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November 2, 1950 – June 22, 2010

     I lost a good friend today, my friends.

     He was a man I cared about and joked with and shared some serious times with as well. We played year-round softball together, sometimes as friendly foes, and would often rib each other with post-game phone messages.

“Were those your regular glasses you were wearing when you dropped that ball today?”; “Did you know you missed touching first base on that double?”; “I heard you were using an illegal bat on that game-winning hit?”

     To be clear, lest you think we were both great sluggers and agile fielders, Paul’s on-field talents ranked him far beyond my humble skill set.

     The being-on-the-same-playing-field thing may not seem very significant to those who don’t indulge in team sports, and especially senior team sports where camaraderie is special, but it means simply that we clicked, Paul and I. For some odd reason, we took comfort in one another’s smiles, shared stories, cheer-leading, and back pats. 

     “Odd reason” because Paul was a retired Baltimore County Police Officer, and all we had in common in that regard was that I once taught a few years of college law enforcement classes in crisis intervention. Other than that, I’ve always believed in living a law-abiding life and in generally keeping a respectful distance from the worlds of lawyers, cops, and retired cops.

     I didn’t know “Paul the lawman,” but I know others who did . . . and a couple who worked with him. A man of principle and determination are traits most agree he evidenced with every task he tackled. Paul took his contributions to and from life with intensity. He worked hard and played hard. 

     He was a truly exceptional athlete, but Paul was never healthy. In all of our friendship, and by all accounts from those who knew him better and longer –and most certainly from his loving and devoted wife Linda, his sister Rose, brother-in-law Joe, his children and step-children, and his lifelong best friend Fred– Paul was clearly in a permanent day-to-day state of  physical pain.

     It sometimes got hard to watch him living with ice packs and heat pads, forever trooping from one doctor to another.

     At least that suffering has ended, but it doesn’t make his loss any easier. I guess I should have seen it coming. Probably many of his friends and family feel that way. Blindsided.

     We get blindsided with sudden losses all through life and then, with time to heal and God’s help, we somehow raise ourselves and spirits back up from the ground we’ve been knocked to, and reconnect with all the hidden joys of living — the babies and puppies and flowers and trees and hugs and smiles and sunshine and great meals with great company and the sense of accomplishment that elevates our efforts to reap rewards.

     Paul knew all this. He’d been through it with others — good and bad, easy and hard. He rarely let it show. He kept most of it so much inside and some small bits for all to see worn on every sleeve.

     One important exchange of quiet resolve that all who cared about him may want to know as fact: Paul believed deeply in God. He told me so. He told me in a time and place that made me know he meant it.    

     We are blindsided by Paul’s loss, but comforted by his belief, and by knowing that once and for all, he is finally pain-free and at peace.

     I’ll miss you, good buddy, as I know others will. But Kathy and I have gained by your passage through our lives. You made a difference to us, and I thank you for being the kind of friend who was always there when a friend was needed.

     God Bless you, Paul. God Bless Linda and Rose and the rest of your family. You will not be forgotten.                                                                      _____________________________________________ or 302.933.0116 or Hal@BusinessWorks.US  
Thanks for visiting. Go for your goals! God Bless:  You, America, and Our Troops. “The price of freedom is eternal vigilance!” [Thomas Jefferson]  Make today a GREAT Day!

5 comments so far

5 Comments to “BLINDSIDED”

  1. Ed Wulkanon 22 Jun 2010 at 9:15 pm

    Thanks Hal for your eloquence. Nicely said, as always. Paul will be missed even by those who didn’t know him so well, yet, liked him a lot.

  2. Sky Bradyon 22 Jun 2010 at 10:04 pm

    Death is such a helpless feeling for those left behind..Could we have been there??? Could we have said something??? Unfortunately,NO..Death is God’s way of bringing us home…HE knows when it’s time..This being said we mourn to no end..I too played ball with Paul and had the pleasure of being his friend..I will miss him dearly and my wife and I will keep Linda and all of Paul’s family and friends in our prayers in this trying time……

  3. Ron Shoupon 22 Jun 2010 at 11:19 pm


    I can not put into words how I felt about Paul and yourself.

    I have lost a good friend and fellow team mate . Paul will be surely missed by all of us.

    God Bless you and your family. Our prayers are with you.

    Barbara and Ron

  4. Dave Crenshawon 23 Jun 2010 at 2:41 am

    Jimmy, Butch, and now Paul. God is putting together a great softball team in Heaven. We who shared the playing field with them will always remember the gentle goodness and great skill these three friends showed us so often. As we deal with our latest loss, let us resolve to behave more like these finest of men and let their light shine on through us.

  5. […] Bless You All Jimmy, Butch, Ernst and Paul, and especially missed in our lives and our Christmas household: our cherished dogs, […]

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