Several years ago, I found out that Mr. Paun had been diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer's. I remember how sad I was to hear that this vibrant, fun loving, intelligent family man could be struck by this horrible disease. I knew that he had to be in a care facility because of this. Today his son said that he was diagnosed at 57 and he died this month at 71.
Since I have been back in Douglas, I have gotten to know his son, Richard. Richard teaches art at DHS and his wonderful wife is a kindergarten teacher. Richard is so much like his father. He is an amazing human and teacher. I have also had the opportunity to see his wife, Victoria. Unfortunately, she has Parkinson's and her health is not good. And she is truly one of the good people in the world.
His son talked about his love of family and of the stories he told to his kids as they were growing up. He talked about his great sense of humor and his kindness. He talked about his love of poetry and different poets. I, too, love poetry and never connected that my love of poetry and poets probably came from Mr. Paun's class.
Today one of the priests talked about doubting his faith. He said that sometimes he did when things happened to people like Mr. Paun and the Alzheimer's that came on so young. I, too, wonder about that. I know that there is a reason for everything, but I also wonder why people like Mr. Paun who are so good are taken so young.
A few weeks before Mr. Paun died, I received a card from Richard thanking me for some things that had happened. His last sentence said that he knew his dad would be very proud of me. I think he would, but I hope that he knows that he contributed greatly to who I am today.
Thank you, Mr. Paun, for being such a strong influence in my life and thank you for being my mentor. You were such a strong and positive influence and I never was able to say thank you to you. I hope that I have been able to do that a little bit through your wonderful son, Richard. The world needs more people like Steve Paun and I feel blessed to have had him in my life!!!!