Monday, 25 June 2012

Mike's speech

When Bernard called us to give us the details of the funeral he asked Mike if he would be willing to say a few words. Mike of course agreed and the following is the speech he is making today.

Paula was one of those rare people who instantly made an impression and not only with those people she met in person. There are hundreds of blog readers across the globe who quickly came to love Paula and the tales she told of her life with Bernard, Buddy, crafting and Myeloma. We heard tales of lost keys, she hadn’t told Bernard yet, of mysterious knocks to wing mirrors, she hadn’t told Bernard yet and further purchases of yarn, did Bernard EVER know just how much she had stashed away? Then of course, there was the “Spot the Auntie Ann” competition, so even though we’d never seen her, we soon all knew what the Saints crazy lady looked like. As Paula often pointed out, Auntie Ann was nuts about them.
Lorna and I came to meet Paula through the unfortunate link of myeloma or rather she found us and was the very first person to comment on our very first blog entry on the very same day it was posted. There then followed a friendship of comments on blogs and emails. We travelled up from Wolverhampton with Toni our Jack Russell to meet Paula and the 2Bs as they became fondly known, (sorry Bernard).

Paula was there when I was going through my SCT on the end of a facebook message or email when Lorna needed support. Making light of the stress made it all so much easier to bear. Thanks to Paula I will never think of the word green in quite the same way again.

Last June Paula and Bernard did us the honour of being the witnesses at our wedding. In order to do so, Paula had to escape the hospital where she was having IV antibiotics for a nasty infection. She duly arrived with a bag of knitting which got left in the car. Paula’s natural talent for making new friends was borne out by a comment made by one of our Australian friends Lynne, who along with Dave her husband, had travelled over for the wedding and spent a mere six hours in Paula’s company.

We met Paula once almost a year ago to the day and were immediately impressed by her thoughtfulness and insight and her amazing sense of humour. B. wasn't half bad either.

Another blog friend from New Jersey, Denise, shared Paula’s sharp wit on many an occasion and between them they would often make me blush, although Lorna didn’t seem to be affected in the same way. Denise asked me to say the following:

Really, I just can't seem to find the words to describe how awesome Paula was and I saw that through a computer screen. I'm sure she was absolutely mind-boggling in person.

Maybe Paula’s greatest legacy though, will be the legions of Myeloma Buddies that she knitted and sent across the globe. From Ann-Arbour in Michigan down to Bogota in Columbia, across from North Carolina on the east coast of the US to California on the west, in Italy, Germany and even across to New Zealand, Paula’s buddies, blankets and special hand-made gifts mean that she will always be remembered.

The following comment was made by Phil Brabbs, an ex-American football player who was diagnosed with myeloma in his late 20s.

The Myeloma community has lost a bright soul. She used knitting to spread love to my family and many others. Still to this day my kids only know of Multiple Myeloma in the context of the “Myeloma Buddies” that they cherish and sleep with every night. When Ruby was born we got a special, special package from the UK. Paula had knitted a beautiful baby blanket for Ruby, the one she clutches to every night to comfort her when we leave the room for her to go to bed.

Paula’s generosity and sense of humour was something someone newly diagnosed with MM thrived on. She is going to be dearly missed, but never forgotten by our family. Our kids will one day know her, as they have known the gifts she has given them.

Paula – you will always be loved and thought of by the Brabbs family. Thanks for sharing yourself with us. We will continue to dominate on your behalf.


  1. What an honour to be able to share such a great tribute.

  2. I'm sure it was so very difficult to express all that Paula meant to so many, and especially you the two of you! Mike did an excellent job, and I hope you don't mind that re-posted a portion of it, along with a collage of Myeloma Buddies on our blog today: She will forever be remembered, and forever be missed.

  3. Perfect. Absolutely perfect. Wish I could have been there. love to you both ...

  4. Gill Kilgallon25 June 2012 at 20:17

    Thanks Mike for a wonderful tribute to Paula today. I thought the service went extremely well and the beautiful seagrass Eco-friendly coffin was so Paula. It was beautiful. I am looking forward to seeing the special climbing rose which you planted in Paula's garden today. Much love Gill xx

  5. The rose will take about 3yrs to fully bloom, and then each of the hundreds of roses will represent all the family and friends that Paula,s love touched x

  6. Thank you for sharing thoughts about the funeral for those of us who were not able to attend. The tribute is beautiful.

  7. micky's eulogy could not have been more beautiful, nor fitting for paula and her family. it was lovely of him to include things said by so many of paula's admirers as well. and lorna, the climbing rose - so meaningful! it's a comforting and beautiful way to represent the bonds that paula formed with people who cared so much for her. thank you so much. XO, karen

  8. Thank you SO much for including me in this speech. I am deeply, deeply touched to have been a part of this day in a small way. Paula has certainly left her mark on so many of us. I feel downright robbed to have never gotten the chance to meet her in person.

  9. As Denise said, I also feel downright robbed and today I was thinking about how much I miss her wit and reportage of her 'adventures,' and I just wanted to say so... I actually read the eulogy within days of the funeral, but for some reason could not say more than I had on my own blog. Mike, you nailed it... and I am glad to have the emotional energy now to tell you so.