Paul Stephen Joseph Forman ✵ 1960-2004

Paul Stephen Joseph Forman

Name at birth:  Paul Stephen Forman
Date of birth:  28/11/1960
Place of birth:  Orillia, Canada
Date of death:  06/09/2004
Place of death:  Courtenay, Canada
Resting place:  St. Michael’s Cemetery, Orillia, Ontario, Canada
Submitted by:  Lisa Forman   (



I felt compelled to write something when my brother Paul took his own life last month. It’s just a one-sided chat, really. I could write a book, filling in the spaces, and maybe, someday, I will.

I’ve never met anyone who had a sense of humour so similar to mine, that black, gallows stuff which left other mortals wincing and groaning, as we cackled conspiratorially. I’ll miss that.

My brother Paul’s death has brought me to the ugliest fork-in-the-road terror.

I remember easy, beautiful days when we were tiny, watching our mother prepare our father’s morning eggnog and then waving goodbye to him from the kitchen window as he went off to work. I’d giggle at what I called “Paul’s banana finger”, the lower portion of his ring finger on his left hand, which was hyperpigmented and grew dark hair. Our jaunts with our mother and our youngest brother Greg to our grandparents’ farm, my mother’s beloved “out home” supplemented our lives most happily. Grandpa who had endured a couple of strokes, used to direct us one at a time to light a pipe for him, and then chuckle as he’d tell us to smoke the pipes ourselves. We’d puff away as he regaled us with stories of his youth, dancing in Detroit and visiting the Calgary Stampede. We never tired of his tales, told in the vernacular of the day, eons before the advent of political correctness.

Our favourite days involved “going up the fifth”, the fifth concession of Medonte, outside of Orillia. The world was ours. One sunny afternoon, Paul, Greg, our dear cousin Maureen and I, climbed one of those sweet, rolling hills and found a giant boulder {well, it was giant to us}, only partially moored in the earth. I can see the photo that my mother took with her “it’s only my old” Brownie Hawkeye before we finally succeeded in releasing this huge rock, watching it roll and bounce and crash into the little valley below. Victory!

My relationship with Paul was never easy. We found plenty of opportunities to torment each other. I remember one feud which carried on as we sat eating our pie in front of the television set. I kicked him, whereupon, he turned and stabbed me in the leg with his fork. That certainly pre-empted any more kicks. After several minutes of detente, Paul turned to me, inspecting my puncture wound. “Are you ok”, he asked? “Did you eat your pie with that fork?”, was all I could think to respond. And he had.

The last time I saw Paul was last October 19, in the early morning hours of my forty-fourth birthday. We were dancing at our cousin Matthew’s wedding and Paul spun me around the floor ‘til I was doubling over with laughter. You would have to have seen Paul dance, to believe it. His body was the perfect conduit for the music he loved. He’d take me by the hand in between spins and lead me to the table on which there were some shooters. He take one for each of us, admonishing me that we needed to finish them before some bugger would take them away, and so we danced and spun and laughed and tossed back shooters ‘til they were gone. Our Aunt Donna joined us on the dance floor and we howled with laughter. It was the perfect ending to a wonderful day. Paul and Kim’s beautiful children, Maxine and Simon had been the flower girl and the ring bearer during the wedding ceremony earlier that day. I can see Maxine dancing with her daddy, his arms holding her safely as he gently swirled her around in her glorious and elegant white dress.

Maxine is very shy, as Paul was when he was small. She would take just a little while to warm up to me and then leap into my arms. “It usually takes her a few days, if ever, to warm up to a person like that”, he’d say, beaming, and it was the most rewarding thing he could have said to me. His beloved Maxine Riel.

Our church took part in a Miles For Millions walkathon in 1970, I believe. Paul and I each found many sponsors, but just before the walk, he wiped out on his bicycle, coming down a steep hill on the way home. One of his front teeth was knocked out, and he was too injured to participate in the walk. I went, however, but the weather was not kind. Rain forced a lot of people to quit at the eight mile mark. I trudged along, determined to finish the twenty-six miles. My parents brought my dear Grandma out in the car and found me on the route, imploring me to stop walking. I was stubborn and wouldn’t have given in, anyway, but in my mind, I was also walking for Paul, because he could not. I finished.

Until he dated Mary, who has a memory at least as sharp as mine, Paul was always suspicious of my ability to recall events. He used to scowl and mutter, “Lisa remembers the day she was born”. Well, Paulie, not quite, but I remember lots and will be here to tell your stories to your children, Maxine and Simon. I promise.

Peace, bro.

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