great Japanese classics. Your curiosity in some of the things I studied once led to you a used bookstore where you bought for me a 1935 edition of a translation of the first novel ever written - The Tale of Genji. This was surely one of the most thoughtful gifts I have ever received. While you never had a chance to read any of the old poems, I think you would have appreciated the opening lines of Hojoki ("An Account of my 10-foot hut"), which express the transience of our existence, something which always interested you. This is something I offer to you, which I know you would love:
Yuku kawa no nagare wa taezushite
shikamo moto no mizu ni arazu
yodomi ni ukabu utakata wa
katsu kie katsu musubite
hisashiku todomaritaru tameshi nashi
yononaka ni aru hito to sumika to
mata kaku no gotoshi
"Though the river's current never ceases, the water passing, moment by moment, is never the same. Where the current pools, bubbles form on the surface, bursting and disappearing as others rise to replace them, none lasting long. So it is with man and all his dwelling places here on earth."
Paul, you enrich my life so much. You are unique, stubborn, caring, talented, creative, passionate and highly curious. You helped shape me into the person that I am. I am a reflection of your soul. Thank you my dear, sweet Paul, for being my big brother, and especially for always being you.
Mezzie, thank you so much for sharing. We are all here any time you need us.
We all miss Paul. He brought so much to this forum. A lot of us never met him personally but found we cared so much more than we knew we could. It does feel funny mourning someone I never met but I do. And I know a lot of others here mourn as well, despite never having met Paul personally. That is the kind of person he was. He was one of those rare people who draws everyone in and makes them feel welcome. He brought a lot to the table and we will all miss him dearly.
Take care of yourself and your family. And remember that we are all here. Please come back and share any time you want.
mezzie, I remember how excited Cav was when I started a bridge thread even though he had no interest. He knew that he could get you to post and he was so proud of your talent.
THank you mezzie for the selfless act of sharing your brother with us . Thank you for taking time out of your life and your grieving to open him up for us to see. We appreciate it .
I hope your healing is gentle and swift.
I hope that you remain a whole person even though you have lost part of you .
Dear mezzie, I know what it is like to lose a brother
a brother that was your best friend. I am so sorry for your loss.
The full impact of what has happened these past few days seems like a blur, but you have already begun the healing process by being able to talk about Paul. I'm glad you want to share your memories of him with all of us
I will be here to listen.
That was beautiful. Thank you so much, Mezzie.
Re: Cav / Paul - my brother and friend
.............While I still can’t appreciate literature or poetry (my brain simply can’t wrap itself around non-literal things)..........
au contraire 'mezzie' - it must be in the genes!
[and if i may leave a few crumbs, for those who will undoubtedly pass this way..........
getting to know the amazing Cavfancier
Edit (Moderator): (updated links)
What wonderful memories you have shared. Such people only come once (maybe twice-) in a lifetime.
I'm sure he would be pleased. Anyone who can have such things said and remembered about them in passing has had a wonderful journey.
He must have prized You as well to have included you so often. Time will help heal you.
YOU have touched my heart with your kind rememberance and affections displayed here.
Thanks everyone. I'll be posting a bit later, but in the meantime, here's some evidence of where Paul got his "great" sense of humor.
Last night my parents found out that Paul's on-line user-name was Cavfancier. When my father went to get some coffee, he noticed there was a choice of regular or decaf. His first instinct was, of course, to ask the next person in line for coffee: "Do you prefer decaf, or are you a Caf-fancier?"
Mezzie, thank you also for sharing your beautiful eulogy. I hope we (as a community and as individuals) can be at least some small source of comfort for you and your family.
Part of what made Cav so wonderful was that he shared so much of his life, including his family -- his grandfather's (your grandfather's) memoirs were in a way my introduction to Cav, and so it is strange that I know enough (or think I do) to see familial traits all the way through. This is part of why we feel the loss so keenly, because he was so real and multi-faceted here.
Thanks so much for sharing your eulogy, Mezzie, it was beautiful.
Thank you, Mezzie.
When you talked to Paul yesterday it was really extraordinary. You and Mike and Buttercup shared so much with him, and with us.
I hope your dad can scan the photo you were carrying yesterday - it's quite marvellous.
The falling snow as we drove north, I'm getting chills as I think of it.
Your thoughts were beautifully put.
Mezzie, Paul apparently sought to cross the bridge from Introvert to Extrovert---and succeeded brilliantly. It's not easy (as an introvert, I know.)
We of A2K adored Paul. I can't think of a single incident where anyone had anything unkind to say about him. That's quite a life achievement even if his life was too short.
How wonderful and appropriate that you are from the City of Brotherly Love.
Thank you for sharing your words.