Michael Louis Serafin-Wells




Michael's Mom died suddenly, unexpectedly and he had to return from London to plan and hold her memorial service last week. What follows is the eulogy he wrote and delivered in Michigan last Friday:


She was the Homecoming Queen. She was the only child of a doting father who became an even more doting grandfather to my brothers and myself. Everything I am, everything I hope to be, I owe to my mother. I owe to her. Like my father, she is gone too soon. Like my father she leaves a treasured store of memories and a void that can never, will never be filled. My father died a bit too young and I was a bit too far away to ever really know him as a man. My mother took it upon herself to defy, to transcend geography. She came to see me in San Francisco and DC. We ate pizza and burritos in hotel rooms. Not at the same time. She came to New York every fall and often in the summer, too. What we'd do was - I would rent a car and drive home at Thanksgiving and she would ride back with me on the Saturday after and stay for a week in New York. It seemed a little daunting the first time, a ten-hour car trip, but it was revelatory and became ritual. We learned about each other in new ways. And our understanding, our bond deepened. And she loved New York. She loved the Upper West Side. She loved sourdough bagels from H&H, and the Goldilocks omelette at Sarabeth's and sitting in Central Park between the Delacorte Theatre and the Great Lawn. She loved The Met. She loved The American Wing and the Christmas Tree in the Gothic Hall. She loved New York in a way that made me remember why I did, in a way that made me renew my vows. She was evangelically optimistic. She was generous with her labor and her love and she held up her family and her friends. She treasured them and let them know. I loved her sense of humor. She was so funny. I loved her wanderlust, her sense of adventure, her willingness to embrace things that were new. She was the first person in our family to get a computer, a cellphone, to text message. Before most of my friends had begun, she shocked me one day by texting me. OMG! She loved texting. We would talk every Sunday - we had a phone date - but she would text me back & forth all the time. I miss that already. I find myself reaching for the keypad to tell her something and then remember. And then, to be honest, I text her anyway. Because somehow I believe that she intercepts the message now floating through the either faster than it could travel to her old phone. I was so encouraged, so proud that she resumed travels with The Nomads. I loved how she would call with news of what she thought a particularly exotic or even dangerous destination, detailing her concerns and then call me back - or more likely text - in half an hour with a triumphant "I'm going!". Her love of life was infectious. And I believe she enriched almost every life she touched, with her joy, her faith, her good humor, her steadfastness, her soulfulness, her heart, even her tears. Everything I am, everything I hope to be be I owe to her. I owe to my mother. I owe to you, Mom.