After running some errands and grabbing a bite for dinner with Lee, I was poised to sit down and tackle some personal project work and check off an item on my ever growing to-do list. I checked my phone and saw I had a missed call from several hours earlier. Familiar area code but not someone in my contacts list.
I checked the message. It was from a high school friend of mine named Bethany. Two grade levels behind me, I graduated with her brother Paul. Through the background noise and what I then came to realize was her voice burdened by angst, the message was about my classmate. Her brother, at the age of forty, had suddenly and unexpectedly passed away.
Bethany’s call was out of courtesy. She didn’t want me to find out through Facebook. She wanted to tell me herself. Mind you, I haven’t seen either of them in over twenty years and, ironically, if not for Facebook, we’d most likely not have kept in touch at all. Yet through her pain and through her tears, she felt compelled to reach out to those with whom she knew her brother stayed in touch. A selfless act at a time when it’s completely allowed and understandable to be selfish.
My night was done. I was done. There was no getting anything productive done this evening.
At the news of his passing, I was instantly transported to the days when Paul and I would run six miles together for cross country practice, and he’d have me cracking up the whole way. Paul was larger than life, with a shit-eating grin and a natural wit and sense of humor most stand-up comedians would kill for. I can’t look back at the fun and great moments in high school without thinking of him. I’d usually get in trouble when we hung out, but it was always so much fun getting into trouble with Paul. He was one of the good guys. He was second to none. He was magnificently unique.
…and Paul will be missed terribly.
I ask you all keep Paul’s wife Dana and her two kids in your prayers. I also pray God send His Holy Spirit to the Ehrman family to provide strength and comfort in this time of tragic loss.
Tonight was a heartfelt reminder of how preciously short life truly is, about how we must embrace every moment, and how we must try to live so that we’re giving every moment back to God and His will for us here on Earth.
Rest in Peace, Paul. I know your smile it illuminating Heaven right now.