A leaf falls

I wanted to say a few words to thank everyone for the kind messages of condolences, support and love. Thank you, you’ve helped to make the unbearable a bit less unbearable. I’d also like to thank all the staff in Lightburn Hospital for their genuine care and concern which went over and above the highly professional treatment they gave Andy. They made me feel that he was safe, and they made me feel that he was looked after. They treated him with respect, and they ensured that he preserved his dignity. I will always be grateful to them.

Andy’s passing was peaceful. He died without regrets, without bitterness, and knowing he was loved. It was a good death, as good as a death can be. The hospital phoned just after seven on Wednesday morning to say that he was deteriorating fast, and they didn’t think there was long to go. I got to the hospital before eight. He was no longer able to speak, and his breathing was shallow and laboured, but he knew I was there. I opened the curtains so he could see the sky and sat with him holding his hand. I talked to him about the good times we’d had together. I told him that I loved him and always would carry him in my heart – but that I wanted him to let go and not to worry about me and the dug.

Then I said that all those years ago when we first met, I was living in Easterhouse, just up the road from Lightburn Hospital. We met, we fell in love, and he took me away on a great adventure. And then he brought me back home again. Everything comes full circle. At that he breathed his last and slipped away, his eyes on the morning sky above Glasgow, his hand in mine.

The world dissolved in tears.

While the hospital prepared some paperwork I went outside to smoke a ciggy, frazzled, tearful, standing under a tree outside the hospital on Carntyne Road. An early autumn leaf gently fell from the tree as I stood there, and landed on my shoulder. It was his last wee gift to me, a reminder of the cycle of life. All things must pass, so new life can grow.

I picked up the leaf and carefully put it in my wallet. When I got home I pressed it between the pages of the White Paper on Independence, a talisman for the future, a token of hope, golden with potential like Andy.

I will bury his ashes in a special place, and plant a rowan tree. In Celtic myth the rowan tree was the protector against evil spirits, the guardian and protector. Andy the London polisman will grow into a rowan tree, and will guard and protect us all.

When he told me, many years ago, that’s what he wanted, I laughed and said – “Once a polis always a polis then eh.” And he smiled that wee smile.  The smile I’m always going to miss.

The funeral will be held at Daldowie Crematorium on Saturday 13 September at midday. It will be a pagan ceremony and Andy doesn’t want people to dress in mourning black. He wanted this to be a celebration of life. It was only on reading all the wonderful comments, messages, and tweets of love and support, that I realised just how much Andy’s story has touched people and connected with them. If you felt a connection with him, you will be welcome.

Please don’t send flowers, instead make a donation to Maryhill Foodbank. Cut flowers wilt and die, but a gift to the foodbank is a gift of nourishment and strength. Andy would have preferred that.


152 comments on “A leaf falls

  1. Jock Scot says:

    You are in all our thoughts.

  2. cuddyback says:

    Oh, Paul… so sorry to hear this. Long may the rowan bear fruit… un abrazo fuerte. jon

  3. david says:

    Oh, Paul I’m so sorry. MIne was a chestnut. Its in the wee box with the special stuff. Big hug.

  4. Neil - your loving cousin. says:

    All I can send you Paul, is my love. As much as we may disagree on politics, my thoughts and love are with you. I’m glad that Andy didn’t suffer and regret we never had the chance to meet in person.

  5. Out of endings come new beginnings, Paul.
    Here we stand on the cusp of a new beginning bigger than most.
    It’s time to make all our dreams reality.
    This is Andy’s gift; a dream that we can all bring to life on his behalf and on yours.
    Stay strong, buddy, the new dawn is coming.

  6. I am a stranger to you both but your loss and sadness transcends those things. My condolences to

  7. Melvin says:

    In our thoughts Paul you are a gentleman and hope all is bright for your future, keep the love you feel in your heart forever.We all have felt a little part of your life ,reading your posts and hanging on every word.

  8. k hamilton says:

    so sorry for your loss. i believe though we are not here physically our spirit lives on and andy will be watching over you still and the leaf was a symbol of this love…your pain is shared by us all..

  9. Bob Kell says:

    Paul thinking of you hope you will continue your most beautifully writen posts please accept my condolences and look after yourself you have been a complete inspiration to me and a lot of others.

  10. liza says:

    I am so sorry for your loss. Your writings have sustained me -and I’m sure many others – with your wit, honesty and humanity. You have shared your journey with us Paul. You are very special. Andy placed his vote, his gift to us. Thank you.

  11. Bob Leslie says:

    Like Fiona, I too am a stranger to you. We have shared the odd e-mail – we have a mutual interest in España – but otherwise only these pages, written by you, read by me, in common. However, through these pages, you are not a stranger to me and I cried when I heard your news. So sad that Andy could not, at least, know of a YES vote, but, I suspect, it was your vote for him and his for you that most counted. And so it should be.

  12. So glad that you will plant a tree, Paul. There is something rather comforting about that. We’ve done it when members of the family died, and felt it was a new life that would bring pleasure not just to people but to a whole host of birds, animals and insects too. Much better than flowers that last a few days, and something you can watch grow and flourish.

    Hope all the paperwork (no matter what, there are always forms to be filled in), and preparations are now out of the way and that the ceremony goes smoothly. It’s always a comfort to feel everything went as the person wanted and would have liked.

    Recently, at the funeral of a friend, the coffin was draped with the saltire and The Proclaimers and Caledonia, along with other Scottish music) filled the church. He was, as you will have gathered, an independence supporter. Hopefully, we will be able to fulfil the hopes and dreams of so many who did not make it to 18th September by bringing home a Yes vote and ushering in a new era for us all.

    Thank you for sharing these last few weeks with us. I feel honoured to have been part of your life.

  13. Angus MacRuary says:

    Deepest condolences.

  14. scotsgeoff says:

    Love and thoughts to you Paul and your daughters.

  15. Papadox says:

    Deepest sympathy Paul. My garden over looks kicreggan and have been trying to rejuvenate it from years of neglect. Today I found a sapling of a rowan which was for the off, but not now, it’s there for ever, and it’s called Andy. Jin up old yin Andy would want you to carry on, as I know you will. Keep on keeping on. You are in my thoughts.

  16. macart763 says:

    No finer testament to life and hope.

    Oh rowan tree, oh rowan tree,
    Thoul’t aye be dear to me.
    Entwin’d thou art wi’ mony ties,
    O’ hame and infancy.
    Thy leaves were aye the first o spring,
    Thy flowr’s the simmer’s pride:
    There was na sic a bonnie tree,
    In all the country side.
    Oh rowan tree.

    I hope the sun shines Paul.

  17. mary vasey says:

    My thoughts are with you and will be with you on 13th. You will both be surrounded with love I know. xxx

  18. Sally Tardiff says:

    I am so very sorry to hear of your loss Mr. Kavanagh. I stumbled upon your blog as I’ve followed the rocky road to independence from here in the U.S … always wishing I could be there to put an X in the YES box. The #weegingerdug could make me laugh and cry and smile in recognition … I’ve never met you …or the dug .. and never got to meet Andy … but wish I had.

  19. cearc says:

    I have lots of young rowans of various sizes in my garden, they sow themselves throughout the woods.

    Would you like one? If so what sort of size?

    Thinking of you.

  20. partialtrust says:

    Paul, I don’t really have any words that will make the loss of Andy any less painful than what they are. Pretty sure Andy will have been fucking proud of you with this blog and all the things you’ve done looking after him and for the independence cause. If I was close by I’d give you a hug+ embrace in the only way a 6′.1″ 20 stone hairy man with moobs could give Dunno what else to say.


  21. Sheila Dowling says:

    So sorry for your loss, Mr. Kavanagh. Your wonderful writing has inspired us all.

  22. roddymacdonald2014 says:

    My condolences, Paul. You and Andy were extremely lucky to have found each other.

  23. Bugger (the Panda) says:

    A wee tear.

    Pandas have tears too.

  24. george clarkson says:

    So Sorry to hear of your loss ,nothing will take the emptiness away ,but ,in time ,you will learn to live with it ,I still miss my wife 5 years after her passing and there are always small reminders which will always bring a tear to my eye ,but in a way that makes her live on in my mind ,
    Be well and take care of yourself
    Your words have been a great hope for many people
    Thank you

  25. JimnArlene says:

    Our condolences, Paul. Thank you for sharing your story, beautifully written and from the heart. I’ve always liked the idea of planting a tree, to remember loved ones, a more fitting reminder than a stone. Life renewed kind of thing.

  26. Colin McGovern says:

    My sincerest condolences.

  27. Adam says:

    You have shared one of the most intimate things a person can go through with all of us, in such a way as to have moved even the most cynical. For this I can only offer my deepest condolences at this sad time. I would like to see the Rowan tree when it’s planted.

    Much love

  28. Scottishdragon says:

    I’m so sorry for your loss. Planting the rowan tree is such a lovely idea. I have one in my garden, and will think of you and Andy when I look at it.

  29. Steve Asaneilean says:

    Cannot make it to Glasgow but will donate to Maryhill Foodbank and let them know why.

  30. Gin ye wad prie the spirit o Daith,
    open wyde yeir hert in the bodie o Lyfe,
    for Lyfe an Daith is aw ane, even as
    the skelterin burn an the sea is aw ane…

    For whit is ti die, but to staun naukit
    afore the wund an ti melt intil the sun?
    An whit is it ti stap breathin, but ti free
    the braith frae its restless tydes, sae it micht
    growe foraye an seek for God unhinnert?

    Anelie whan ye waucht frae the river o seilence,
    sal ye trulie lilt,
    an whan ye hae wun til the peak o the ferr ben,
    wul ye stert ti sklim free,
    an whan the yird gethers back yer spauls,
    syne, ye sal trulie dance!

    from “The Prophet” by Kahlil Gibran

  31. hiorta says:

    May the Great Spirit of all Life bring you strength and upliftment.

  32. Thoughts with you Paul, let flow with the emotions no matter where or when. Glad the wee dug is there to comfort you. Safe journey Andy and to you in continuing yours.

  33. patricia1967 says:

    With deepest sympathy at this sad time, I do not know you personally Paul, however have been following the ‘wee ginger dug’ for a few months now after stumbling across a Facebook YES page and have to say Paul you really do touch peoples hearts. When I read your posts I get this strong feeling of faith, belief and confidence in our future, for a stranger to make another stranger feel that way simply through words says you really have a gift. Take care…..”Death leaves a heartache no one can heal but love leaves a memory no one can steal” x

  34. Hazel Smith says:

    Had to wipe my eyes a few times reading your post and the replies from everyone. We all feel such a connection with you, even though we have never met. You and Andy had something very special. I too have a Rowan tree in my garden and will always think of you when I look at it now. You have been such an inspiration to us all on this road to our independence, even though you were going through such a difficult time. Glad you have your wee dug to comfort you.

  35. Carrig Mick says:

    I love our Rowan tree and wait with bated breath in deep winter for a flock of Redwings to appear to feed on its bright red berries. This year (and on) my wife and I will think of you and Paul. Our sincere condolences and much Love from the Emerald Isle. M

  36. Horacesaysyes says:

    My heart goes out to you (and the dug), Paul. And although it may not seem like it now, the fact that you were able to have that time together with Andy at the end, to say your goodbyes, will be a great comfort in time.

    But even more importantly you were able to have all those years together, in love, and that love will never die.

    Take care.

  37. rowantree633 says:

    Rowans self-sow all round our patch of ground and their berries are beautiful. We leave them to their own devices. A great choice of tree…

  38. allan sayers says:

    Paul I am so sorry to hear Andy has passed away. I feel like I have known you both for years and there is a tear in my eyes.

  39. David M says:

    Paul, You and Andy came into our lives as strangers a matter of months ago, but through your touching, common sense and wonderfully humoured writing you have both been an inspiration to us to move on and create a Scotland of equality which we all dream of. It is so sad that Andy will never see the realisation of his dream. It is up to the rest of us to make sure it happens on 18 Sept. We’re all thinking of you Paul and the wee ginger dug. You’ve made a difference.

  40. Jan Cowan says:

    Although I can’t be at Andy’s funeral, you will both be in my thoughts. I agree with you on contributions towards Maryhill Foodbank. I have never liked cut flowers. I love living plants and the rowan is one of my favourites. Its leaves, as Burns says, always appear first and its glorious crop of berries are the first to be welcomed by the birds. Love to the loyal wee ginger dug.

  41. Aucheorn says:

    Our sincere condolences, next Saturday we’ll think of Andy as we continue to campaign for Independence, I think he would approve.

  42. dn says:

    My sincere condolences, and am glad that Andy’s final passing was peaceful.
    Will make a donation in his memory

  43. Morag says:

    So sorry for your loss. I have great admiration for the strength you have shown and your ability to write such moving pieces even though Andy was declining. A new star shines in the sky tonight.

  44. patricia1967 says:

    With deepest sympathy at this sad time. I don’t know you personally Paul but came across your blog whilst reading a Facebook YES page and I am now a regular reader! Your words always strike a chord and written from the heart with honesty and passion, and they always make me laugh and smile (this being the exception). For a stranger to make another stranger have belief and faith through words is a true art, and very special. Keep this going Paul it has inspired me and I am sure many others who follow you! Take care…..”Death leaves a heartache no one can heal, love leaves a memory that no one can steal”

  45. majormacbloodnok says:

    Thanks Paul for allowing us to share the burden of this sadness with you. It’s difficult to express how much your writing has uplifted all of us these past months through your wit, humour and compassion, but just know that it has. With people like you living and writing in Scotland I know that we cannot fail. Best wishes, MB.

  46. I am genuinely in awe of your words. I feel I have none of my own to give you, they seem so small at a time like this. But my thoughts are with you.

  47. Anne Lyden says:

    I,too, have a rowan tree. I’ll take more notice of it now as it’s just taken on a special significance. I hope you can all enjoy the celebration of Andy’s life on the 13th. Love & hugs x

  48. mogabee says:

    Rowans are strong, quick to develop their grace and character…An excellent choice.
    Thinking of you.

  49. Maggie Craig says:

    So sorry, Paul. Love and a hug to you and the dug. I’m too far to come to the funeral but I’ll make a donation to Maryhill Food Bank in Andy’s name. We’ll all remember him. We have a wee rowan tree in a big pot just outside the door to keep the witches away. For the first time ever, this autumn it has produced berries.

  50. Linda Tollan says:

    Big hug to you Andy and the dug. I was brought up in Islay and the Rowan tree is called the fairy tree, as you say it’s a guardian tree. I will make a donation to Maryhill food bank.

  51. sair fecht says:

    So sorry for your loss Paul. I hope it’s of some small comfort that Andy gave us all a precious gift before he passed. He voted for Scotland’s independence – for you, for him, for the dug, for all of us who follow your blog, and for Scotland.

    You’ve also given us a gift. This blog, and your witty, incisive and often moving posts have made us laugh and cry – usually at the same time! You have the gift of being able to lift all our spirits in the face of the relentless onslaught from Project Fear. That you’ve done all of this, whilst going through the most difficult period of your life, is truly inspirational, and a testament to your character.

    But most of all your gift is allowing us to share your personal journey with Andy, to Independence.

    Take care

  52. Jonathan says:

    Once again, moved to tears and uplifted. Paul, you are one of those people who make the world a better place. Here’s to Andy, the Englishman who with his vote helped to make Scotland a better place.

  53. yesvote2014 says:

    Gach uile beannachd air thu fhéin ‘s a’ chù ‘s a’ chraobh chaorainn. Gum fàs a dearcagan cho lìonmhor rin luchd leughaidh agad. Gun cum thu dol a Phòl, gar neartachadh is gar brosnachadh, na strainnsearan a tha tighinn còmhla aig crois rathaid do bhlog bhriagha, ‘s gum faigh thu taic bhuainne air dòigh air choireigin, mar a tha thu toirt taic dhuinne.

  54. Donna B-S says:

    All the best Paul, may Andy rest in peace.

  55. MoJo says:

    You have given us so many beautiful words – here are some for you Paul -and the dug- at this from American poet Edna St Vincent Millay

    Dirge without Music
    I am not resigned to the shutting away of loving hearts in the hard ground.
    So it is, and so it will be, for so it has been, time out of mind:
    Into the darkness they go, the wise and the lovely. Crowned
    With lilies and with laurel they go; but I am not resigned.

    Lovers and thinkers, into the earth with you.
    Be one with the dull, the indiscriminate dust.
    A fragment of what you felt, of what you knew,
    A formula, a phrase remains, — but the best is lost.

    The answers quick & keen, the honest look, the laughter, the love,
    They are gone. They have gone to feed the roses. Elegant and curled
    Is the blossom. Fragrant is the blossom. I know. But I do not approve.
    More precious was the light in your eyes than all the roses in the world.

    Down, down, down into the darkness of the grave
    Gently they go, the beautiful, the tender, the kind;
    Quietly they go, the intelligent, the witty, the brave.
    I know. But I do not approve. And I am not resigned.

  56. Genna Millar says:

    A really beautiful post. I’m sure the tree will grow tall. Keeping you in my thoughts today xxx

  57. Linda Cunningham says:

    Love and strength to you.

  58. lorna cruickshank says:

    Once again your gift of words have left me weeping.Gentle hugs to you and the dug,who I’m sure will bring you comfort and a reason to get out of bed and the house in the next few days.Andy will live on in your heart and his spirit will soar on the day we all vote yes. xxx

  59. Caledonian Lass says:

    Even in your darkest moments of grief you think of others. You’re an inspiration to us all, Paul.

    Love the idea of a rowan tree. They’re beautiful trees. I have one in my front garden and two at the back.

    I’ll send a donation to the Maryhill Foodbank in memory of Andy.

  60. Stoops says:

    I am so sorry Paul. I wish you every strength. We are all beside you.

  61. Gabriela says:

    Dear Paul, we never met personaly, but I use to listen about you from my friend. You have sad days now. Please, accept my condolation. You have to be strong now for your life, Andy will be with you for the rest of your life.

  62. Keith Hynd says:

    Paul such sad news we are all with you in spirit at this sad time and our thoughts are with you.

  63. Annie McFarlane says:

    You regularly make me cry with your beautiful words, but today is different, I’m crying for your own loss, the loss of the man you loved. God bless him and keep him. God bless you as you face life without him. xxx

  64. Vicky says:

    This poem fragment has always brought me the deepest peace after loss.

    “Though lovers be lost, love shall not; and death shall have no dominion.”

    I am a Buddhist so the ‘prayers’ I have, and will continue to say, for Andy are my sincerest and most loving wishes for his soul.

    He is now one of the cornerstones for a new and free Scotland and he will never be forgotten.

  65. Oh dear…am just greeting my een oot after reading that. A big hug to you my friend. Bless you. xxx

  66. Chris Wands says:

    Send me your address in a PM, or email.

  67. Rosaleen says:

    So sorry Paul. Your love for each other and Scotland shines through all your writing. Hug for you and the Wee Dug. x x

  68. A Rowan Tree, I can think of nothing more appropriate.

  69. simon says:

    “Once again, moved to tears and uplifted. Paul, you are one of those people who make the world a better place. Here’s to Andy, the Englishman who with his vote helped to make Scotland a better place.”

    couldn’t say it better.

  70. Morag says:

    Take heart, we’ll do him proud, x. Mo.

  71. arthur thomson says:

    I am so sorry pal. The rowan tree lies at the centre of my childhood memories. A fitting reminder of your man. Love from me.

  72. hektorsmum says:

    Paul I can think of no better tribute to Andy than to nurture a Rowan, if any tree is a symbol of Scotland the wee Rowan is the best. A donation will be made to Maryhill in Andy’s name. From both of us, Helena and Andrew.

  73. mo Mhorag says:

    I’m so sorry Paul. I know there’s nothing I can say, however well meant, that will make you feel better at this time, but I will send a donation to Maryhill foodbank in Andy’s name.

  74. Amy says:

    I hope that all the love for you contained in the replies here comfort you in some small way. You are in the thoughts of so many people who only know you through your posts. You are an inspiration to so many which is why so many are hoping to comfort you at this time. Xxxx

  75. Audrey says:

    Andy is in the Summerlands now Paul. The Goddess will protect him. Brightest Blessings to you, your family and Wee Ginger. )O(

  76. Shellyb says:

    I am so sorry Paul. Words escape me. Such a touching tribute to Andy and the love you both shared.

  77. I didn’t know Andy. I don’t know you other than what’s been blogged but there’s an affinity between us. Between us all.
    Thanks for opening up your heart. If the world was a cowboy film, there are way way more folk with white hats than black hats.
    RIP Andy and may your tree flourish.

  78. yesguy says:

    Thoughts are with you and the family Paul.

    R.I.P. Andy .

  79. Kaiser Tia says:

    Such a beautiful tribute. Thoughts are with you.

  80. Teri says:

    I’m sorry I can’t make it to Andy’s funeral, Paul, but my thoughts will be with you as you say your final goodbye. You have so many loving treasured memories of your time with Andy. He may be gone but those wonderful memories will be with you forever.

    He will be watching over you, guiding you and protecting you at all times. I believe when our loved ones pass on, they are still but a whisper away. Speak to him. He sent you that leaf as a sign. I’m sure he will send many more signs to you to help you decide the direction in which you and the dug must now travel.

    I will make my donation to Maryhill Foodbank. I’m sure Andy would approve of that rather than flowers.

    Take care, keep in touch with us all.

    Big hugs

  81. liz says:

    Paul, you are a poet and I also have no words except my thoughts are with you. Your wee dug will be a comfort to you as will your daughters.
    Liz x

  82. bringiton says:

    So sorry Paul.

  83. A Meringue says:

    I have a rowan tree in my garden. Im away to tie a tartan ribbon to it for Andy.

    See you at Daldowie.

  84. davidmccann24 says:

    Paul. You have been an inspiration to all of us on here. You shared your joy and now we share your sorrow, with love and friendship.

  85. Rosa Alba Macdonald says:

    Made a donation to a local foodbank in memory of your Andy.

  86. Alabaman says:

    There is a saying that “words are cheap” but when it comes to you Paul,you make words “talk”, it is as if you are personally reading the message out to each of us, sorry to hear of Andy’s passing.

  87. hazelwoods says:

    Andy has joined Margo and others up there to guide a few pencils on 18th. There will be a good few people swithering and suddenly find their hands guided to YES.

  88. MacBee says:

    Ach.. I was having a wee peak throughout the week waiting to read an update and know that you are still there. I am one of those readers who doesn’t usually post. I came across your blog and was hooked after reading your take on the Eurovision song contest (a belter, if I might add) and have followed you ever since. So as a stranger, to write anything on something so deeply personal as what you have gone through, I feel like a presumptuous eejit, but, sadly, that feeling has never stopped me before so why change now.

    I am sorry your heart is broken, that perhaps clocks tick to loudly at your house and perhaps you and wee ginger have those exchange of looks that say ‘so what now?’ I would wish that it didn’t hurt so damn much but I know that something that important and special could only hurt if it’s no longer physically there.


  89. Jeannie says:

    Oh Paul, your heart must be heavy without him. He sounds like such a wonderful man. I’ll be happy to make a donation to the Food Bank and I was thinking, if all of us who have the space planted a wee rowan tree for the referendum, there would be a natural display of our hope, visible for years to come, a reminder of this special time for future generations. You’re in my thoughts, Paul x

  90. Mammy says:

    Our love for you is our legacy to you our support is our gift to you I knew Andy as a gentle man and True friend see you as soon as I can. Xxxx

  91. Kuehler Grund 35, Heidelberg says:

    Beautifully written. I shall think of you both on Saturday next. That leaf, a talisman. I fervently wish it to be one of thousands that give nourishment to countless rowans in a future Scotland, one that Paul and Andy would be proud of!

  92. Sinclair Macleod says:

    Paul, we lost our son seven years ago. What sustains us is the memories of the good times and I’m sure as time passes, your wonderful memories of Andy will make you smile once more. Thank you for all you’ve written during your own difficult time. On the days that the MSM have made me feel our dream is impossible, the Wee Ginger Dug lifted my spirits. Sending you love and positive thoughts.

  93. elfkat says:

    Blessings on Andy’s new journey. Fair winds and following seas and courage and peace to you who is left behind for now. Hugs from a Scot and pagan in California.

  94. So very sorry, Paul. Thinking of you in this very sad time. I’ll make a donation too and tying a tartan ribbon in one of the rowans in my garden seems like a fine way to remember I man that I never met, but thanks to your beautiful writing, feel that I knew.

    Much love

  95. Rookiescot says:

    I dont think I will ever see a Rowan tree in the same way again.
    In fact I’m going to plant one. I’m going to sit my kids down next to it and I’m going to tell them about two very special human beings called Andy and Paul.
    And I’m going to tell them to tell their kids.
    Here I am. A 47 year old ex soldier who prides himself on being tough.

    And I’m crying like a new born.

  96. I have followed your story and blogs and have been highly amused by some of them and reduced to tears by a few. I cannot express how sad I feel for your loss, it comes to us all sooner or later and me and my four dugs are sending you healing hugs and kisses to you and your wee ginger dug xx

  97. Hugh Wallace says:

    So sorry for your loss Paul. My thoughts are with you. Rest peacefully Andy.

  98. Davie G. says:

    Paul, here’s something to return to in the weeks to come

    Feel no guilt in laughter, he’d know how much you care.
    Feel no sorrow in a smile that he is not here to share.
    You cannot grieve forever; he would not want you to.
    He’d hope that you could carry on the way you always do.
    So, talk about the good times and the way you showed you cared,
    The days you spent together, all the happiness you shared.
    Let memories surround you, a word someone may say
    Will suddenly recapture a time, an hour, a day,
    That brings him back as clearly as though he were still here,
    And fills you with the feeling that he is always near.
    For if you keep those moments, you will never be apart
    And he will live forever locked safely within your heart.


  99. Heartfelt condolences, you wonderful man. x

  100. McTim says:

    Paul, I won’t be able to make it to Andy’s funeral but I have no doubt whatsoever it’ll be a grand celebration of a wonderful life tragically cut short. The world would be a much better place if more people were such wonderful, caring and gifted human beings like Andy was and like you are. I hope that your memories of him will sustain you in the days, weeks and months to come, and that all of us here can give you a reason to smile and look forward to the future when the result is announced on Sept 19. I hope I’ll be able to give you a big hug for real before the year is over.

  101. Free at 63! says:

    “He whom I have loved and lost is no longer where he was before. He is now wherever I am.” (St. John Chrysostom) I took great comfort from these words when I was widowed and I hope you do too, Paul. Will donate to Drumchapel foodbank as I know they are finding it difficult.

  102. I’m sorry to read about your loss. Rowans are my favourite tree, they remind me of Scotland and my my family.

  103. Tony says:

    Paul just read this and on showing it to Jan she was overcome with emotion. What a brilliantly written piece,I’m sure Andy would be proud. Your ever loving brother

  104. Charles Lind says:

    The night before last I posted this on gaurdian CIF. “The clock is ticking. Take a deep breath. Tense your muscles. A cautious country is about to take a leap of faith in itself. And when we land our feet will be planted firmly on a path we choose for ourselves.” With huge gratitude and sympathy to Wee Ginger Dug. The best commentator of the referendum who lost his soulmate yesterday. Take peace brother and so many thanks. Yours and Andy’s contribution has been immense x”
    I say this because, despite never having met you, there have been several times when your humour and humanity have seen me through occasional waverings and because I know just how difficult it is to use grief positively. Take care big man. Rowan trees are beautiful in so many ways x

  105. Anabel Marsh says:

    So, so sorry. Sending love from a stranger, one of the many whose lives you have touched with your words. Rest in peace Andy.

  106. naesleep says:

    So deeply sorry for your loss. Your love for one another is a beautiful thing. Thank you for sharing this with us and for sharing this journey with us; I am sure I am not the only one who feels humbled by it. When I vote ‘Yes’, I will think of Andy, of Margo, of all those whose dreams are carried on in our hearts and minds. Sending you strength for the days ahead – for the start of this new chapter x

  107. Well you made me shed a tear! I think we all wish that someone could write something as nice as this about us after we go.

  108. Please accept my condolences Paul.

  109. vronsky says:

    If you ever go to climb the Five Sisters of Kintail there is a standard starting point. A thousand years ago I camped there with an old, dearly loved and sorely missed girlfriend. We piled out of her battered car (she was a witch, and called it her broomstick) and camped where we’d stopped. Next misty morning, de-camping for the climb, we realised that we were in what once must have been someone’s garden. Some not quite random rubble here and there – and a rowan arch, still standing where there must once have been a gate, floating in the mist.

    Andy has just walked through the gate.

  110. Elizabeth Buist says:

    My heartfelt condolences at this sad time. My thoughts are with you and your family.

  111. Finnula says:

    My thoughts are with you and your wee dug at this difficult time. Our Yes votes will be x’s sent with love to Andy and soon we will be waking to our country flooding with the bright light of Freedom and Andy will be smiling down on us all.

  112. Michael says:

    I was so sorry to hear your sad news. Your blog has been an inspiration for so many – I hope it can be a source of comfort to you now. We’ve never met but I’d like one day to get the chance to share a coffee and talk about Valencian days with you. With love. x

  113. Clootie says:

    “Here is one of the worst things about having someone you love die: It happens again every single morning.”
    ― Anna Quindlen, Every Last One

  114. Andy says:

    I watched the news tonight. YES are ahead in the polls. And then, for no reason, I thought of your Andy. He didn’t get to hear the good news, we are winning. A bit at a time, we’re getting there. So many others fought all their lives to put Scotland where it is today, on the threshold of a brighter future, and are not with us to see the fruits of their work. They were dismissed as cranks, “wan o’ they Nationalists, nutters the lot of them”. And now, today, to be in favour of Independence is the new norm. Changed days indeed. I hope he is watching as the final chapter of a long story unfolds and that on the 19th, he sits back with a satisfied smile as we, who are still here, celebrate, and remember those who are not.

  115. JGedd says:

    Your writing is a testament to the person who was Andy and your loving and poignant account of his passing is fittingly heart-breaking. The choice of the rowan tree is sweetly apt since with its mythological associations as the guardian tree it was also one of the first species to colonize after the last Ice Age and always seems as much the archetypal Scottish tree as the Scots pine. Andy will be one with the landscape of Scotland, where he came to rest.
    What a wonderful tribute to Andy that so many people who never met him have been so moved by the telling of his loss and feel that loss personally.

  116. maybolebuddie says:

    Paul , Andy’s leaf has fallen and so has the better together tree, replace this with Andy’s Rowan tree his time has come and also our independence, wonderful epitaph!

  117. Stuart Clark says:

    Hard to know what to say to someone I have never met. Yet, through your writing, writing that inspired and lifted the spirits through all that Scotland’s detractors had to throw at us, I feel a strong sense of connection. I feel unforeseeably touched by your loss.

  118. Christopher Carnie says:

    Dear Paul, you have brought all of us, your readers, into your heart and home. Andy and the beautiful written tapestry that you wove around him will be remembered by all of us.

  119. john says:

    Paul we as a family are lost for words but by your actions we have come realise their are still some very caring people left in the world . and it replenishes our faith in fellow human beings

  120. Sad news. Much love and thoughts. xxx

  121. Steve Bowers says:

    Brave words Paul, I have so much respect for you. Plant the tree and nourish it. XX

  122. purplebadger says:

    A beautiful and bittersweet post.

    Much love to you, Paul.

  123. Kerry says:

    Hi Paul, I regularly read your blog but have never commented until now, seemed like an appropriate time to let you know just how much your writing has meant to me.

    Your witty, eloquent, common sense and friendly writing has always been a joy to read. I often share it with my family and friends too. I was so sorry to read of you and Andy and the tough times you were facing and of course the sad news of Andy’s passing. I want you to know you have both been an inspiration to so many, dealing with the some of the hardest things a person can face with such love, humour and grace! You are not alone, we have never met but you have a friend in me. xx

  124. Sheltie2014 says:

    For those who can not be with us, we have this land on loan from our grandchildren.
    Andy look over all of us xxx
    Take cake Paul xxx

  125. Tommy B says:

    Long time lurker, avid reader, so sorry to hear this news. I feel he did live to see independence, he must have sensed it, the vote is a formality, independence is here, it’s palpable, something unstoppable, keep doing what we’re doing, already the chains are broken. This moment in time is special. You and Andy have inspired so many and played a part in this new-old country of our’s necessary rebirth.

    Love, hugs, best wishes.

  126. Rosemary Champion says:

    So sorry to hear about Andy’s passing – he is at peace now and I’m sure he would want peace for you too. Our thoughts are with you x

  127. This superb blog – and all the wise, insightful words therein – have been quoted by me so many times, and by hundreds [thousands?] of others.

    I don’t know you Paul, but I wanted to say thank you and offer my heartfelt condolences through this painful time. Strength and love to you.


  128. Tom says:

    You’ve made us laugh and you’ve made us cry with your beautiful writing. Deepest sympathy

  129. I just wanted to add my own appreciation, to the many other voices on these pages. Your writing has carried me – all of us – through the past few months. My thoughts and my heart are with you.

  130. Sue Varley says:

    Paul you are an amazing man – even in the depths of the pain of your loss you are willing to share your leaf of hope with us. As so many have said, we know you only through your writing and the love you and Andy shared shines through every word you write about him. You have created a community here on Wee Ginger Dug, and I am glad that you are able to find some comfort in the response from your blog friends.

    A couple of days after my Dad died a small bird of prey came and perched for a few minutes on the wall in the small back garden – never seen one before or since anywhere near there – I believe it was (or was sent by) Dad’s spirit. It has often brought me comfort when I think of my Dad, I know his spirit lives on some other place. I pray the leaf Andy sent will always bring you solace too.

    I was at the Neil Gunn memorial today, there is a beautiful rowan tree laden with shining red berries planted by the gate, I thought of you both when I saw it. A fitting and lovely memorial to a man who’s last purposeful act was to protect Scotland.

  131. Recovering our humanity. Daring to hope.

    Being touched by grief, a grief suffused by love.

    How amazing Andy voted.

    How amazing you share so deeply, and your sharing invites us all to be honest with ourselves and each other. Huge thanks from us all to you both. I would hope we find a way for honest humanity to speak and be heard, to take the lead and be respected, to dream and dare and end poverty in this rich rich nation.

    Let’s do our politics with real humanity, not clever sound bites.

    Thanks as ever.

  132. What a beautiful and honestly written piece. Thank you for sharing this with us. Sending my best wishes to you, and may you stay strong and ever hopeful.

  133. Clarinda says:

    “It’s coming yet for a’ that,” perhaps Andy knew it, always hopeful within our heads, hearts and hands.

  134. Oh. In tears.

    Will send a peerie penny tae da foodbank.

    Setterday I work for Yes. And du and Andy will be in me towts. So very moved at his last formal act wis a postal vott fur wis aa.

    Yes on da 18th. An if we loss in September, we winna loss bi muckle. Yes candidates no joost SNP in 2015 to seek da balance o pooer, Yes in 2016. Yes as long as he taks

    Swing spider, swing

  135. weecopey says:

    My heartfelt condolences, your beautiful words have made me laugh, smile and cry like a baby. Thank you for your unending positivity. When we win this Andy will be smiling down on us all knowing he helped us get there.

  136. jdman says:

    There is a debt of gratitude that can never be repaid,
    That you and Andrew should hold your lives up for all to see at the most momentous period of your own lives and the country is deeply humbling, stand tall shoulders back and look on with pride for the life that was and the love that shall prevail for as long as you live and beyond,
    We are your freinds one and all.

  137. Jacqueline Gallacher says:

    Beautiful words Paul, I hope you and the wee dug find comfort in each other

  138. Beautiful words. I am a stranger to you both, and cannot attend as I have other duties,
    but would like to express my sympathies, and my thanks.

    Air cruas nan creag
    tha eagar smuaine,
    air lom nam beann
    tha ’n rann gun chluaine;
    air mullach beò
    tha treòir nam buadhan,
    air àirde ghil
    tha ’n lios gun luaidh air.

    On the hardness of rocks
    is the ordered thought,
    on the bareness of mountains
    is the forthright verse,
    on a living summit
    is the might of talents,
    on a white summit
    is the garden that is not named.

  139. Dougie Douglas says:

    Heartfelt condolences Paul, when the history of our country’s independence is written there will be names that belong to the blogosphere, without those people what is going to happen would not. Behind each of these names are husbands, wives, partners who give just as generously – they give there partner to the cause.

    With thanks to Paul and you.

  140. NorthBrit says:

    Your writing is beautiful and it’s difficult to express my admiration for the dignified way you and Andy have behaved right to the end. I am so sorry for your loss.

    You have given us the end of a beautiful love story – the sad part. Maybe when the pain has dulled you could write a book on the rest of it and tell us the full tale of the adventure.

    “The Rowan Tree” might not be a bad title.

  141. Dear Paul

    I’ve never met you, but I’ve enjoyed your blogging and writing for some time now. I have no words other than to say I’m sorry for your loss. I’ve found your writing quite moving and my thoughts are with you and your family.

    Many thanks

  142. Mythril says:

    In death there is rebirth. May the Goddess and the Mountain Ash protect. Sending all my love in honour of a life lived and a sprint shared with those whom he loved.

  143. jamie macdonald says:

    It’s warming to see so many caring comments Paul, nice wee part in the post about the leaf -I love that…thinking of you buddy… Choose the best rowan tree you can find.. I completely trust your judgement…

  144. linda says:

    Its the blood of the ancients, that flows through our veins. The forms may pass but the future remains.

  145. themadmurph says:

    Jings, I’d obviously missed this. So sorry to learn of your sad loss. If you can, take strength from your cyber friends and followers and fellow travellers! Keep the faith Paul. There are many who have travelled this road but not got to see the promised land. Hopefully, we are the lucky ones!

  146. mindovermutter says:

    A Meeting…in a part

    In a dream I meet
    my dead friend. He has,
    I know, gone long and far,
    and yet he is the same
    for the dead are changeless.
    They grow no older.
    It is I who have changed,
    grown strange to what I was.
    Yet I, the changed one,
    ask: “How you been?”
    He grins and looks at me.
    “I been eating peaches
    off some mighty fine trees.”

    Wendell Berry

  147. Cait Clarke says:

    Oh Paul! I didn’t see this before the post I wrote earlier. I’m so very sorry to hear Andy passed. He was a fine man, as are you. I wish you much love and strength. Xxx

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