Saturday, August 8, 2009

Paul 30/10/1996 - 7/8/2009

I write this post as an announcement. Mireille will surely want to say more during the next few days.

Yesterday, our courageous, beautiful, gentle Paul went away to take care for us, to live in us forever at 23:05, after receiving the last rites in early afternoon. His breathing had been weakening steadily during the past ten days and he spent most of his last day sleeping, probably mostly unconscious.

Paul was reading this blog and we were unable to post the terrible truth that transpired since the biopsy of his lymph node at the left groin which proved cancerous, a rare and disastrous development. A re-staging done just afterwards had shown that his popliteal lymph node of the same leg was involved, most of his left leg, and that he had tumours near his liver and in his chest.

The goal of treatment was then to control the disease by changing the chemo regimen and giving it aggressively in order to possibly open some window of opportunity for dealing with separate tumours.

But the cancer was spreading ferociously. His left leg swelled through the chemo and in between the two cycles he received, tumours appeared on his skin and it became clear there was nothing left to be done.

He was incredibly courageous during all the process, taking a full bed wash every single day, studying his German, doing his physiotherapy, reading, playing, remaining what he always was: A full joy to all for every second of his life.

We are sure he is happy where he is, probably playing football on the best lawns and with the best players ever, swimming in the purest, gentlest waters imaginable, making great friends, under the loving care of Jesus.

We returned to Lebanon today to stay with Clara and be the first to break the news to her. Alexis and Anne-Marie will follow us with Paul's body towards the end of next week. Funeral arrangements will be announced then.



  1. Dear Philippe and Mireille,

    You do not know me, but I have followed Paul's fight against osteosarcoma through Google news updates for quite some time. My son, Jaime Schwerin, age 34 forever, also lost his battle with this monstrous disease, on February 28, 2009.

    I am so sorry to learn of your son's death, and want you to know, as one grieving parent to another, that although on different levels, there are many of us who share your pain. I write to you through my tears, weeping for you in the loss of your beloved child.

    Paul was an amazing boy, full of courage far beyond his years. The world will sorely miss the man he could have been, but his impact on those who knew of him cannot be underestimated. Be assured, Paul left a HUGE mark in the world, inspiring those of us who knew of him to fight even harder to advance research into osteosarcoma and other childhood cancers.

    There are simply no words that I or anyone else can write that could ever adequately lesson your pain. But, please know that our hearts are reaching out to you from all across the world, wishing you whatever comfort you can find, peace from knowing that Paul is in the arms of his Lord and free of suffering, and the knowledge that you did everything humanly possible to save him.

    Jaime used to say that "Life isn't always fair.", and he was right. It is not. Many times, I have bemoaned the fact that Jaime did not get to have a long life; never to marry, have children, grandchildren, etc.. And then, I hear stories about the kids like Paul who never even had a chance to grow up, and I feel guilty that I had Jaime for 34 years.

    I heard a minister once say that we should not always look at how long a lifeline was, but focus instead on how wide it was. And, from what I have read about Paul, his lifeline was very wide, indeed.

    Sending you and all of Paul's loved ones my deepest sympathy. May God bless all of you at this very sad time. You will be in my thoughts and prayers.
    Chamonix Bell,
    Mother to Angel Jaime Schwerin
    10/11/74 - 2/28/09

  2. To all of Paul's family and friends,
    I too have followed Paul's journey with Osteosarcoma, through Google alerts, and I have been amazed at the wonderful outlook and love that Paul has shown always. And what wonderful support he has had from all of you!
    I too have lost a child to this terrible, rare cancer, Osteosarcoma. She was an adult...which is even rarer...but we are never meant to lose our children!! Our grief and empathy for you crosses oceans!
    Sending our prayers and thoughts for your peace. We know that Paul has found his and will be with you always!
    Pat Casey, Mother to Angel Shannon
    .. Ohio..USA

  3. To Philippe and Mireille,

    I have also followed Paul's battle over the past few months.
    I was stunned by how courageous and positive Paul remained, throughtout his constant battle against such a ferocious disease.
    He left with dignity and a big smile on his face and yet moved many people who never got to meet him, just like myself!

    To Paul's parents, his sister, to Anne-Marie, Alexis, Robert and Marc, I am deeply sorry for your loss and your pain.

    I am so revolted that a twelve-year old boy was taken from life so early, for children are meant to grow and live.

    However, rest assured that he now is an angel watching over you from up above with his fellow angels.
    He will always be there with you, in you and for you!

    Please accept my deepest sympathy.

    CA- USA

  4. Chers Mireille, Philippe et Suzy,

    J'ai aussi suivi durant les derniers mois la bataille de Paul contre la maladie.

    Au debut, j'etais revoltee.
    Comment Dieu peut-il permettre qu'un enfant innocent de 12 ans passe par toutes ces souffrances.
    Qu'a-t-il fait et qu'a fait sa famille pour meriter tout cela?

    Et puis, au fur et a mesure que le temps passait, je comprenais que Dieu avait surement des raisons que notre raison ne pouvait pas connaitre mais que, pour nous aider a accepter Sa volonte, Il nous donnait la force et le courage pour surmonter les epreuves, aussi penibles qu'elles pouvaient l'etre.

    Paul a ete un exemple de courage et de determination.
    Bien que ne le connaissant pas personnellement, j'ai compris d'apres tout ce qui a ete ecrit sur ce blog que c'etait un garcon qui avait en lui la joie de vivre.
    Il avait garde son sens de l'humour jusqu'a la fin; avec toute son intelligence, peut-etre meme qu'il se moquait de la vie car il savait que le meilleur l'attendait la-haut.

    Quant a vous, Mireille, Philippe et Suzy, votre devouement et votre amour pour Paul m'ont extremement impressionnee et touchee.
    Grace a vous et a tous les parents et amis, Paul est parti en paix et en toute serenite.

    Soyez surs que vous avez un ange dans le ciel qui veillera sur vous et auquel vous pourrez faire appel a n'importe quel moment; par son intercession, Jesus Christ entendra vos prieres et les exaucera..... a sa facon!

    Soyez surs aussi que rien de ce que vous avez fait ne sera oublie. Dieu vous le rendra surement, maintenant ou plus tard, d'une facon ou d'une autre...

    Merci de m'avoir permis de poster ce commentaire qui me tenait a coeur.

    Je vous presente toutes mes condoleances et prie Dieu pour qu'il continue a vous donner le don d'accepter Sa volonte.

    Que Dieu vous garde aussi votre fille Clara en bonne sante.

    J'aurai toujours une pensee pour vous et votre famille, cette famille qui est un exemple de l'AMOUR.

    Beyrouth / Liban
    30 Aout 2009

  5. Chère Carine,

    Merci pour votre mot mais, vous qui vous référez à l'enseignement du Christ, vous savez qu'il n'y a aucun mérite à aimer son enfant, à moins bien sûr qu'on le considère comme son ennemi. Le mot AMOUR tel que vous l'écrivez, dans son acception chrétienne, ne peut s'appliquer à une relation filiale.

    Vous êtes gentille de nous proposer des réponses et les assurances de votre foi. Peut-être les partagerons-nous aussi fortement un jour.