Live Like Paul

They say (whoever "they" may be) that everything happening in our lives is in divine order. In other words, each choice we make, each event that takes place, every occurrence, etc., brings us to where we should be, with some purpose. I'm starting to believe that's true while having the privilege and opportunity of looking back at the unfolding of the last years and months. Although I would never have chosen many of the experiences that I have endured, I can see the good that's evolved from them. My most recently published book, "It's Not Fair!" was released days before my dear son Paul passed away in November 2018. In writing, "It's Not Fair!" I intended to bring solace, inspiration, and hope to all my readers. While accepting and acknowledging that life is not fair many times , we don’t need to go around feeling bitter and angry. Instead, we can most benefit by being grateful for what we do have while turning frustrations into meaningful accomplishments. All of this was fresh in my mind when Paul died and would ultimately serve as a roadmap for me in moving forward in my grief. What do they say about practicing what you preach? Weird, isn't it? Or, maybe not. Why THIS book, THIS time?

Believe me, following my own words wasn't easy, and there are days it still isn't. Losing a child is a lifelong commitment to staying the path.

Paul was so excited about that upcoming book because he was planning to give 50 books to his friends' children at Christmas, as he did for all my other books. He was to arrive in California on what would be the day after he died with a list of all the names I would sign in each book while he was here for Thanksgiving. He would then put them in the extra empty suitcase to go back to Atlanta. None of that ever happened.

Instead, at his funeral, I asked for a list of all the children from his friends, and I made sure I sent those books out just as Paul wanted. It's not fair he couldn't give those books himself. It's not fair that someone so healthy, so kind, so generous, so happy should die. He went for his annual checkup days before and was offered a flu shot. He had only one shot in his lifetime, but because he was traveling to California, he would accept it. He became ill that night and never recovered.

The second of my four sons was gone, and I would never be the same. I've always been very close to all my boys—the typical Italian mom about her sons. The grief was unimaginable, and I knew I needed a project. A project that I hoped would have positive effects on anyone needing them, for whatever reason. I also needed Paul's story told. He had an extremely full life in his 43 years. There's no way I could recount all that he did and experienced, but I tried.

The main idea I wanted readers to be left with is that he lived a life of love and giving; hence, the title "LIVE LIKE PAUL."

Ultimately that mantra would adorn t-shirts, sweatshirts, and bracelets. There would be festivals, concerts, hikes, poker parties, pool parties, etc. in his honor, while those attending would wear the Live Like Paul attire.

My book, "Live Like Paul," also addresses past and current ideologies and circumstances that are contrary to living our best life and how perhaps we can change them. As seen by the legacy Paul left in all his friendships, how he positively affected so many, we can only come away with the realization that it's not the years in our life that matter, but it's the kind of life we lead in those years. And, that life should be filled with giving, love, and acceptance of all those who may not be just like us. There isn't another way to enjoy a fruitful and content life. In "Live like Paul," one will hopefully come to the same conclusion.

"Snuggled up with my three girls at bedtime, I began reading It's Not Fair to them. Our family loves a good story but the significance of this book was so much more than any other story we had read before. The life lesson in the story is easy for children to relate to and so it didn't take long for all of us to open up and talk about fairness and share our experiences. My favorite moment was when I saw how excited my children were to share this book with their friends the next day. The magic of this book is that is has a message that lives in the hears and minds of children and adults long after reading the story."

Dr. Thérése Collins, PsyD Preschool Owner and Mother of Three

"The magic of this book is that is has a message that lives in the hears and minds of children and adults long after reading the story."

Dr. Thérése Collins, PsyD Preschool Owner and Mother of Three