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.

Friday, 22 June 2012


No matter how hard I have tried this week, I just can't write a proper blog. I tried to do my monthly garden post, but I just kept thinking about Paula and my courgettes and that made me sad. I know I have lots of other readers to amuse, so apologies to the rest of you.

It has been a bad month. The day before we visited Paula my eldest called to say he had slipped on the mud outside his tent and snapped his ankle in 2 places. Then we had the terrible news about Paula followed by another lady last weekend aged 52. Then on Wednesday morning I heard that my eldest daughter had been raped on her way home from work. She had just finished the night shift in a home for the elderly.

So sorry folks, I'll try and resume normal service after the funeral on Monday. Who knows, I might even have some funny tales of B and B to tell.

Sunday, 17 June 2012

Paula's Funeral

We have been asked by Paula's family to pass on details of Paula's funeral. It is taking place on Monday 25th June at 11:00 a.m. at St Helens Crematorium, Rainford Road, Windle, St Helens, WA10 6DF. Anyone wishing to attend is welcome.

Paula requested that she have no flowers and we assume donations to Myeloma UK would have been Paula wish.

Thursday, 14 June 2012

Bag of revels

Life is like a bag of revels, just when you think you've sussed out the toffee you find yourself biting into a creme (or in my case a coconut) one. Yuk! Yes I'm old enough to remember when there was a coconut in there rather than the equally despised coffee. Little did we think when we got married, a year ago today, that we would be two guests down having mis-placed Sharon and now Paula (the rest of you better watch out I reckon).
The tributes to Paula have been done so much better by Sandy and Phil to name just two of her friends from across the pond. Instead I'm going to do a bag of revels, facts about Paula tribute. You'll have to decide yourselves which, if any, are the dreaded coconut.

Paula hated my courgettes with a passion. It was so bad she wouldn't even have them in her house. The poor things travelled all the way there just to be discarded.

Paula liked to listen to her music in the car at very high volume which meant every time B. got in the car after her he would find his eardrums practically bleeding.

Paula's favourite film was Predator closely followed by anything that would give a sane person nightmares and Steven Seagal action movies.

Paula used to go to work in a dress and Dr Martens and her friend Chris who she worked with often had to tell her to keep her giggling down as the senior partners could hear her upstairs.

Paula's favourite group was Metallica (hence B.'s bleeding eardrums) and she loved Alice Cooper, Bowling for Soup, Def Leppard and generally "noisy" music (or should that be noisy "music".)

Paula had always planned to marry a 6' 5" blond builder, but to quote B. himself, she married him instead. Having said that, B. wanted to marry a page 3 girl and got Paula instead, so it was a fair exchange.

Paula had a wicked sense of humour and I mean just plan mean. She would send Chris, who knows nothing of knitting or crochet, to get her wool. Now Paula knew that Chris knew nothing and would send her knowing she would be asked questions such as "DK or baby?" "What gauge needle is it for?" "What's the tension?" Poor Chris would plead with Paula not to send her, but Paula showed her no mercy.

Paula was stubborn. Auntie Anne recalls Paula's mom taking her to get her hair cut and Paula stubbornly refusing to have it done. It was cut in the end, but Paula just sat at the table and screamed for a long time after.

Paula would always order something different from the take away menu. While B. like me stuck to the same thing, Paula would flit from dish to dish like a gastronomic butterfly.

Paula has left a big hole in so many people's lives, but she wouldn't want us to dwell on what we have lost, but what we gained from knowing her.

The beautiful wedding present Paula made for us.
So we will raise a glass to Paula and Sharon tonight as we celebrate our first wedding anniversary. I'm just annoyed I didn't get the crocheted bed spread I was promised.

Friday, 8 June 2012

Update on Paula for those who don't read Sean's or Roo's blogs.

The following was left by Gill, Paula's s-i-l on another myeloma sufferers blog yesterday.

"I'm Paula's sister in law Gill. So so sorry to hear of Sean's passing. I can tell you that Paula was heartbroken when she heard the news. I am sorry to post here but Bernard wanted me to get information to all Paula's wonderful online friends and I am not really sure how to do it. Paula has had the most horrendous few weeks. The last chemo treatment into her spinal fluid caused extremely severe side effects and she has been so poorly. Last night it was decided to stop further treatment and just make Paula as comfortable as possible. I have just come home from hospital with my son Neil and Bernard and wonderful Aunty Ann are still sat with Paula. It was a hard night as Paula has a few episodes of distress and agitation. However, when I left she was peaceful and far more comfortable. Thank you so much for the messages you sent to Paula on the ward. I don't know how you did it far too computer technical for me. I read each one to her and I just know she heard every word. Please feel free to contact me through Paula's blog (I'll have to just go through the comments part) or we can talk on facebook. God bless to you all."

I know that most of you who read our blog will already know the news, but I wanted to make sure that people like Dave and Lynne in OZ, who met Paula at our wedding last year, and Mike C. too, knew what was happening.

When this photo was taken Paula had actually escaped from the hospital for the day, between her 12 hourly IV antibiotics! I hope you will also note the pints belonging to Bernard and Dave!

Mike and I are due to visit her tomorrow (Saturday).