I love you to the moon and back: Cancer victim's final words to son
"I WILL see you soon. I love you to the moon and back."
Those were the last words of devoted husband and father Paul Stroud to his young son just hours before his death.
The 31-year-old, of Churchdown, was diagnosed with bowel cancer in May, and learned shortly afterwards that it had spread to his liver and it was terminal.
He died on Thursday, November 8 in the arms of his wife Vikki, 25.
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"I said goodnight and 'see you in the morning' to him the night before he died, and he said 'you probably won't'," she said.
"He knew he was going to die so we got the kids in and he told them he loved them. He lived for his kids.
"He did make it through to the morning and we got family and friends around and everyone said goodbye.
"Then we just lay together chatting and he fell asleep in my arms."
Despite being given only six months to live, Paul went through chemotherapy right up until his death.
"He wanted to be able to say he went out fighting," added Vikki, the mother of their two children; Harry, aged four, and Ella, 18 months.
"He never moaned about it once either."
Paul, who used to work for Clarkson Evans Electricians, was an avid Gloucester Rugby fan, and his love for the club has transcended beyond his life.
Vikki said: "He wanted his ashes sprinkled at Kingsholm, he loved that club.
"He didn't want anyone to wear black at his funeral either, there will be some cherry and white I'm sure. He organised the whole thing."
She added: "He was a jack the lad. When he found out he had cancer he bribed my mum to buy Skysports and ESPN so he could still watch all the rugby!
"He used to play rugby for Old Richians up until the age of 28 but he had an accident on his motorbike and his injuries meant he couldn't play again."
The pair met at the Hogs Head pub in Cheltenham while out with their own groups of friends, and the initial meeting wasn't exactly a fairytale one.
"I thought 'what an idiot'," said Vikki.
"But we soon got chatting and got on and we would have been married for five years in December."
Paul's funeral is at Gloucester Crematorium on Thursday, November 22 at 1pm.
Vikki also said she would like to thank Dr Shepherd, consultant Cath Blinan and GP Drewett for their help during Paul's treatment.