This page is dedicated to all of those who knew and loved Paul

In May, 2007 we held two memorial services for Paul.  Here are comments from several of his very close friends.

I want to think that in my life I’m going to be a friend like Paul was to me…”  – Athena

Alec and Jason 1


Alec and Jason 2

Dallas, Dan and Peter

Posts from Paul's friends

Sometimes you have to be apart from the people you love. It just makes you love them more…

miss you baby!

love and miss you babe! Happy Birthday, hope to see you again!

I don’t know how to exist in the world where you don’t… I’m doing it, but at times I catch my breath and cant believe I’m still breathing without you holding my hand. I miss you.

Hoy’t first day of school today… it went really well, babe. but makes me more and more sad that you’re not here to talk to about the experience. I’m just sad that you’re not here to talk to…

hey babe! I moved this week for the first time since our place. Using all our furniture is hard without you hear to share it… To sleep in our bed is hard too… I feel you every day though, and I can’t begin to tell you of the value of how amazing that feeling is. I love you and miss you!

I know that you’re always with me

A year ago, I bawled my eyes out to Amazing Grace on the bagpipes, thinking of you. Today, I probably won’t be inconsolable, but I do miss you just as much as I did then.

Merry Christmas Paul.

Hey Paul- It’s been a year now and it’s still tough to think that you’re gone. I think of you pretty much daily and always try to do little things that honor you. I finally saw Radiohead live and it was as incredible as I thought it would be. I’m close to starting that big scary career job and launching this adult life that people keep talking about. It sounds overrated, but I’ll give it a shot. We miss you down here buddy.

I can’t believe it’s been 2 years that you’ve been gone. It feels like it was just the other day we were trying to figure out how to get you down to Arizona for my birthday bash. I love you Paul and miss you all the time.

Merry Christmas Buddy.

Hi, Paul. I’ve visited this page and in the past and have thought of you often, but for some reason I haven’t been able to bring myself to write anything. It’s been so long since we knew one another, but you are one of those rare people that sticks in peoples’ minds and hearts forever. Although your life was far too short, you lived it to the fullest and touched the lives of everyone around you. I feel honored to have known you and to have called you my friend. Thinking of you and wishing you peace and joy.

i just now heard the news, and I can’t stop crying. Paul, this news is heartbreaking. The death of young people is always tragic, but it’s particularly terrible when someone as good and as kind and as talented and as wonderful as you were passes on. I hope that wherever you are, you are happy and at peace. Much love to you and to your family.

Drove past your house the other day buddy. Thought I’d shoot you a hello! 🙂

just moved home this past month paul. drove past your house bud. thinking of ya.

hey paul, just posted on ellingboe’s wall and his profile shot is a great picture of you and him, it’s awesome to see! hope all is well in that better place you are bud.

PAUL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Caught myself sharing stories about you to a friend of mine from college. Thought i’d drop in, and say hi!

hey paul, just saying hey buddy. hope all is well. we are all missing you down here. how’s the music up there? miss you terribly paul. caught myself on your mind, and thought i would say heeloooo! Peace

Farris. i miss your music dude. Period thinking of you buddy!

Paul, My fellow Paul, my fellow friend. Farris I can not tell you how much you will be missed. I remember back in high school, and that first year back from college, how great of a man you were and ARE. You were always so kind, so honest, so loyal. Paul, You will be missed my friend, I can NOT tell you enough. You brought a smile to my heart and your passion for music is something that I will always remember. I remember hanging in the basement of your place Christmas break freshmen year of college. Paul, you are missed by me, and by countless others. M

I miss it all baby. every bit of our life together, every bit of you…

Dude, I still miss you all the goddamn time.

Just got off the phone with Dallas. We still miss you. But we’re so thankful for the time we had.

Paul, A year now and it’s not getting easier to accept. I’ll have Kid A on repeat all week for you, man.

Never written on here before but I think about you all the time. I miss the ball tag days at Countryside

Messed with the website all day Sunday. Listened to theMark over and over. Geez you guys were really good. Luv ya.

malt, shake, desert of your choice! missing you man.

Hey Paul, I wish we kept in better touch the last few years but I will never forget you. You were so kind, genuine and always had a smile on your face. I’ll remember kicking it with you and the boys in concert choir and playing guitar in your basement. I’ll miss you.

I’m missing you on this sunday morning.

The best thing that one can do for another who passes away is to remember them, so I will, every day. You were my best friend, my roommate, my confidante, my partner in crime. I let you know how much I loved you all the time, and I am so glad that I did… because all of a sudden you were… and then you weren’t…and I will keep on loving you with all my heart. I miss you.

i was thinking about you the other day, miss you buddy

Paul, as a fellow musician on the tufts campus I just want to say that your memory and music will always be with me and the rest of the tufts community. I hate to see you go and miss you always. Jeff

Hey man just thinkin about you. you’re the best

i miss you 🙁

Not a minute goes by that I don’t think of you, Paul. I’m so thankful for the joy you brought to my life. We miss you so, so much.

thinking of you on your birthday, Paul. lots of love to your family — we all miss you.

you were right about ris paul ric… and a lot of music that I’m finally getting around to listening to. and I wonder what you think of the new radiohead. these are the gifts that keep on giving. you’re the best — i miss you

You changed the course of my life and made me a better person. You had a positive, uplifting influence on everyone around you and not a day goes by that I don’t think about you, Paul. I’ll miss you and will always love you.

paul! this seems so surreal, but my new band is playing at hotung today for the tufts battle of the bands, and i’m hoping you’ll be there in spirit and give us the strength to rock the joint. thanks for always being so supportive, brother.

I just found a poster of our 5th grade class. Your smile is the first thing I saw Paul. Ben D, Dan G, Brian S, all the good ol’ boys! I cant say how much we miss you Paul.

just thinkin’ of ya buddy. we miss ya

Tripmynd, The Main Drag & The Minus Scale will be raising money for the Farris/Hoyt care fund. 100% of ticket sales will go to the fund as well as door prizes and raffle sales. Please come out on August 3rd to help these bands pay tribute to Paul and raise money for Katie! All proceeds are going to the Farris-Hoyt care Fund. My band Tripmynd we be going on around 10:30.

my buddy dave called me and told me what happened. i still can’t believe it. i’m rocking themark right now in your honor, such a huge inspiration. rest in peace.

Paul, love you bro! Reality and life are so unfair. Miss you man

From the deepest of our hearts, you will always be in our thoughts and prayers. You will be missed by all of us.

Not a day has passed where I don’t stop thinking of you. I miss you man.

Hey pal! Was thinking bout you the other day! Its a nice fall day in Minnesota. I am going to get out to Boston soon to visit my sister, I only wish I could have come visit sooner.

I didn’t really believe it until I read it in the paper…Such a tragedy that you were taken before you undoubtedly would have unleashed something amazing on this world. Best wishes in the afterlife Paul. Keep on rockin.

just saw a picture of you, paul and made me think of you. in japan right now and it’s beautiful. there are people thinking about your spirit all over the world. peace.

Miss you, Paul. you were the best of us.

Thinking of you, babe, today and every day. “I wanted to be with you alone, and talk about the weather…”

I miss you, Paul. I’m so glad that I knew you… I hope that I can be as kind and as good of friend as you always were.

you are missed paul

I cant believe its already been six months. I miss you man.

Love you, brother

Happy Birthday, I thought about you all day.

Paul, I remember so many great times hanging out with you while you made me laugh hysterically. I always thought you were such a great person and I remember thinking that the world would be better for everyone if they had a friend like you in it. Everyone will miss you so much, I hope you are in a better place and that you know that you made a difference in so many lives.

Happy birthday. I’ve been listening to Manitoba – Paul’s Birthday in memory of all the great times we’ve had.
Happy Birthday, brother.
November 2, 2007 at 11:05pm

man, im out in CO lookin for jobs now in the music industry. (lots of fun). cant stop thinkin how you kept your own music alive and out there. it truly is an inspiration. thank you for everything you gave, and inspired.

oh paul, you are in my heart.

Miss you so much hun…..never 4gettin u ♥

Paul, you were a great man. Wherever you are now, I hope you’re smiling down on us.

Oh my God. I thought this was some sort of joke. I barely knew Paul, but I knew he was a great guy. Always appeared together and talented, fun and inspirational. A good listener. Understanding. He wanted meaningful things. And he would have gotten all of them. I’m sure he had already found most.

Thanks for helping connect me to campus my first year, Paul. I would have been lost without it. I hope Heaven is a gigantic record player…

whenever i hear oasis on the radio, i always think of you and laugh because you were–for some inexplicable reason–a huge fan of theirs. thank you for being fantastic.

i cant believe this has happened to such a great person. i dont know what to say other than life is so fleeting but im glad i got to spend a portion of mine with you. rest in peace x

Hi everyone, Paul’s family is able to read your posts here, so do not feel like your posts are in vain.

I am a cousin of Paul’s, and I am hoping to make sure that your s get to his parents and the rest of his family. Use the PartingWishes webpage if you can, send a note if you can, but if you can’t, keep posting here – it means a lot.

I only met you once but you were so kind and warm and your smile truly lit up the room. I just remember how you looked at Kate and thought how lucky you both were to have found each other. Life is so short and precious but even in the short time we hung out, you seemed to enjoy every minute of it. I am sorry that I never got to know you better.

I love you man. I’ll never forget the times we spent together. I’m sorry I never got to say goodbye. You’ll be in my heart forever.

Paul i am so sorry i didn’t get to see you sooner. I will miss your smile and your warm heart. Love you. Until we meet again. ♥ j

Rest in Peace. Miss you so much

Hi everyone. These are wonderful sentiments and memories to share, but the people who really need to hear them are Paul’s parents and brother. I’m lucky enough to have known the Farrises my whole life, and I think they’d really appreciate it if some of his friends took the time to write them a note sharing how much Paul meant to them. For some reason their address is unlisted in the online White Pages, and I want to respect their privacy, but if any of you Boston (or Minnesota) people would like to send them something, please message me and I’d be happy to pass the address along.

The world is missing a good man today, and I miss him too.

I also always wanted to get a dog exactly like Kitsu and name it Farris. Now I will.

Paul, when we were in 10th grade, you were the only boy I wasn’t scared to invite to a dance because I knew you’d be nice to me and we’d have a good time. I can’t thank you enough for you kindness and friendship, I just wish I could tell you that now. I only hope that you know how many people will miss you always.

From EHS to Tufts you were always a friendly face! The way you reached out to Carl junior year at Edina really touched me and made him feel much more at home here. You will be missed.

Paul, the worst things happen to the best people. i can’t think of a worse thing to happen to a better person. lots of guys are hip, lots of guys are nice — you managed the rare, rare feat of being both. i guess it’s a time like this when a guy can say of another guy, goddamn, did you light up a room when you walked in. no bad times to be had with paul around. i would give anything not to have gone on my stupid vacation so we could have hung out in madison. i’m sure we’d have ended up running down state street yelling “RUGGLES!!!” at three in the morning. anyone who spent any time with you at all knows how lucky they are. if only it could have been more. rest in peace. i’ll miss you. goddamn, people — tell your friends you love them.

Paul, You were always the kind of guy who would give the “shirt off your back” to a friend in need. I’ll always remember sitting in Concert Choir with you making fun of the tenors and the third row basses and being glad we were Back Row Basses together. There are no words to describe how much you will be missed and the number of people who you made smile! You will always be remembered! I miss you. T-

paul, you will always be remembered. i am truly blessed along with everyone else for having met you. you always brought a ray of sunshine to everyone’s day. i don’t think i ever met someone as kind-hearted and overall…amazing as you. we all miss you and i know you are at peace. we love you.

Paul you were the best friend anyone could wish for. I still can’t believe that you’re gone and that we’re not going to hang out again. I’ll always remember the good times that we had together and what a kind and generous person you were. Everyone is going to miss you very very much. Just know that you had many many people that cared about you and that were very sad to see you go so soon.

Hi Paul. Writing to you on facebook seems rediculous, but its all I could think of to do. When you fall out of touch with someone, you always tell yourself its okay because eventually your paths will cross again, and you can catch up later. (Thats what I thought before my brother died too.) Here’s a few things I remember about you: your smile. your eyes. the drawing class we took together at the edina arts center. I envyed how well you could draw. you always wrote great stories, but I don’t remember them anymore. I think we both did a book report on The Indian in the Cupboard. One year for the talent show you sang Help!” by the Beatles, it always makes me think of you. I dont remember who else was on stage, but I remember you. I’m sorry I didn’t get to know the man you became / were becoming.

There’s nothing that can be said to describe how much you’ll be missed. I love you, Paul. You were the best brother and friend anyone could ever ask for.

Paul, I can’t believe that this actually happened, and every time I have to talk about you in the past tense my heart sinks in my chest, so I’m going to keep talking about you in the present. You’re one of the sweetest, most decent people I’ve ever known. I wanted to let you know I’m dedicating my record to you – it’s being mastered Saturday by Jeff – wouldn’t have known him if not for you. It’s been an honor sharing the stage with you over the years and producing your music. This isn’t fucking fair.

Paul, I can’t even begin to tell you how I wish that this was all a nasty dream and that I would be seeing you and Kate next weekend as planned. I at least have the memory of a good evening with you and a fond farewell. No hard feelings, no regrets. You mean so much to so many. I miss you very much.

words can not even describe. You made every person you were around smile.You were one of the smartest and most talented people I knew. I love and miss you so much.

your spirit will live on in the memory of each person who knew you, who you’ve touched, in each story retold… may you rest in eternal peace, paul.

Paul, Nothing about this is even close to fair or right. I can’t even bring myself to think about how something like this could happen to someone who’s been as good to everyone around you as you have. I’m glad we had all those long drives up to middle-of-nowhere NH to get to know each other. I’ll never forget you. Keep up the Rock. Alec

i wish i had known you better. you were a wonderful person. and you will be in my heart and in my prayers.

paul, shit man. this isnt right. i dont even know what to say… im sorry we didnt get to chill more, continue to explore each others minds a bit more, but i do know that youre a beautiful person, and that is something that will stay in all of our hearts and with all the people youve encountered for as long as we are here. i cant really fathom the fact that you wrote what you did to me before you went out last night… your energy has and will continue to make the universe a better place. i hope youre not upset that i am writing to you like this. so much love, my friend, so much love.

Following are some of Paul's friends' words, thoughts and prayers.

May 27, 2007 7:51PM

Hello Mr. Farris,

Please let me start by expressing my deepest sympathy for you and your family. I can’t imagine what you must be going through, really. I knew Paul for only a short time.

I interviewed him for the job he just started two weeks ago, and was amazed in every way with him…I knew before the interview was over that I had to hire him, and furthermore, I wanted him in my unit, and he did start and join my unit. I’ve worked at MetLife Auto & Home for 23 years…I started there when I was 21. I was nothing like him when I was his age. I’ve never interviewed anyone like him. But I don’t have to tell you, he was your son. I have 3 sons of my own, ages 5, 9 and 11. I went home after working with Paul after a few days and told my sons all about him, and how amazing this “new guy” was, and how inspired I was by him, and how lucky they would be to grow up to be like him. He was just perfect – smart, motivated, outgoing, handsome, talented, friendly…everything a 23 year old could possibly be. Yes, I only knew him two weeks, but he really touched me, and I am deeply saddened by this.

I didn’t know how to contact you, since the office was closed for the holiday, so I found Cathy Cella through Google. She gave me your cell phone number, too, but honestly, I could not speak to you right now without breaking down.

I am interested in any arrangements that will be made, and I will, of course notify the proper contacts in the Human Resources Dept to contact you. Again, I am so sorry for your and your family’s loss. If you need to reach me, my work number is. My cell # is, and my work email is. This is my home email, which you can also use. If there is absolutely anything I can do for you, please let me know, anything.


May 27, 2007 7:51PM

Hello Mr. Farris,

Please let me start by expressing my deepest sympathy for you and your family. I can’t imagine what you must be going through, really. I knew Paul for only a short time.

I interviewed him for the job he just started two weeks ago, and was amazed in every way with him…I knew before the interview was over that I had to hire him, and furthermore, I wanted him in my unit, and he did start and join my unit. I’ve worked at MetLife Auto & Home for 23 years…I started there when I was 21. I was nothing like him when I was his age. I’ve never interviewed anyone like him. But I don’t have to tell you, he was your son. I have 3 sons of my own, ages 5, 9 and 11. I went home after working with Paul after a few days and told my sons all about him, and how amazing this “new guy” was, and how inspired I was by him, and how lucky they would be to grow up to be like him. He was just perfect – smart, motivated, outgoing, handsome, talented, friendly…everything a 23 year old could possibly be. Yes, I only knew him two weeks, but he really touched me, and I am deeply saddened by this.

I didn’t know how to contact you, since the office was closed for the holiday, so I found Cathy Cella through Google. She gave me your cell phone number, too, but honestly, I could not speak to you right now without breaking down.

I am interested in any arrangements that will be made, and I will, of course notify the proper contacts in the Human Resources Dept to contact you. Again, I am so sorry for your and your family’s loss. If you need to reach me, my work number is. My cell # is, and my work email is. This is my home email, which you can also use. If there is absolutely anything I can do for you, please let me know, anything.


May 27, 2007

Dear Roberta,

No one could possibly expect you to be up and doing with things like email at an awful time like this, but I just wanted to drop you a quick note to tell you that I’ll be flying home from New York on Friday for Paul’s memorial service this weekend, and I’m really looking forward to giving you a big hug. You, J, and S have been constantly in my thoughts and prayers since Sunday.

I sent your family a longer expression of my sympathy in the mail yesterday, but let me just say this: you raised a wonderful son who had only too recently become a wonderful man. Paul was one of the most genuinely kind people I’ve ever met, and I hope you’re very, very proud of that–Paul accomplished many impressive things, but to me the most outstanding was his unfaltering kindness and compassion towards others. I am proud to have known him.

Mourn how you need to mourn. Heal how you need to heal. I know I speak for my family and all of Paul’s friends when I say our community is here for whatever you need. Lean on us, and please know that Paul lives on in a million happy memories in many grateful hearts.

Much, much love–


Personal Notes for Paul V. Farris from

man, you were one of the few people i knew who kept to your dream in music and even though we hadn’t talked forever, it was a great comfort to know that someone else was in the music scene with me. you were a great friend to all and a fantastic gift to the world. you are GREATLY missed. much love

Added by Anonymous

Paul, You were one of the kindest, most gentle people I had ever met. It was an honor to work with and know you. You always had a kind word and a smile for everyone. My heart goes out to your family. May you find peace in whatever is after…and may your family find peace and hope here in your absence.

Added by Kathleen D

My reaction to your death is a testament to your incredible spirit. I feel as though I have truly lost a friend, although I doubt either of us would consider us anything close to that. I remember you in choir, talent shows, your smile, and the unique sound of your laugh. You are missed.

Added by Anonymous

Paul, you were loved by all who knew you. I will cherish every memory I have of our friendship, especially Dane Cook, handle bar moustaches, and my secret trips to hangout with you and the guys. Love you always, until we meet again.


Added by Janice

I can’t believe you’re gone. I had heard something about a crash up in Somerville but didn’t really think anything of it until they showed a picture of you on the television. I’m in shock. I know we hadn’t hung out in a couple months, and I look back and wish I could amend that. I’ll miss you.Rest in peace.

Added by Shanny

I never met Paul but I was home the night of the accident which took place across the street from my family’s house. My prayers go out to all of Paul’s friends and family. The neighborhood of Highland and Kidder share your grief and pray for Paul’s eternal life. We are so very sorry for your loss.

Added by Diane

Paul was the most amazing person I have ever met. He could make everyone smile and light up a room. He was brilliant and talented. He will never be forgotten.

Added by Randie

i never met paul but i’m friends with some of his friends. i’m so sorry for this loss. it is such a tragic event. my prayers go out to all of you.

Added by Anonymous

Random Thoughts/A Painful Flashback

by Sharon Hundt

Sharon was a friend of Paul’s mom. Sharon passed away in 2013. She had lost a son to cancer several years ago. This is a tough read.


I’m one of those totally modern people who only have a cell phone, but I don’t carry it with me every second of the day. I don’t get that many phone calls and there aren’t that many people I care to speak to, quite frankly. I’m notorious for screening my calls and not answering ones if I don’t recognize the phone number. For so long, the phone only brought me bad news that I sometimes wish I didn’t have one at all.

This morning, I left it in the bedroom while I checked my email, fed the cat and took my meds. When I went back there to watch television and try to take a nap because I get up way too early, I noticed I’d missed a call. It was only a few minutes after 8 a.m., so I was wondering who would call me so early on a Sunday morning. It could have been lots of people from my daughter to various friends who know I am an early bird. I skipped listening to the message and just saw who the missed call was from. It was my friend from Edina, Roberta. It may sound funny, but I always felt a connection to her because she and my father have the same birthday. I’ve known her almost twenty years, when we met at an Edina Newcomer’s playgroup back in the fall of 1988. I was there with Lowell who was three, she had her youngest, Scott, who was maybe 18 months. Our other kids were in school. It was hard enough keeping up with my kids ages to remember those of my friends, so I’m just guessing on ages. We became friends despite not sharing many of the same interests, and even though I moved away, we still stayed in touch. We’d caught up two weekends ago, when she called for my birthday. I knew what her kids were doing, that she was trying to sell her house and move to Madison, Wisconsin. She sounded happy and excited about her life.

I’m glad I didn’t listen to the message, because I probably wouldn’t have called her back. She just asked me to call her, not letting on anything was the matter. I probably would have put it off for a while, maybe not even calling her back today. Instead, I called her right back and heard the tears in her voice. Roberta doesn’t seem like the type who cries over every little thing, like I do, so I knew something was very wrong. My first thought was her 80 something year old mother had died. I knew she would be upset about that, but I could tell this was worse than that. As she said the words, tears came to my eyes because I knew how excruciatingly difficult it was to say those words. Her oldest son Paul was killed in a freak car accident the night before. I had a flashback to July 7, 1999, and the hospital waiting room where I called her to tell her Greg had died during surgery. Paul was riding in a taxi with his girlfriend somewhere in Boston and there was a high speed police chase and they just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. I finally found something about it online, so I know a little more than what she told me. Paul was two years younger than Greg would be, 23. He died on the scene. His girlfriend is in critical condition. The taxi driver, the man who hit them and his passenger are all in the hospital. Her husband Jon is flying out to Boston today, to handle the horrifying details. He always seemed like the kind of man who could handle any kind of situation and I have no reason to doubt he won’t somehow be able to cope with this. His brother and some other family members are meeting him at the airport and will help him get through this. Just like Fred and I got through it, even though we were divorced. We held on to each other for support because the thought of having to do it alone was unbearable.

I can close my eyes and picture Roberta in her family room and know how she feels. The shock, the non-believing and especially the anger. She said she called me because she knew of all her friends, I’m the only one who could completely understand what she is going through. I feel so badly I can’t be there to help her, but I know she’s not alone. She has a lot of friends who will rally round her with love and support. Scott is there too, I’m sure, but she said she was most worried about him. He lost his big brother, just like Lowell did. I hope he handles it better than Lowell, who lost so much when Greg died. In the blink of an eye, their world changed forever. I told Roberta to make sure Scott got counseling, because he needs someone to talk to about this. Lowell refused to go, even though I begged him and nagged his father about it.

Of her two boys, Paul was the steady one. He did well in school, he had friends, didn’t succumb to peer pressure, like playing hockey. Like Greg, he had a strong love of music and was in a band. He was always polite and seemed to fit right in to Edina and its standards, unlike my kids. He knew exactly where he wanted to go to college after they took their college trip and it was no surprise he was accepted for early admittance to Tufts, outside of Boston. Scott on the other hand, was more of a challenge, kind of like Lowell. I remember one day when Roberta called me to tell me overnight, Scott’s hair had become curly. Or that he was taking a break dance class, or that he was the lead growler in a band and later that he left NYU after only a few weeks there to come back to Minnesota. I knew the boys mostly from hearing Roberta talk about them. I doubt I’ve seen them since I left Minnesota almost ten years ago, so I doubt I would even recognize either of them if I saw them. Like most siblings, they were so much alike and yet so different

Roberta would tell me stories when we would talk on the phone about Paul and his band or his girlfriends at Tufts, outside of Boston. Unlike Evelyn, who hated it back east, Paul loved it and after he graduated, he got a job in the Boston area, at an insurance company, like his father. He was still playing music and he had a steady live in girlfriend who he probably would have married one day. He was going to apply to law school in the fall, and have a good life, like his parents. Yes, I knew all about Roberta’s kid’s plans, just like she knew about my children’s lives.

I’ve been to their house countless times, sat at her kitchen table or in the family room as we visited. I remember the summer we would sit and watch the gorgeous guys who were building her deck. Since our kids weren’t the same ages, they didn’t really play together, but they knew each other. Right now, it is like a vacuum even though it’s probably filled with people. Paul is everywhere in the house, yet he is nowhere. People are filling it up, bringing them food and not knowing what to say, because there is nothing you can say. There will be both tears and laughter, as Paul is remembered. When all the people were at my house, people who were mostly friends or coworkers of Fred’s, I escaped to the basement and to Greg’s room. Roberta sat with me there, holding me as I cried. She also sat with me at his memorial service. I want to do the same for her, but I can’t and I feel helpless.

Our phone call was short, because after those devastating words are said there isn’t much else to say. I told her she would survive this, even though there would be many times she wished she wouldn’t. I told her to call me anytime to talk. She said she was hesitant to bother me, to bring up memories, but I told her not to worry about that. I had told her two weeks earlier how I wasn’t able to deal with my friend Nancy and her daughter’s cancer. It’s a totally different situation. In Roberta’s case, she had a part of her world end in a split second. In fact, she said she thought when the doctor phoned them last night at 4 a.m., it was a practical joke, until she called the hospital back. She never saw this coming, whereas I had time to prepare for Greg’s death. And she’s in Minnesota, while her son’s body is in Massachusetts. I can’t imagine how helpless she feels over that.

After we hung up, I called Evelyn. I told her what had happened and she got tears in her voice too. She is in the middle of packing but she said she would try to go over to Roberta’s house today. She will be going in my place and I am grateful that she offered to do that. I told her again about how not too long ago Roberta has sent me a picture she’d found when she was going through things at the Edina School district. It was a picture of Lowell when he was maybe in first grade and on a class field trip, but it took me a minute or so to recognize him. Roberta said she knew it was Lowell immediately, because that’s how she remembers him, as a little boy. She also sent me some pictures of Evelyn and Lowell at her house, when she got her dog. It seems like a thousand years ago. That’s how I will remember Paul, as a shy teenager.

Now Roberta and Jon are faced with telling and retelling everyone about how Paul died. Saying those words never gets easier. Saying my child is dead is the worst obscenity there is. They have to make funeral arrangements for their child, a thing no parent should ever have to do. While Paul’s room is probably not the same as it was when he lived there, they have to face emptying it out. What will make that even more difficult is the fact they’re trying to sell the house. All those memories that will be so much harder to let go of now that there will be no new memories of Paul to make in the new house. I think about how Greg never came to Arizona, was never in this house. How little by little, his room was dismantled by Lowell, Evelyn, Fred and myself. We all wanted a little piece of him for our own sanity. We didn’t want to lose his possessions like he lost his presence. I’m sure they will hold on to certain things that have special memories because it will help them hold on to Paul. As I write this, Spud sits at my side, so I know this to be true.

Evelyn went over to Roberta’s house and while I know this was hard for her, I am proud of her for making the effort. She did it for me, and for herself. We used to drive past their house quite often because it’s on a major street in Edina and the kids would always want me to honk the horn. Not to let them know we were going by, but because years ago, when they had a huge tree cut down in the front of their house, they had someone carve a large gnome into it, and my kids always thought that was hysterical. She said the house was full of people, and she told me Roberta was still in her pajamas when she got there. I found out that Jon was on his way out there, and that Scott looked terrible. There was one girlfriend of Roberta’s who was taking charge, and I was glad of that since I couldn’t do it. She told both Roberta and Scott that if they needed anything, to call. Mostly Evelyn wanted to talk about her experiences and I let her vent. Evelyn said the saddest thing was being in a room again full of crying boys who didn’t know how to express their grief.

I think about the pain Roberta is feeling and I relive it all over again. How the world goes on even though you want it to end, how you want everyone to feel your pain. This happens hundreds of times a minute, because people die all the time, all over the world. Only thankfully, I don’t know all of those people, and I don’t have to feel their pain. I feel Roberta and her family’s pain and know from experience that only time can dull the hurt and it will never go away completely. I can tell her that and lots of other things to try and make her feel better, but she will have to find her own way to cope with her loss, just as everyone else does. Now I know that no matter what, Roberta and I will always be friends because of this tragic shared bond, belonging to the club of mother’s who lost a child, a club that needs no more members.

© 27 May 2007