The unnatural loss of human life, especially a child before a parent is just wrong. I am deeply saddened by what happened on Thursday at Seattle Pacific University. First I felt anger, then I felt confusion, and a lot of bitterness. This really hit home. You never think the unknown victim that has died in the hospital will be someone you know, or have even heard of. I’ll be honest, I haven’t talked to Paul in almost two years. When I first heard there was a shooting, I only thought of one of my childhood best friends. I was sick to my stomach and then I received a text from her saying she was okay. Relieved, I barely paid attention to the shooting as it’s crunch time for finals — until someone was asking about Paul’s whereabouts. Had anyone heard from him?
Midnight rolled around and I finally received the stunning news. I threw my phone down and just repeated no, no, no to myself.
It still doesn’t feel real. I can see his smile so clearly, imagine his big hugs, and hear his laugh like I just saw him. The way my heart has felt in the past few days, the way I wake up at night randomly with my mind scrambling – it is clear to me now how much he impacted me. And I didn’t even get to tell him that.
So what’s the point of this post? Clearly it is a bit different than the normal content of my blog. I just want a more public channel than my Facebook to share a little more about Paul so if anyone wants to seek more information about one man’s crime, they will learn of what kind of person Paul was rather than the killer – who deserves no fame. What am I going to do now that this tragedy has happened? I refuse to let the killer win. I refuse to let him rob us of Paul’s spirit like he did his life. He may have taken Paul from this earth too soon, however he has ignited something greater than his cowardly actions. He has spread Paul’s positivity, big heart, and love for others throughout our community and beyond. Seattle is mourning but the world is also hopeful. The power of social media has spread a story of heroism, as Jon Meis is celebrated and honored, and also of inspiration – all thanks to my buddy Paul.
Put simply, thank you Paul. It is clear what an impactful young man he is. I’m lucky to have known him and can’t wait to reunite with him in paradise. My new promise to myself stems from a bit of a ritual that Paul and I had. We would text each other reminders to pray and share prayer requests. So Paul, I will keep your reminders in my heart each day I am alive on this Earth. I hope I can help spread hope and encouragement to others from how you’ve inspired me in the past and continue to do so. I also promise to regularly tell my loved ones how much they mean to me. I think we’ve all learned that saying “I love you” to the ones dear to your heart will never be regretted, because you never know when you won’t have that chance again.
See you later buddy.
If you would like to help Paul’s family during this difficult time, a page has been set up to collect funeral donations.