to find Patti Singleton these days.

The Measure of a Man; In Memory of Paul, Aug 20,1947-Aug 9, 2009


Paul 2008 PHALL PHOTO 2008

Paul 2008


The Measure of a Man

What if a man lives his life full of purpose, reason, and love?

He makes it through childhood, the teenage years, and young adulthood honoring his parents, serving his country, and with loyal friendships still intact.

He carries these tenets of honor, service and loyalty as he falls in love and makes a family; joining her children with theirs.

He takes fatherhood seriously and works hard to build a home, hold down a good job, and then they form a business of their own.

He serves his community as a firefighter; 24/7, one emergency call at a time, for 30 years.

He remains conscientious, believes in hard work and big dreams, he has friends from every walk of life; for he is no judge of others.

He is quick with a joke or a prank, which surprises those who are fooled by the grumbly, growly side of him.

He appreciates beauty, whether in nature or man-made. He is an inventor, thinker, builder and mechanic.

He thinks 5 steps ahead of the game; always planning the next move cautiously.

He grieves deeply his losses; viscerally shaken by the pain of losing his wife, the mother of his children. Though he will carry this pain to his own death, after a time, he rallies his forces to continue on the way.

He is set in his ways and has something in common with mules, though love can bend him her way if she tries.

He forms a new love, which quickly becomes an unbreakable bond.

He spends several years living, loving, and laughing with his new love; they have grand babies together! They make dreamy plans to retire on the Snake River and ride their jet boat!

What if they spend a year fighting for his life? They spend precious moments beach combing, laughing, crying and adjusting their plans for his illness, then for his recovery; and also hazily planning for the worst, while stridently hoping for the best.

Then the day still comes when the doctors tell them that nothing more can be done to save his life.

All she asks is one more miracle—he’s been tossing them around all year long—just one more, please.

During his last weeks, tucked into their own bed, we hear story after story about how his courage and strength this past year has changed so many lives.

What if a man lives his life, and even his dying, full of purpose, reason and love?

Shouldn’t he then be called, not perfect, but a king among men?


Poem written July 2009,



Author: Patti Singleton

Pursuits of happiness include gardening, walking the desert, reading, writing, photography, traveling and genealogy.

47 thoughts on “The Measure of a Man; In Memory of Paul, Aug 20,1947-Aug 9, 2009

  1. Stunning as an example, through sentiment and poesy. Thank you and may we all leave such a legacy

  2. Death is always painful. RIP Paul…

  3. Let me catch my breath…I don’t have the words. Only – may we all live our lives and deaths as kings among men. You’re remarkable Patti. Love always, Harula xxxx

  4. To this day Patti… to this very day, and into the foreseeable future! I still aspire to be like Paul…of course in my own personalized way. What a tremendous gift, and from such an under-assumed person. This gift is not a spoken word, nor is it a keep-sake…it transcends all boundaries, for it knows none. I am ever more inspired, these four long and short years later…who was that masked-man?

    Who am I to receive this unexpected gift, who am I to know it…who am I to deserve it…this life seems not lost, but given…I cannot take, but must give too. If there is to be a creed, I propose it as thus…

    I can’t even begin to imagine the place in your shoes…yet my tears are joy and hope too…just as much for you.

    I’ve seen your ‘house’ burn a few times…’lady-bug’, but your fireman is indelibly a part of you…and to those of us who were fortunate enough to ‘see’ him.

    Here’s a tissue, and a shot of Scotch!
    With love, admiration, and many thanks for you and Paul!
    I bid you adieu!

  5. Paul is an Amazing man,, and you are an amazing woman Patti, I can only stand back in awe of what a man Paul is. A true man, a find man and a man of love and loyalty.
    As said above you are a remarkable woman. We only met last night on WP but I feel in spirit we are very similar. Love all the way…

    May your heart be kept by friends.
    And as we say in Scotland…

    I pay homage you Paul x

  6. You have put a face with Paul. I feel I know him now much better. 🙂

  7. If a man lives his life and dying with purpose, reason and purpose as a king among men then certainly he modeled his life after our greatest King, our God. You should be proud.

  8. What a beautiful tribute {wipes away tears}, just beautiful.

  9. Beautiful tribute, Patti. You and yours in my heart and on my mind this day. Blessed be, Judy

  10. Reaching out with hugs. He sounds more than a king. This must have been so raw for you as I see it was written in ’09. The start of another journey for you…

    • I actually wrote in the hospital after the doctor told us he couldn’t do anything more…we were already up to Plan E I think. Yes, raw. Sometimes I wish I could have just forget about this memoir project, but Paul really wanted us to help others on that awful path. Damn it, no way out!

    • Thank you, Heather. Preacher Paul read this at Paul’s memorial, I just remembered. I don’t even know who was there unless I get brave and look at the video…

  11. Of your poem, this line stood out for me: “He is set in his ways and has something in common with mules, though love can bend him her way if she tries.” I love your way with words, the loving, humorous way you tell about Paul’s stubbornness. My throat is pretty tight right now, so I’m glad I can write and not have to talk. I’m rambling because I don’t know what to say or how to say it even if I knew what to say. I grieve your loss. I’m moved to tears by Paul’s desire and generosity to make his death as meaningful as his life. I’m indebted to you for all that you have shared, for I’ve learned so much.
    And hugs, hugs, hugs.

  12. Pingback: I’ve Been a Bad, Bad Girl – Criminally Overdue Post on Award Nominations | Melissa Janda – the Buzz on Writing

  13. Such a beautiful poem, and a loving tribute. Again and again I admire your courage to take such painful and personal experience, and turn it into something so valuable to others. God bless you. I know Paul is proud of you.

  14. A poignant remembrance. Memories live on, don’t they?

  15. emotionally stirring writing, a wonderful tribute. Very fine!

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