Mum ‘stuck in time’

Marsha Cutlip Paul is flanked by her son David and his wife Michelle who died of a mysterious illness in Fiji. Picture: Supplied

MORE than two weeks after the death of her son, Marsha Cutlip Paul has broken her silence to share how grief has shrouded time — keeping her stuck to Saturday, May 25, the last time she heard David Paul’s voice.

She says her spirit soars when she prays, and her sorrow is eased by her faith and trust in Jesus Christ, but her heart is heavy because her mind “keeps picturing their bodies somewhere in Fiji”.

Her heart also breaks for her four grandchildren, one of whom is a two-year-old “who is without his mum and dad”.

“We are stuck in time and can’t seem to move forward,” she said from West Virginia, United States yesterday after returning from visiting a daughter who lives out of state. A deeply religious woman who attends the Hilltop Baptist Church in Fairmont, WV, Mrs Paul said she leaned very heavily on her faith to get through each day.

“Today started off just like each typical day lately, waking up and thanking the Good Lord for getting us through another night and asking Him to carry us through another day.

“I pray for the four kids that are left behind and ask for comfort for all our families.

“It is hard to remember the time any more — day, month and sometimes even the year.

“I seem to be stuck in some kind of time where it is always Saturday and the next day Sunday.

“Saturday is the last day I heard David’s voice from Fiji.”

On Saturday, May 25, David had called his mother to tell her his wife Michelle had died.

David had earlier texted his mother on May 23, asking his mother to wish his son Bradley a happy 12th birthday, adding that a present would arrive for the little boy the next day.

However, the next day David told his mother to “scratch” what he had said earlier because they were at a hospital all morning..

“We both caught a nasty virus,” he said in a text to his mother.

“I’ve never thrown up so much my whole life.

“Still feeling pretty bad.”

Mrs Paul said when her phone rang on May 25, she knew something was not right the moment she heard David’s voice.

“In a faraway voice I hear him try and tell me what has just happened and that Michelle has died.

“He said they had been sent back to their room after being treated and that Michelle had gotten worse and he was too weak to drive, so he got them a ride back where they tried to give Michelle an IV (intravenous injection) but couldn’t get it into her veins. “Then they had started trying to help her for over 45 minutes and she had died.

“He sounded in shock and nothing he was saying seemed to register to me as I handed the phone to his sister and she begged him to get more help.

“We believe after that call he went back for more fluids and treatment as we called the US Embassy and the villas were they were staying.” She said the family thought David would make it and were still baffled by his death on May 27.

“We are trusting the Lord each day to just carry us through all we need to do.

“I never know when the tears will come, I carry a big handkerchief, cry and then go on.”

Texas residents David and Michelle died two days apart from a mystery illness after arriving in Fiji from San Francisco on May 22.

The Ministry of Health and Medical Services said it was working with the US Embassy, as well as the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and World Health Organization, to help determine how the couple died.

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