Rancho Santa Fe author eulogizes inspirational son in latest book
Biography encourages others to ‘Live Like Paul’
Children’s author Adrienne Falzon said her son Paul “was the person people went to for advice, for help, for anything” from the time he was a boy.
“From when he was a child, everyone realized he was just really special,” said Falzon, who lives in Rancho Santa Fe with her husband, Manny.
When he died about two years ago after suffering side effects from a flu shot, Falzon said calls and emails kept pouring in from friends with stories about Paul’s impact on their lives. As time went on, she found her own words to pay tribute to her son.
In a departure from her usual works, Falzon authored “Live Like Paul,” a biography about Paul and a memoir about the life lessons he personified in his 43 years.
“I had to do something with my pain, for my healing,” Falzon said, describing her inspiration for writing the book. “I didn’t know what that was, but I knew I would have to do something.”
A single mother, Falzon raised Paul and three other sons in Westchester County, New York. He went to college at Georgia Tech and settled in Atlanta. She described him as a “workaholic” who was involved in multiple business ventures, including real estate, ATMs and online gaming.
The book includes Falzon’s musings on grief and coping with death.
“People who have lost children or people who have lost loved ones, they’re going to want to know about what I’ve learned,” she said. “Maybe I can help them the way it’s helped me. That’s how I really went into the chapters of forgiveness and gratitude and grief and the afterlife.”
Falzon added that there are also lessons to be learned from some of Paul’s darker days. Paul, who was gay, struggled coming to grips with his sexual orientation and didn’t think people would accept him. While in college, he bought a gun after deciding to kill himself. He told two friends about his plan, and they quickly helped stage an intervention with a large, extended network of his friends.
Many people in the LGBT community have been driven to suicide under similar circumstances. Falzon added that many of them are not fortunate enough to receive the support and words of encouragement that saved Paul’s life.
“We’ve got to get rid of this hate because lives are being destroyed and lives were taken away,” Falzon said. “What about those mothers who lost their sons for being who they were born to be?”
She also said Paul never had any health issues in his life before getting a flu shot shortly before his death, when he made a routine visit to the doctor. Research has shown that deaths caused by flu shots are rare. In his final days, she added, Paul was bedridden. As his symptoms worsened, she said she begged him to go to the hospital to no avail.
Through the book, Falzon said she wants to keep his memory alive and inspire others to “Live Like Paul.”
“As seen by the legacy Paul left in all his friendships, and how he positively affected so many, we can only come away with the realization that it’s not the years in our life that matter, but it’s the kind of life we lead in those years,” Falzon said. “And, that life should be filled with giving, love, and acceptance of all those who may not be just like us — there isn’t another way to enjoy a fruitful and content life.”
For more information about the book and how to buy it, visit adriennefalzon.com.
Falzon, who has written several children’s books, also participates in many local organizations such as Breast Cancer Angels, USO San Diego, various literary societies, and is a board member of the Rancho Santa Fe Garden Club as well as the club’s membership chairperson.
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