I want to thank each of you for being here today. At this moment, there are people scattered throughout the world, in this country and abroad, who wanted to be here and would have been, if circumstances had permitted it. I extend my heartfelt appreciation to those individuals as well, because I know their love and prayers are also being sent to my mother. In particular, I want to acknowledge a very special woman, Clara Laughlin. My mother and I are eternally thankful for her steadfast friendship and devotion, down through the years. Clara was an honor and a timeless gift to my mother.
My mom, as some of you know, was a researcher in the field of life after death. In particular, she was focused on the area of Electronic Voice Phenomena otherwise known as EVP. She was a pioneer in this field, and spent years educating the public about it. My mother traveled extensively: to New York, Florida, Nevada, Illinois, Indiana and Georgia; she journeyed to the pyramids, temples, and deserts of Egypt; to caves in England; to the coliseums of Rome; to Switzerland, Luxembourg, and to the mountains of Brazil. Everywhere she traveled, my mother shared her conviction with those she met: the conviction that we do, indeed, survive death and that we ascend into a magnificent eternity. Mom had a way of leaving a part of herself wherever she went and in doing so, she forever became more of who she truly is. My mother was, first and foremost, a seeker and a pilgrim. In her sojourn through life, she brought comfort and hope to countless people.
But this seeker and pilgrim was also “my mom,” and I’d like to share a little of who that person was.
In earlier years, my mother had been a social worker for a children’s aid society, a first grade teacher, a camp director and a writer. When I was a child, Mom showed me my first rainbow. She got me through scarlet fever, chicken pox, the mumps, strep throat and a broken foot. Even long after I had grown into adulthood, she still fussed at me when I wouldn’t wear a hat in cold weather or forgot to put on my seatbelt.
Mom shared her jelly beans with me when we went to the movies and I shared my popcorn (no extra salt). She walked with me through the forests of Camp Woodlands where we crossed Friendship Bridge together. She taught me how to play the slot machines at Dover Downs in Delaware, and we sometimes watched the Leonids meteor shower in November and looked for eclipses of the moon.
Mom always kept an eye out for my brother’s favorite candy bars and made sure he got the Ocean City, New Jersey newspaper that she was a long-time subscriber of. She gave rose petals, lilacs, fresh yellow tomatoes and wind chimes to my sister. When her grandchildren were younger, she took them clothes shopping at the beginning of the school year, and she relished each and every visit from them. She always made sure my father got the comics from the Sunday paper. My mom always treated us to lunch on Mother’s Day—it was one of her ways of saying “thank you for being in this world”.
Mom loved scary movies and James Bond movies. She could both love and hate the Baltimore Orioles baseball team, all within the space of a single inning. She volunteered at the local church garage sale, collected donations for the National Kidney Foundation, the American Cancer Society and charities that help blind people. She helped support the Christian Appalachian Project and various American Indian reservations. Mom would help a neighbor if she could.
Mom loved the ocean, licorice, books, all the dogs she’s ever owned, robins in spring, video games, wind chimes, lime popsicles, spareribs, spaghetti, a good bowl of chili, (with beans), pecan pie, kites and balloons. She could laugh until she had tears in her eyes, over the silliest and smallest of things. She helped point the way to the Temple of Abydos in Egypt; my arrival there turned out to be one of the best things that ever happened to me.
Mom comprehended joy and anguish; she understood guilt and regret; she knew the healing power of solitude; she had her disappointments and triumphs. My mother possessed all the noble majesties and dark frailties of the human spirit, which are inherent in us all. And finally, my mother always had one foot in this world and one foot in the next, and sought to build a bridge between the two. This is my mother … all of this and so much more … the kind of person who weeps when dragons die.
One of Mother’s acquaintances, Anabela Cardoso, was once told by her friend and colleague in spirit, Carlos de Almeida, that: “Horizons far from you do not finish in the world but enter a sacred Universe.” I know my mother believed this and it was one of the lights that she lived by.
In closing, I’d like to say to my mom that it’s one of my eternal hopes and prayers that you are always and forever sanctified by the best that love has to offer. May you be everlastingly blessed with abundant laughter, redeemed by Truth, and consecrated by a joyful sense of wonder. At the threshold of the door of forever, there’s a welcome home sign for all souls. I know you’ll leave a candle burning for us in the window of Heaven.