Paul Doe always sneezed in sets — which was why it didn’t worry his wife when she heard him sneezing in the kitchen.
As 9 News reports, the 34-year-old dad from New South Wales was looking forward to spending September 2 — Father’s Day in Australia — with his wife and son. The day before, he had told his co-workers he couldn’t wait for the Father’s Day hug from his 18-month-old son, Travis.GoFundMe
But that morning, Paul collapsed in his home after a sneezing fit. His wife, Belinda told 9 News that she and Travis had gotten up early and were outside gardening when she heard Paul moving around inside:
“I heard him walking around in the kitchen and he started sneezing.
This was normal for him. It was a running joke if he sneezed he didn’t just sneeze once, he sneezed 20 times in a row. That was just him.”
Travis went to see his dad, but the door was locked. As Belinda peered through the screen, she could see her husband lying on the floor, but didn’t realize something was wrong. She told 9 News her first thought was that her husband was playing a prank on her:
“It sounded to me like he was fake snoring. He […] thought it was absolutely hilarious to pretend that he was fast asleep so that’s what I thought he was doing.”
However, once Belinda went inside, she could see Paul needed help. She called emergency services and began CPR. Twenty minutes later, paramedics were working to revive her husband. They spent an hour trying to restore Paul’s vital functions, but it was too late.
The young father’s death was a heartbreaking blow. Belinda told 9 News her husband was a wonderful and patient father:
“Like any dad, the thing that he loved most of all was when he got home from work and Travis would come running to the door to greet him, all that kind of stuff.”
Paul’s employer also praised him as someone who always had “a huge smile on his face,” no matter how tough things were. The young dad was popular with his co-workers, who have started a GoFundMe page in order to help the young family cope with the loss.
Though it will be some time before a final cause of death is determined, the initial post-mortem indicated that Paul had a faulty aortic valve in his heart and suffered from emphysema.
Now facing a future without her husband, Belinda says she regrets the fact that they always put off getting life insurance because of money issues.
She told 9 News: “It was just something that as a young couple you know that you need to do, but you think you have all the time in the world.”