Paul Heinz

Original Fiction, Music and Essays

A Modest Tribute to Nico Palania


I can count on one hand the number of times I met Nico Palania, but I didn’t need another hand to know that he was a gem of a human being.  What I lacked in personal interaction I knew from my daughter Jessica – that he was kind, caring, creative, ebullient, and most importantly, that he loved and cared for her and she did the same for him, which is really all a father could hope for. Last week I met Nico’s parents, sister, extended family and friends under terrible circumstances.  I heard their stories about a life that was far too short but also well-lived, and it only reinforced what I already knew. 

We don’t need reminders that life can be cruel.  Twenty-three is far too young to die, and twenty-one is far too young to experience this kind of heartache.  And then there’s the heartache of losing a child. My buddy Jim phrased it well when he said you never know when life is going to reach over, grab the wheel and turn it on you.  When it happens, all you can do is hold tight and carry on as best you can. 

Prior to Nico’s passing on June 1, my wife and I didn’t know exactly where things would lead, but we suspected that we would one day call him our son-in-law.  I wish time had allowed for that to happen.

So long, Nico, and thank you for loving my daughter for as long as you could.

Copyright, 2017, Paul Heinz, All Right Reserved