I have an older client by the name of Paul. He has a wonderful story to tell. I need to share it and I hope that he doesn’t mind.
Paul has an absolute positive outlook on life. He is retired from a rewarding career and now travels each year to Europe to photograph trains, waterfalls and interesting architecture. During the warmer months he tries to spend as many days as he can on the Toronto Islands. This summer of course has been so rudely interrupted by the strike. Paul, just like so many other fixed income individuals and families has been adversely affected by this selfish act. Normally, a few times a week Paul would take the Yonge Street subway line to the Island ferry and then spend the day on Centre Island and Ward’s Island.
Paul’s journey started before most of us were born. In 1938, at the age of thirteen, Paul and his older sister moved to England. His father foolishly believed the wave sweeping over Germany and eastern Europe would subside and Paul’s family would soon be reunited. Paul never saw or heard from his mom and dad again.
A year and a few months later the UK Declared war on Germany. Paul and the other teenage boys in his foster home awaited daily for death notices from their homeland. Many arrived, but Paul never received one. His mom and dad simply vanished, never to be seen again. But Paul strived on.
Paul was later to become a British Subject. He has since considered himself to be English and not German. And as a young man he converted to Christianity. Since then an active member in his church.
But Paul never forgot his roots. And he never missed a chance to help and support someone who had suffered the same losses he had. He met others who had been fortunate enough to escape the Nazis and Stalin but had lost family. And those that needed strength he encouraged.
Unfortunately Paul’s sister was never able to overcome the trauma that engulfed her life when her parents became victims of Europe’s anti-Semitism. Later in life she was admitted to psychiatric hospitals because of this trauma. She was never able to overcome the pain inflicted upon her by the devastation in eastern Europe.
Paul has overcome though. He still lives with the memory of his family destroyed by the Nazis. His mom and dad never heard from after 1938 and his sister who died still traumatized by that loss. Yet he is positive.
In my conversation with him last week he told me that we can all get on with our lives no matter what happens. All we need is faith and a positive attitude.