Paul Cowie, 29, was told he was terminally ill with brain cancer just one month before his son Carter was born, and now the little boy calls out for his dad in his sleep, his mum says
Image: Liverpool Echo/Carla Rawsthorne)
The toddler son of a man who died before his first Christmas calls out to “daddy” in his sleep, his devastated mum has said.
Paul Cowie, 29, had previously battled an 11-hour operation to remove tumours from his brain, and after an IVF battle with wife Carla the pair were expecting their first child – son Carter.
But just a month before their “miracle baby” was born, Paul was told that his cancer was returned and was terminal.
While battling the cancer, Paul and Carla welcomed their little boy, but just eight months later on November 26, 2019, Paul died.
Carter is now two, and Carla has been doing her best to raise the little boy knowing who is dad is and what an incredible man he was.
Although he doesn’t have any memories of the dad who loved him so much, Carter calls out for him in his sleep
She told the Liverpool Echo : “It’s absolutely heartbreaking. Some days, I feel like I don’t have time to breath, because my little boy, he’s two. He’s a toddler now.
“It’s just horrendous. He was my soulmate. He was my everything.
“And the struggle of living without him, it’s just heartwrenching to think that cancer could take a young life that quick.”
The couple got to do what they’d been waiting for all their lives when they married on August 24 at the Village Hotel in Whiston.
They’d booked the wedding the day they registered Carter’s birth, to make sure it happened in time.
Speaking of their special day she said: “It was a lovely day. It’d been raining all that week, and that particular day, the sun was shining.
“We had a very lovely reception.”
They went to Turkey after the wedding, but three days later, “he couldn’t walk”.
She added “There was a tumour on his spine. He had spinal cord compressions off a tumour on his spine. So he was bed bound from there on.”
Carla said: “I was absolutely destroyed. Absolutely destroyed.
Liverpool Echo/Carla Rawsthorne)
“Because he was a keen football player, and to see him like that – he didn’t really want to be like that.
“He just wanted to walk. He just wanted to get better, for his son.
“But unfortunately, the cancer took over him.”
But Carla wants Paul to be remembered for more than the cancer.
She said: “I don’t want him to be remembered as the lad who died of cancer.
“I want him to be remembered as Paul and the lad who would do anything for anyone.
“He was a remarkable dad. He leaves behind his mum, his little brother, his dad, his nan. We all loved him.
“It’s not really the best time of year as well. It’s coming up towards Christmas, and he’s going to miss Carter’s milestones.
“All he wanted to do was see his son grow.”
Carla struggles to get out of bed some mornings, but she keeps going, driven by a desire to be there for Carter and keep Paul’s memory alive.
In a way, Paul’s memory lives in Carter.
His mum: have a picture of Carter at Paul’s age. He looks exactly the same as him.
“He’s got Paul’s witty and funny ways. He laughs at anything. He’s just Paul in every way.
“I feel like I’ve got a piece of Paul growing up with me.”
Carter knows his dad isn’t around anymore, but at two years old, he’s still too young to fully understand why.
“We’ve got pictures all around the house and he says, ‘There’s my daddy!’, and he shouts out ‘daddy’ in his sleep,” she said.
“I think, as he gets older, I’ll explain to Carter that that is his daddy and he didn’t really want to leave him.”
She also hopes she’ll take Carter to see the world like his father Paul did in his 29 years on this earth, travelling with his mum and nan, and visiting Canada and the US across the Atlantic.
Carla wants Carter “to see places that Paul’s seen”.
She hopes other families won’t have to suffer this tragedy like they have, and she encourages people to push for tests and scans if they feel something is wrong.
Paul’s symptoms were originally dismissed as a normal headache before scans revealed a cancerous growth.
Carla said : “I just want to raise awareness of people who’ve got tumour symptoms and what to look out for, and to really know their own body, because if something doesn’t feel right, it usually isn’t right.”