Saturday, December 20, 2008

Another Pause from Food: In Memory of Paul Hawthorne

I recently broke from food blogging to point you to that wonderful video. Now I've got a much sadder pause to ask you to take.

Over the course of the last six months my cousin-in-law, Paul Hawthorne, one of those rare guys you find who are beyond belief kind, funny, good and creative--he was a photographer, a funny guy, a good husband and a wonderful new father to Max, age 4 and Lucas, age 6 months...he was diagnosed with amyloidosis, a rare disease in which the body makes extra protein that the body cannot handle.

He went straight into aggressive treatment. My cousin Amy started blogging to help us--friends, family, coworkers--get our minds around what treatment meant for Paul, how he was doing, how the fight was going. A more positive outlook would have been hard to find.

Amy is a great creative soul herself, and her writing about this awful fight was funny, touching, poignant and personal. She kept us all hopeful, pulling for Paul, and the comments back to her posts were often funny--funny enough that I guess I checked into her blog, Getting Paul Healthy, nearly every day. We were all upbeat.

Photographer friends have organized a fundraising photography effort, The Photographer Project (I encourage any NYC area photographers to check it out and get involved), which will raise funds for the family--originally to offset costs of medical treatments and having Paul out of work, but now the funds will be for the family without Paul.

This morning, Paul's heart gave out. I don't know any details. Only this. His organs were really affected by the proteins, and a lot of damage had already been done when he was finally diagnosed.

I can do so little to make a difference from so far away. But if I can make some people aware of the disease, if maybe the next time you see a chance to donate to an amyloidosis cause you pull out a dollar or if you'd like to take part in The Photographer Project, you'll show up at Brian's studio, or maybe if you one day get to meet Amy or Max or Lucas Hawthorne and you can say, "I heard what a great person your dad was...," maybe that's just a little bit of what I can do.

In the meantime, please keep Amy, Max and Lucas in your hearts. They'll need that. And it's a lot.

Memorial Sloan Kettering Overview of Amyloidosis
Paul Hawthorne's Cheering Group
Getting Paul Healthy: Read here about Amy and Paul's experience, and check out the wonderful photos. The post about a Paul-i-day Party, a post that left me so hopeful (he was cooking again! What a great sign!) finishes with a photo of him jumping on the red carpet before he was diagnosed--I hope he's jumping like that now, wherever he is.

7 comments:

Bro. Bill said...

Babette,

Thank you for your very kind words. I will miss my Brother and friend. And I am glad to see he has touched so many wonderful people throughout his short life.

Paul's brother, Bill.

Philip said...

Babette,

Thank you for your support during these last few months. It has been encouraging to us all to read the comments posted daily from each and every one who seemingly was experiencing Paul's daily experiences together.
I was with Paul on a Red carpet for the NYC premier of "Trans Siberian". I walked into the photo line first carrying Paul's camera bag before Paul entered the room and the comments started flying from his fellow "Photogs".
After a few moments they started to think something was wrong with the picture, then Paul being Paul jumped into the room and said "hey guys meet my brother.

Please, If anyone reading this has a chance to support "The Photographer Project", it would mean much to all of us who supported Paul these many months.

Paul's twin
Philip

Babette said...

This is a memory from my sister, Pat, who had Paul and Amy to their house this past Memorial Day:

Really nice post…is great they have so many friends and family….but that was the kind of person Paul was…I remember when they were here for our little Memorial Day parade and he called out to an older guy who was walking home alone after the parade – must’ve been in his 80s and wearing his Navy uniform…Paul went right up to him as a fellow Navy vet and must’ve made that guy’s day...forget exactly what he said but made the guy know someone really noticed him that day.

Jaime said...

i'm so sorry for your loss.

Anonymous said...

At Paul's funeral, I asked my cousin Carina if Babette was Barbara Freda -- and she asked Amy -- who said yes. Your 20-hour drive symbolized the caring support that will sustain Amy in future days. And from the horribleness of Paul's death, technology has rekindled some family bonds. One of the best things about Amy's blog is that it enabled us to learn who Paul really was and what their life was like. And another best thing has been to connect to your blog and be able to follow it too! Thank you and happy new year! Rosanne Clementi Saunders (your dad's first cousin.)

juju73 said...

So sorry to hear the sad news! here's hoping that the love of family and friends helps to heal your pain.

Anne said...

Babette,
Thank you so much for the beautiful words of my brother, Paul was loved by many and he will be missed dearly there will always be a hole in my heart but it was so very nice to meet you at the funeral thanks for making the trip.

Pauls sister,
Anne