This week I will pay tribute to a health-conscious colleague who passed away suddenly and gracefully while snowboarding three years ago. In recognition of Emergency Medical Services Week, my hospital is hosting an awards luncheon for EMS providers and I am presenting the Dr. Paul Johnson Award to an individual that honors and displays valor and leadership.
In reflecting upon my shared moments with Dr. Paul Johnson, I remember passing along to him Gabriel Cousens’ book titled, Eating Consciously. Perhaps its message of having a hand in eating could be applied to the process of dying. Through death, a person immediately represents the proverbial sacrificial lamb; offering the experience of one’s life as a shared gift. I believe each life and death teaches us a valuable lesson while serving the common good.
Paul’s great zeal for self-discovery motivated him to explore vast adventures of the world. He integrated the diversity, understanding and likeability experienced in other cultures within himself. As a well-versed and consummate EMS provider, Paul was ready, willing and able to transform dire emergencies into life-affirming outcomes. His consciousness was what made those around him feel comfortable. Adopting the motto from Allstate Insurance, you were in “good hands” with Dr.Paul Johnson.
Through conscious hands, Paul’s stewardship cultivated healing. Paul never left people in a lurch at a time when they needed him most. It was ironic to me that Paul died during the time I was writing my book titled, WISHES TO DIE FOR. Similar to my own personal quest, he manifested an awareness of death during the prime of life. He died like most of us wish to die; doing something we love with the person we love. Consciously, he was able to partake of life and leave this world feeling fulfilled.
In retrospect, Paul’s departure never seemed to have made those who knew him feel abandoned or empty. Always a great friend, Paul had much to offer and more to give as his abundance showers us from the afterlife. When I feel a higher power guiding my writing, I am conscious of Paul’s presence. His life-partner, Tim, is living proof that Paul left an indelible mark on this world. Courageously, Tim has picked himself up in the aftermath and continues to make the most of their partnership. Paul’s gift and legacy will remain a conscious example of living life fully and dying gracefully.