Paola’s life a story in pictures and words.

A Smile.

You will probably notice that most of the pictures I have of Paola show her smiling, this was never intentional, no fake social media here, no matter what Paola faced she always faced it with genuine strength and a real smile.

The first set of pictures are from inside the hospital, a place we got to know very well, 21 years of appointment and stays, death and life changing events were never far from us, if we were visiting a hospital it was either to check if the cancer had come back or Paola was about to try and cheat death one more time.

The main picture with her not smiling on a bed with red rails that is the night we went to hospital in an ambulance the beginning of the end, she had a silent heart attack and her heart was only functioning at 14%, she still fought on for seven days and lived long enough for me to have my birthday with her.

The following pictures are early in our relationship when we first found out about and began to fight the illness 1997/8.

The local Newspaper did a two week spread on us, local firms provided a holiday, the last one we were able to take, I cut all my hair off to match hers the chemotherapy had started by this point.

Paola was a creator no matter how much pain, how much was taken from her she always found a way to create, cards for friends were always unique and always planned 8 months beforehand, because she could only work for very short amounts of time.

She never gave up on her art, never stopped creating even days before her death.

All of the above were done by a person with arthritis that started at 21 years old and medication induced damage to her hand and arm muscles. I have over 100 paintings she did to photo and upload at a later date.

I sadly took very few pictures of Paola while we were out on our adventures, mainly because I usually had my hands full pushing the wheelchair, but I did get a few, you will notice she was always wearing multiple layers, The sun was very damaging to her and even on the warmest summer days she was cold due to the illness and medication.

I was never very good with a camera, a permanent hand tremble due to medication in my early years.

Most of these pictures she took while we were out on our adventures, all outdoor pictures were taken while I was moving the wheelchair, she never wanted me to stop, she became very good at taking shots on the fly, well I think so, tell me what you think.

The next section is various pictures I took of Paola over the years, not the best quality or ability but it is what we have, she also started making her own clothes at this time.