Camden Paul was born on July 30, 2010. His family was filled with joy on this momentous occasion! Continuity of Camden’s family into the next generation had become a reality! Upon “meeting” Camden his Grammie’s first thought was how nearly identical he looked to her son Paul Alan (his Dad) when he was born. The same perfectly shaped head, the beautiful, intense dark eyes, rosy complexion, all so similar. Cute did not begin to describe him; he was incredible! Grammie knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that P.A. (his nickname, short for Paul Alan, who is a Jr and his father went by Paul) and his wife Echo would be amazing parents and one glance at their expressions-the sparkle of love, pride, and sheer joy in their eyes- holding their precious newborn son confirmed that heartfelt sentiment. The warmth of completeness and fulfillment surged within Grammie in a way she didn’t think would enfold her again in her life.
Grammie’s husband, her children’s father, she also has a daughter Christine, died tragically in 2006 of pancreatic cancer. Their world was shattered, the center of their family’s universe taken from them in the cruelest of ways. Watching him suffer, weaken and finally give in to the bastard disease broke Grammie’s heart and left her feeling numb, hollow, betrayed and with no strength to mend. The only lights that brightened her dark world in those months after Paul’s death came from her children. Grammie and her children kept him alive in their hearts by sharing their memories, speaking of him often and continuing to spend time as a family doing the things they, and he, had always loved to do. The pain began to ease for them all; gradually they were able to recall with a smile his dumb jokes and re-enact his ridiculous cheers for KU basketball. As time went on Grammie began to sense and see reflections of Paul’s many facets-from the dry, sarcastic sense of humor and sharp edged logic to the soft, loving touch with children and animals- in both of her children; it was comforting to know that through them she would always have the best of him with her.
Camden’s birth opened the door to so many wonderful memories from when Grammie was a new mother and gave her a renewed sense of connection with Paul. Becoming a grandparent reassured her that the legacy Paul left through their children as well as the family values and spirit of togetherness and love they established through the years would continue on into the future. The sense of peaceful fulfillment from recognition and understanding of these bonds and the continuum of love from parent, to child, to grandchild; has been beyond measure for Grammie! Life goes on.