“If he wanted the heights of joy, he must have, if he could find it, a great love… But  great joy through love always seemed to go hand in hand with frightful pain. Still he thought, the joy would be worth the pain – if indeed they went together. If there were a choice – and he suspected there was – a choice between, on the one hand, the heights and the depths and, on the other hand, some sort of safe, cautious middle way, he, for one, here and now chose the heights and the depths.”

~Sheldon Vanauken, A Severe Mercy

This is a little bit of my story.

Let me know how you feel about it…

 

68 Responses

  1. Dave

    Paul, I lost my wife to lung cancer 6/12. The lessons are amazing yet the pain of what happened in incomprehensible. My heart goes out t o you and certainly I will learn from your strength. You are in my prayers. Dave

    Reply
  2. Stewart Kelly

    Sorry to hear of your tremendous loss Paul so I pray you will be able to find peace in joy in the memories you created together as you grieve. Your sharing reminds all of us to not take life for granted. Thanks for the lesson about have a superb life versus just surviving. Seems the latter is a kind of living death. Better to have soared to the stars and burnt out than crawl through mud of life on your belly. Pray your memories and the love you shared heal your spirit quickly.

    Reply
  3. Carl Rizzo

    The joy of life with the person who inspires you and fulfills you cannot be replaced, and should not be replaced, but remembered throughout time. The feelings you have and moments shared may have been a tiny glimpse of the life you will share when you meet again in the next life. The information and feelings you have shared inspire and motivate me to be thankful and more aware.Through sharing your feelings, I believe that you have allowed the universe to realize a loss to humanity. With great empathy, I wish you the best.

    Reply
  4. sage

    Your candid honesty is appreciated.

    Thank you for reminding us to appreciate what is actually important and the best of love is truly irreplaceable. It changes us in ways we simply could not imagine.

    The immediate hurting is unparalleled, yet certainly allows you to explore what makes you who you are and the experience is unique to each of those left behind.

    Focussing on the good and acknowledging there were quirks you appreciated less help you reflect on your future path.

    Take courage from the fact you got to meet and grow for the time you shared.

    Reply
  5. Pat Newberry

    As a good friend of mine says…”Most rarely see beyond the bright flash of their own existence”. I

    t’s a joy to hear from another soul who is real & open. It takes courage to step outside the vail of our daily roles… I want you to know, it resonated with me. I very much identified with the meaning behind the words.

    I’m sorry for your loss. My mother passed last month & the pain of loss is all very open & exposed within me too. For my own life, her passing was truly a catalyst, as you wrote in the blog post.

    There are no words to be said to heal the pain you are feeling now. It’s okay to hurt. It’s part of the mystery of what makes us the beings we are.

    Some say life here is but a dream… in comparison to what follows. Another compared our word to paper mâché. I was never so inclined to examine the NDE topic on YouTube…until very recently but I have found some of these anecdotal stories to my surprise, comforting.

    I wish you well my friend. I’ve enjoyed your blog & email for a few years now but have never written.

    Cheers,
    ~Pat Newberry
    Tampa, FL (sending you rays of sunshine today)

    Reply
  6. Jack

    Paul,
    this is more of a response to “Okay isn’t”.
    You are dead on. The real secret is to find the vehicle that moves you from knowledge to wisdom.

    I have also found I do my best writing when I am in an emotional state. There is somewhat of a difference between passion and emotion. Your writing now, in the state you are in, is very inspirational.

    My comments to you on your loss will be forthcoming. I’ll read it again and quite possibly not edit it.

    Wishing you the very best.
    Jack

    Reply
  7. Joseph Warmann

    Paul,
    I am so sorry to hear of your loss.

    All I can offer is the sense that I am struggling to make of this sad situation, and my prayers for you and your families.

    By all accounts, she was an amazing woman! – amazing in every way, but strong and brilliant too.
    I believe a woman like that chooses someone very special to share her life with.

    Further, I believe that it is a universal impossibility to get to share one’s life with someone we are not in vibrational alignment with. And when you look at the circumstances of the event as it unfolded; what you (both of you) knew, what you (both of you) did not know, and when you (both of you) discovered things, it really does seem the universe conspired to give the two of you the most amount of time together.

    Discussing difficult situations, a friend once explained, that “these things happen to those who can handle them” (because the truth is not all of us can handle them). I believe that we all discover how we would deal with a situation when we find ourselves in that situation, and that there is something about you and the way you would choose to handle this situation, that somehow through the unimaginable pain of the situation would serve humanity.

    And I believe that the way you have chosen to share this beautiful, sad and painful story with us all is testimony to the universe’s belief in you, and the way you would choose to handle this Paul.

    Warmly,
    Joseph

    Reply
  8. Jean

    Once our hearts are open to the fullness of love & life we make an unspoken agreement for the suffering than can come along with the unbelievable heights of joy. Understand the mechanics though we do, accepting the loss is another dimension all together. Thank you for sharing the raw emotion.

    Reply
  9. Jayne Sanders

    Paul,
    What a huge and chasmatic loss for you. All I can say is that my heart hurts deeply for you, literally aches. I so appreciate your courage and willingness to be vulnerable. I’m going to add “spectacular” to my own relationship vocabulary, what an inspiring and ‘role-model’ description to manifest into our lives. Thank you for that and more. I wish I knew how to be of more support right now, I hope it help even a tiny bit to know I’m thinking about you.

    Reply
  10. Mark Benda

    Paul you are an amazing man.

    When most would naturally take a deep dive into their own hurt, loss and pain you step up BIG and chose to purposefully add value from your real life experiences to those who know you personally and or professionally.

    Your share has inspired me to go after awesome vs just OK much more vigorously and vulnerably in all my primary relationships – especially my marriage. I have been making efforts in that direction for a while but frankly they have not been my best. I have been “playing it safe.”

    Thank you for sharing and being a catalyst towards my awesome!

    Paul I love your openness and big heart for people.

    May you be rewarded for that in ways that surprise
    and delight you when you’re ready for them.

    Mark

    PS Here’s a share from my dads wisdom to consider
    “when things are tough, make sure you keep exercising.”

    PSS There’s a spare bedroom in beautiful Vancouver for you any time.

    Reply
  11. Sean Murphy

    Paul,

    I’m so very,very sorry to hear about this terrible loss. If you need somebody to talk to about it, I would be glad to listen. You’ve spent many hours listening to me through times that were tough for me and providing me hope and help. Although I’ve not had to face something as difficult as what you’re going through, I would be honored to talk if it might help you, or to aid you in any other way.

    Sean

    Reply
  12. Charles Gaudet

    Hi Paul,

    So sorry to hear about your loss… your transparency, courage and strength makes me like you even more 😉

    Thank you.

    With gratitude,
    Charlie

    Reply
  13. Brad Thomas

    Hi Paul

    So sorry to hear about your loss of Rhonda.
    I cannot imagine losing my wife – I have no idea of what
    you’re feeling, but I can imagine it.

    Please accept my fondest condolences and absolute best wishes.

    The future is yours.

    Cheers
    Brad

    Reply
  14. Dave Munday

    Dear Paul,

    My deepest condolences on your loss. I dearly appreciate you sharing your sorrow on this video.

    Somehow the old term of ‘bouncing back’ from something like this always seems to lack the linguistic kindness and support that is intended by the statement. But rather than suggest there is any “bouncing” available, I think that at some point in the not-so-distant future, instead there will come a day when you’ll gather up the more influential pieces of your time with Rhonda — and even though the thoughts are so impossible to ‘fit’ together or make sense of right now — I think that being the natural organizer and planner that you are, I suspect you’re going to end up emerging as a man who becomes even more motivated by the gifts that your wondrous relationship has blessed you with, and that the vision you both shared of being committed to having a sensational life will become even deeper entrenched in who you are.

    Perhaps your pre-existing and strict commitment to make yours.. a spectacular life.. can now take you to an even higher level, where the time you still have on this planet soon becomes a life defined by even more outstanding and uber-sensational activities and commitments… And perhaps even to the point where you even bring this passion to a more integral part of your work, and maybe even so that you become the proverbial lightning rod of instructional help and guidance for other people who do indeed want to have a spectacular life too, but really don’t know how to go about getting there – much like you already do with helping people in business.

    You have a blessed gift as a teacher Paul. And what I can already see the potential of happening here is that with all the high-intensity passions you have, and the skill-set you have for helping others, perhaps this is one of the ‘meanings’ that can help you convert this tragic loss into a meaning more profound than you’ve even dreamed.

    Regardless of whether my little observation is a possibility for you though, please know that I have always cherished you and your work – and while I have never met you, nor spoken to you, I want you to know that if you ever need a friend to talk to.. maybe it is I, who can return the favor. I’ll always be someone you could write to or call up live. (Just email me for my number.)

    Stay precious Paul! You have *such* a great significance and meaning in so many lives… and I for one support you from the heart, thank you from the soul.

    Best regards,

    Dave Munday
    Vancouver/Canada

    Reply
  15. Jon

    Thanks for sharing, Paul. Very sorry for your loss. You and Sheldon Van Auken share a lot in common with your stories. My wife mad I always quote the same quote above about the heights and the depths. He actually wrote another very good follow up book to A Severe Mercy called Under the Mercy. I think you’d appreciate his further thoughts on how he dealt with his loss of Davie. He wrote it 10 yrs later so he shares with the gift of some distance and additional wisdom. You and Sheldon also share a gift of being good, critical, analytical sort of thinkers. Again, sorry for your loss.

    Reply
  16. Natalie

    Thank you so much Paul for sharing and for being vulnerable. It takes someone special to be this open and that’s why Rhonda was and is with you.
    Sending love and hope to see you again soon.
    Peace & Love, Natalie

    Reply
  17. Carolyn

    Paul, I am so sorry for this wrenching loss. I don’t know how I got on your subscriber list, but your subject line spoke to me. And so did your message.

    A couple of weeks before my beloved father died, he told his life partner, “this is the final reel”. As if his life was a movie. In some ways, life truly is like a movie, we write our script and we decide how we want it to play out. And we want to craft a story that is exceptional, not ordinary.

    From what I can see, you have done that and no doubt you will continue to live an extraordinary life. As you said, loss of a loved one is “ordinary” but it sure doesn’t feel that way. To look at that picture of the loved one who was so alive and “like that” is gone, in no way does that feel ordinary. It’s the scene in the movie we wish we could rewrite. But if course we can’t.

    The price you pay for living life to its fullest is that you feel this loss fully and deeply. In sharing your pain so openly, you’ve already a step toward healing. God bless.

    Reply
    • Dan

      I am sorry Paul for your loss ! I hope you will find the strenght to carry on.

      Reply
    • Mike Kesner

      Paul,

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts and feelings on where you are in this process. It is good to see that you are pulling meaning out of something that is so painful and seemingly meaningless. Debbie and I were very fortunate a few months ago to spend some time with you and Rhonda, and got to know her a little. She was a very special lady…as you well know. Smart, driven, passionate, caring and beautiful, just to name a few things that really stood out to us. She had a zest and excitement for life that impacted you and others in a positive way. Pretty cool legacy.

      Blessings,
      Mike

      Reply
  18. Daniel

    Paul, I’m so sorry for your loss. You are and always been inspiration for us. Blessings.

    Reply
  19. Rita Hanscombe

    Hi Paul,
    I am so happy for you to have experienced your time together and sad with you for it being so short. Celebrate that you had it.
    I too made the decision many years ago when I got divorced never to settle for OK again. So far my fabulous has eluded me but I believe it will happen soon when the time is right.
    You are not the same person now that you were before and there is a reason for that. I hope you find it and make her memory count.
    Peace be with you.
    Rita.

    Reply
  20. Troy Steine

    Paul,

    If the opportunity or interest is there to have a call together, please let me know.
    It would be an honour to connect again.

    You’ve had the rare privilege in this world of experiencing a true connection of passion and purpose with another person.

    I wish you the very best and again, I look forward to connecting with you.

    Best,
    Troy Steine
    Vancouver, BC, Canada

    Reply
  21. Tim

    Paul,
    I am terribly sorry for the kick in the gut you are going through. It sucks. It’s tragic. But you are grieving her loss in much the same way you seem to have lived your life together. Full of openness, passion. Please continue to stay open, rely on friends like Perry. Thank you for showing your courage and passion in the midst of extreme difficulty. Be honest and real with yourself.

    Reply
  22. Lou Dalo

    Paul, so sorry for your loss brother – I wish you and your family love and comfort during this time. Thanks for the courage to share this vulnerable moment. Here’s hoping the pain you’re currently experiencing dissolve soon and be replaced by warm memories of the great love you were blessed with.
    Lou

    Reply
  23. James Thompson

    My condolences on your loss.

    Thank you for sharing such a profoundly personal moment. I feel like I was meant to hear this message at this particular time. Awfully egocentric I know but I just can’t shake the feeling. So much resonated with me. Sleep walking, so true.

    I have never loved so cannot pretend to comprehend your pain. Your courage however, is truly inspiring and I hope it sees you through this terrible time.

    I was reminded of a quote and I’m unsure of the source but it goes “Experience is to intensity and not to duration” . Trite but perhaps two years of spectacular outweighs a lifetime of just of okay.

    Be well.

    Reply
  24. Anne Ryan

    “Just like that she was gone” is what you said and my experience in loosing my husband is exactly the same “just like that he was gone” and that was after a wonderful day of golf and visiting. AND after 2 wonderful years – just like my marriage, only mine was just over two years – it is so hard to take and we find ways to move forward and like you, I don’t want to settle for anything. Life is far too short to settle for anything especially when we are closer to the end than the beginning. Bless you for your words and your feelings. May this time of transition be a fruitful one for you and the people you touch, it isn’t easy but it is deepening for sure. Anne

    Reply
  25. Glenn

    Paul,

    The depth of your pain, taken in context, reveals that you were blessed in having been together – regardless of any ‘imperfections’ that may have been present in the relationship. The ‘details’ may have often varied; but, from what you have shared, we may infer there to have been understanding, respect and acceptance at the foundation of your relationship.

    In my personal experiences of bereavement I note that my logical and reasoning faculties were of seemingly little help in coping with my pain. Notwithstanding an appearance of composure, my emotions were in turmoil.

    In hindsight, as I passed through each time of sorrow, there has always been at least one ‘lesson’ awaiting. One such lesson was to simply recognize a new ability to perceive the dark abyss of their absence through a light of love, gratitude and sincere appreciation for who they were to me. Inasmuch, I found myself granted the ability to carry within me the best of who they were henceforth.

    With the best of intentions, I wish for you to allow your pain to ‘run it’s course.’ Numbing one’s pain of loss prematurely carries with it the potential to squelch the seeds of joy from which it has emerged.

    Carry her into the future within your heart. Permit time and wisdom to sculpt your experience into the greater you. Certain of the lessons are already flowing through you, as evidenced in this video.

    From those of us that admire and/or adore you, know that we feel your pain. Thank you for sharing yourself in this most vulnerable of times. You are sincerely appreciated, Paul. Know that.

    Reply
  26. Brian

    Paul – very sorry for your loss and thanks for sharing such a personal moment with us. There are some important lessons in there about not settling in life and creating the life you want now. I’ve learned much from you and am still learning. Again, sincerest condolences.

    Reply
  27. Ralph

    Paul, I highly recommend the book, “How to Survive the Loss of a Love” by Peter McWilliams. I understand it has helped many thousands in similar circumstances. Peace be with you.

    Reply
  28. John Fish

    Paul –

    I am sorry for your loss and I most certainly understand it. I lost my lady of 60 years this past Christmas morning. The bible says we should have 120 years on the earth not the 70 years most people think. How many of those I will get I don’t know. I do know that there are several areas I am going to pursue as aggressively as I know how including helping people to become saved who have not already made Jesus their Lord and Savior. I feel that when we are reunited in heaven Joann will ask, “Did you use the time since we were parted well?” I hope to be able to look her straight in the face and say “Yes honey, I did.” You can do great honor to the memory of the lady you lost by helping others during your remaining years and in so doing keep her memory that much brighter in your mind.

    Reply
  29. Bruce Johnson

    Paul, My heart breaks for you. There are few things in life more painful than the loss of a loved one. Thanks for being honest and real and sharing your pain—as well as for the encouragement to live a life marked by the spectacular and to not settle for being “Okay.” Praying for you. Bruce

    Reply
  30. Don Morris

    Hey, Paul,

    I haven’t read one of your emails in a LONG time, just delete them, but haven’t unsubscribed. This time I actually looked at the subject line, looked at the email, and clicked to watch the video.

    Glad I did, too. I am amazed at your openness (I tend to hold in my pain and just write poetry or journal or cry). Hopefully if I ever face the kind of loss you have had, which I haven’t, I will remember your courage and willingness to talk about your hurt.

    Thanks for sharing your story. The chapter of your time with her is over, and the one about your life without her is just beginning. Who knows what future chapters will hold?

    Take care and God bless.

    Don 🙂

    Reply
  31. Laurette Willis

    Dear Paul,

    I am so sorry to hear about your loss – and will continue to pray shalom peace and comfort for you whenever Messiah brings your name to my heart.

    You are dearly loved, and we share in your sadness…grieving with those who grieve.

    “Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning” (Psalm 30:5).

    You have been blessed indeed,
    Laurette Willis

    Reply
  32. Simon James

    Deeply sorry for your loss. I hope your heart and soul find peace and comfort soon.

    Reply
  33. Jay

    Thank you so much, Paul. It’s refreshing to see this real and human side of you. Thanks for sharing. I’m inspired by your courage to leave an excellent job and go for better, to not settle for OK and to live with passion. I figure I’m not getting out of this life alive no matter what, so I might as well live by some of these nuggets of wisdom I picked up from watching:
    “The passion I’m seeking comes with it’s own set of problems.
    She & I thought we had a really long time. 10, 20 years, a whole lifetime, ya know… I thought we had a whole lifetime… Time is short. I hope it’s not short for you.
    I don’t want to sleep walk thru the time when I’m supposed to be awake.
    If you’re going to watch TV, do it with passion… watch it committedly.
    There’s no time to screw around. Do what you’re going to do and do it for real.”
    God Bless.

    Reply
  34. Eric Briggs

    Paul,
    I am so sorry for your loss…I just wanted to reach out. Give me a call anytime so that we can catch up.

    I’m going through a heart-breaking situation with my wife of 22 years, who has MS. Gordon and I were just discussing it.

    Reply
  35. Sara

    Oh boy ! The pain is overwhelming… and making sense of such a terrible voide is just about impossible. I too lost my life-partner to a rare and very painful form of cancer. The pain of the loss is excruciating. And there is no “button” to stop the film, the pain, the bewilderment and rewind to the beginning for a second chance. Like you, when I look at a photo of him, so slim, athletic, dynamic, curious of all things, can’t make head or tail of why he’s not here with me today. Time certainly takes on another meaning…and yet we were 47 years together, but even that wasn’t enough. The last few weeks he couldn’t speak, his breathing was so strenuous, and from mimetism I did likewise. So we spoke with our eyes, and each time it felt like diving into a deep deep pool, seeking understanding, looking for answers to unasked questions.
    Since he died, I have to seek within myself for reassurance and the needed answers I wanted to hear from him.
    I often could have throttled him for things he’d done or said or not done or said.… But in the current silence of his absence there is no room for cheating. I know that was only behavioral. Had I ever doubted it, because he wasn’t someone who spoke his feelings easily, this has allowed me to understand at last how very deep was the love we shared.
    It isn’t a question of duration but of Quality. Your two years or my forty seven years of this quality of relationship and love (including the possible hiccups) is worth every minute of today’s bewilderment and pain.
    One day it will ease off (I hope !).

    My heart goes out to you in your loss.

    Reply
  36. Stephanie Calahan

    I am so very sorry for your loss. Your conversation about sleep walking while awake is one I think many of us have done at various points in life. I know I have. Extroidinary is way better than okay. Much love and prayers for you.

    Reply
  37. Steven Flax

    Dear Mr. Lemberg, Thank you for the deeply feeling video. I am so sorry for your loss. I have lost the love of my life, unexpectedly, suddenly. I know what it feels like to be able to say that someone is the love of my life, and then to know what it feels like to lose someone who is that precious. Please accept my condolences and best wishes. The grieving is a long and very personal journey. Take your time and grant yourself patience and understanding. Where grief is concerned, we’re all treading “The Road Not Taken,” as in the Robert Frost poem, and none of us would have picked that road. It’s just a miserable hand we’ve been dealt. My heart goes out to you. If you’d ever like to talk, please get in touch. My contact info is at my About.Me page. Best wishes, Steve

    Reply
  38. Rae French

    Thank you for sharing, Paul. Yes, time is short. Always shorter than we expect or want. I have a saying that I use to remind myself that there isn’t enough time to waste, it is “In the long run, it isn’t such a long run”. I think that you understand that. Be well, my friend. This too is part of the journey. You are loved.

    Reply
  39. Mark Anthony Sullivan

    Thank you for being so transparent Paul.
    I pray that you are sustained by God through this.

    Mark

    Reply
  40. Anne

    I’m so sorry for your loss. I can see how painful it was to do the conversation with Perry. I’m certain your story and insight will inspire others to stop sleepwalking.

    Reply
  41. Robert Simons

    Paul, I have felt your pain. Even though it was over 30 years ago, the memories are still there. The PAIN does recede. You will have your memories to fire your progress forward!

    Reply
  42. Andy Renk

    Paul, sorry for your loss. I recently lost the love of my life through a breakup. I understand the pain and suffering you are feeling. It sucks beyond words.

    Face your fears. Your next great love will come in time.

    Peace

    Reply
  43. Frank Daley

    I am sorry for your loss.
    You have to remember and celebrate your time together.
    It wasn’t a long time but many people, sadly, do not even get two years.
    You will see her again in time.

    Reply
  44. Craig Maxwell

    Thank you for sharing your story. So very sorry for your loss. May you experience healing and joy in the midst I your suffering. Blessings!

    Reply
  45. Kirsten

    I am so sorry for you and I am feeling with you.
    I have lost my dear Mother from cancer only 4 months ago and I am still hurting. It is hard to even look at her pictures.

    When you are in the middle of your grieving process it might look like there is no end to it. Fortunately time will heal some or most of the wounds and you can be grateful for all the wonderful memories that will stay with you.

    I wish you all the strength and courage you will need during the next months.

    Reply
  46. Chris

    Sorry for your loss, Paul. Very courageous of you to share this openly. May you find the inner strength to continue your good works.

    Reply
  47. Johnny

    Paul, from a Course In Miracles it says: “The only thing real was the love you shared…everything else was an illusion”.

    Be well. Keep teaching. I’m better because of it.

    Reply
  48. Alon Goldreich

    Dear Paul,
    I was touched by your video. It was very courageous of you to post it on youtube.
    With your drive and inner wisdom i’m sure you’ll bounce back soon.
    I admire your work.

    Alon

    btw- ther’es a bug on the “Tools/store” page. This is what i see:
    “[recent_products per_page=”12″ columns=”4″ orderby=”date” order=”desc”]”

    Reply

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