Stories
September 4, 2018

Will I ever be ‘me’ again?

A little more than a year ago, my son died unexpectedly.  I’m sorry if that’s an abrupt way to start a story, but it was an abrupt way to start a day too.  I had no control over what happened…
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August 19, 2018

Paulpalooza

Paul's death is a defining moment in the lives of Paige, Kathie and I. We hope that Paul's disability and death aren't what define him for everyone. Besides fundraising, for me today is about helping people remember how Paul made…
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Stories
December 22, 2017

Christmas Letter 2001

Well, I can tell you that I had a really funny Christmas letter planned for this year, but I am saving it for next year because of the birth of our son, Paul Arthur on December 18. He was two…
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Stories
December 7, 2017

Paul’s MOJO

I talked to my Dad yesterday about Paul and it came up that lots of people wrote lots of awesome things to us and about him in those first few weeks.  We thought it would be nice to have one…
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Stories
November 26, 2017

Paul and Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving was always a special holiday for us and Paul especially enjoyed it. Kathie’s family has great food traditions and recipes are handed down, perfected and duplicated with each year.  We started hosting many years ago – I think both…
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Stories
November 11, 2017

Goodnight Paul

There came a time most every day where Paul had just had enough.  He pushed himself hard and talking and getting around simply took more effort than it did for anyone else.  He seldom had to be convinced to go…
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November 2, 2017

Paul the Kid

Paul was not Spina Bifida.  He was born with SB, but he identified himself as much more than just that.  He related to being an athlete, a student, a friend, a brother.  I don’t miss the SB.  I have visited…
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Stories
October 31, 2017

Paul and swimming

Paul took to the water right away.  This fact was not an assumption we made as parents – Paige never really did learn to swim very well and was not overly fond of swim lessons.  Paul loved it and he…
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Stories
October 28, 2017

Paul and Track

Seventh grade was probably Paul’s best year in a lot of ways. After a few tough years filled with surgeries and some setbacks, Paul suddenly thrived for a year. As human nature has it, we quickly adjusted to the new…
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Stories
October 24, 2017

Paul and Seizures

Of all the things Paul had to endure, I think seizures were the worst.  They were random and could occur at any time, so they affected everything we did and we had to think about them any time we planned…
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Stories
October 22, 2017

Paige’s “Letter to Future Paul” from 2011

Paige Natzke 5/12/11 Block 2   Dear Future Paul, If you’re reading this you’re in middle school. Congratulations. I never thought you would make it. Right now, you’re in third grade, you’re still having trouble with our math facts. Now…
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October 19, 2017

Paul and the Neighbors

We lived in great neighborhood in Belleville. We moved there in 2000, and Paul was born in 2001. Right away the neighbors all pitched in and Paulie instantly had a bunch of parents and friends. Many of the kids, now…
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Stories
October 17, 2017

Gratitude

It’s obvious to me that I have AMAZING friends. And I’m not using amazing here in the overused way that so many of us do these days...my people are honestly amazing!!  My friends seem to anticipate what I need and…
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Stories
October 16, 2017

Paul and walking

Paul led me to conclude that walking is overrated.  It was something that we were really concerned about when we got the initial diagnosis, at birth.  Our kid would be different, and it would be obvious because he wouldn’t be…
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Stories
October 9, 2017

Waves

So...I was drinking coffee yesterday out of my new mug and thinking. Thinking about Paul and about how people have likened grief to riding waves. It's pretty accurate really. One moment I'll be fine and the next moment grief washes over…
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Stories
October 8, 2017

Paul and Me

One of the things that we have to do after losing a child is find a new definition of who we are. I was primarily Paul’s Dad, especially after Paige left for college. I need to find a new identity…
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Stories
October 5, 2017

Paul Starting Out

I never wanted to be the Dad of the handicapped kid. No one really asks for that. Growing up, they were the kids in the separate room, at the end of the hall at school. I think that I was…
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Stories
October 1, 2017

Paul Stood Out

Paul didn’t stand for the National Anthem. We went to a few sporting events each year, and that was an awkward 2 minutes for us. Kathie would get irritated when they said, “Please stand for the National Anthem”. She thought…
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Stories
September 26, 2017

Paul and Help

Paul needed a lot of help sometimes, and I enjoyed helping him. I have nearly infinite patience for most things, especially for him, and I could usually discern what he really needed. Sometimes he would act like he needed more…
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Stories
September 22, 2017

Paul Out Loud

Thank you to everyone who has reached out to me since I started writing these. I admit it has led to some awkward and emotional interactions. Awkwardness never really bothered me and I admit I kind of enjoy and appreciate…
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