Paul Roberts died last Wednesday morning in the hospital here in Strasbourg after a long illness. We only met three times in person, but he was JTO‘s closest work colleague from the time he arrived here in Strasbourg and she spent more waking hours with him in that time than with me. Although we met in person so infrequently, Paul was someone who would give so much of himself and was so close to JTO I felt I knew him so very well, and that he knew me well, so much so that I did what I could for him during his illness. His memorial service is today in the Grande Salle de ceremonie du Centre Funeraire Nord, Strasbourg Robertsau after which he will be cremated and his remains returned to England. The ceremony will include some words from the head of his division at work followed by a Welsh song Paul loved, some words from JTO as a friend and a colleague followed by ‘I Will See You in Far Off Places’ from Morrissey. Another colleague will say some words followed by ‘La Paloma’ before Paul’s last partner will read from a Lorca poem in Spanish which Paul knew by heart and it will finish with a song by Carlos Gardel which is a goodbye to a quarter of Buenos Aires, a place Paul loved and lived in.
Nobody knows what human life is.
Why we come, why we go.
So why then do I know
I will see you,
I will see you in far off places?
The heart knows why I grieve
And yes one day I will close my eyes forever
But I will see you
I will see you in far off places.
It’s so easy for us to sit together
But it’s so hard for our hearts to combine
Why? Why? Why? Why?
Destiny for some is to save lives
But destiny for some is to end lives
But there is no end
And I will see you in far off places.
If your god bestows protection upon you
And if the USA doesn’t bomb you
I believe I will see you somewhere safe
Looking to the camera, messing around
and pulling faces.
Paul rest in peace, we’ll miss you.