Surrounded by love, Dr Vivian Frances Paul made her transition from life into death at approximately 12:30 a.m. on 27 September 2023. She died just 10 days before her 75th birthday, after battling stage IV cancer since her diagnosis in August 2020.
Vivian wanted us to remember that she had a great life, and she felt grateful for everything she achieved and experienced. Born 6 October 1948 in Winnipeg, Vivian grew up in a large and loving family that prioritized hard work, education, family, and faith. Despite humble beginnings, she won a scholarship to McGill University, where she studied chemistry before leaving on an adventure to study fashion in Paris. While abroad, Vivian decided she wanted to be a doctor. She climbed Machu Picchu and worked as a flight attendant for Air Canada while awaiting the results of her medical school application. The day she got into medical school was one of the happiest days of her life. Vivian attended medical school at the University of Manitoba, then moved to BC and began working in family practice and obstetrics in Langley and later Vancouver. Vivian raised four children while maintaining a busy family practice along with frequent maternity shifts at St. Paul’s, Peace Arch, Surrey Memorial, and Burnaby Hospitals.
Around all this work Vivian also loved to have fun. Every summer she would vacation at Shuswap Lake with her husband, children, and grandchildren. She also traveled with her husband, Robert Douglas, to Hawaii, Japan, Bermuda, Alaska, Newfoundland and Labrador, Mexico, and Argentina (for tango lessons). She enjoyed church, dancing, swimming, playing bridge, book club, and spending time with her children, grandchildren, and friends.
Throughout her life, Vivian touched the hearts of many of her patients and colleagues with her caring and extraordinarily thoughtful nature, and she made wonderful friendships along the way. Toward others, Vivian was gentle, kind, compassionate, nonjudgmental, patient, and empathetic.
Vivian was very grateful to her doctor, Isaiah Bregman; the BC Cancer team, including Dr Sharlene Gill; and the Palliative Care Unit at Vancouver General Hospital. She had the opportunity to attend a Callanish retreat for adults diagnosed with cancer, and she was incredibly grateful for this experience, which helped her become at peace with her departure from this Earth.
—Claire Gordon Pijanowski
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