For My Friend

by Susanne Nilsson

A goodbye, a thank you and one last discussion.

My friend, Paul Curran, passed away from a heart attack in October. I found out a few weeks ago on the internet when his close friend and neighbor, Steve, tracked me down. Paul remains one of my favorite thinkers and was, bar none, the most loyal reader of Gunmetal Geisha.

“He spoke of you often and fondly,” said Steve. Paul and I never met in person, but we corresponded via email and I thought of him just as fondly as he did me.

After learning of the news, I couldn’t bring myself to write a new blog post, which is how I realized I was always partially writing them to Paul.

In attempting a post today, I would have been remiss not to mention this dear man, his passing, and his influence on me and the continuation of this blog. It will probably hurt a little to write a Gunmetal Geisha post from now on, but that’s okay. It’s my pleasure to continue to think of Paul every time I blog, even with the twinge of loss.

Although it’s “passé” for a so-called intellectual to speak of god and the soul, Paul and I shared a belief in both. We had many a philosophical discussion regarding the nature of existence, not in the context of religion, but of the unknowable and the unseen.

Do I find comfort in such beliefs when someone precious to me dies? I would love to say yes.

But the truth is, any time I lose someone and want to think of their soul as having advanced to some next phase of spiritual education, it’s precisely then that doubt grips me the most: What if I’m wrong? What if there’s nothing more after death?

If Paul and I were having this discussion, he’d come back with something far more sophisticated than my answer, whereas I merely conclude, if this is all there is, then all the more reason to better ourselves and grow while we can.

I decided a long time ago that as much as the existence of god makes sense to me — certainly makes me feel less pointless and isolated — I don’t need it. Meaning, while I would be relieved to discover for certain that god exists, if the opposite were to be scientifically proven, I would function just fine and continue living exactly as I am. For me, god isn’t a crutch but a feeling I can’t shake. (And I’m glad.)

So long, Paul. Perhaps we’ll come across each other again, and if we don’t, you’ve certainly left a profound impression on me. Thank you, dear friend.


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  1. I’m torn between not wanting to push the like button because of the sad reason for the post and not wanting to destroy the beauty of your philosophy with a comment. But I appreciate everything that you had to say here and then when I got to the bottom and saw his picture and realized that of course it was a face I’d seen around on the net, it made it all the more meaningful. Thanks for taking the time to write about this.

    1. I’m glad that you did comment, also that you recognize Paul. Thanks so much for being here, Sreejit.

  2. Lizzi · · Reply

    So sorry. I remember seeing his comments here and they were always wonderful. I hope there’s more. Seems wasteful really, if there’s not.

    1. Agreed: “wasteful” is a good word in this context. And yes, Paul’s comments were often worthy of their own blog!

      1. They really were 🙂

  3. I usually pause when clicking the like button on sad news but it was an easy choice when the remembrance of your friend was so eloquently related. Thanks for sharing a difficult moment, it’s strength we can look to when facing our own, whether you intended it that way or not.

    1. My intention is always to share in a way that can apply to other people too, and while I can’t control exactly how it might, it’s very gratifying to hear when the words do affect / benefit others. So thank you for that, Sean.

  4. I am sorry for loss. Sounds like Paul was a wonderful man. May he rest in peace.

  5. Beautiful post. I am sorry for your loss.

  6. What a beautiful post, in honor of Paul. Having experienced a few painful losses recently, your eloquent post touches me that much more deeply, right now. It never ceases to amaze me, just how important and meaningful some of my “blogging friends” are in my life–– whether we’ve met in person or not. It’s so true: sometimes when I’m writing, I have one or another of them in mind, and they are always with me in spirit. Healing thoughts as you grieve the loss of your friend. xo


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