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from Patricia McLaughlin

I have had several roses from Paul.

On October 14th a Memorial Service to honour Paul’s life was held in Windsor Ontario.  At that celebration a fundraiser was held to benefit Families for Children, an organization which helps abandoned and homeless children.  This is a charity that was close to Paul’s heart.  It helps underprivileged children and it is centered in India, a country with strong ties to Sapna.  A collection box was placed on a table at the church reception and at Patrick O. Ryan’s, and people were encouraged to donate.

The day before Matt and Chris left Windsor to return to England, they opened the box.  Along with donations that were given personally to Matt & Chris, they discovered that a total of $1000.00 had been donated on Paul’s behalf.  It was left to me to contact Families for Children and to forward the money to them. 

On Friday October 21st I sent an email to Sandra Simpson at FFC to inform her of the donation.  The following day I was most surprised when I went to my email box and got a message telling me I had nine emails coming in!  They were all from Sandra Simpson.  The first one was from her thanking us for the donation.  The other eight were emails forwarded to me from FFC – they were a series of emails between FFC and Lawlor Rochester, a lawyer and Civil Engineer from Toronto. This gentleman has made many trips to India over the years to assist (all voluntary) FFC with their projects.  He was in India at that very time and that very day, the day I emailed Sandra with news of the donation, had been emailing Sandra regarding great problems with wells and water supplies.  They were having to remove pumps, repair them and re-install them.  In one email he was asking for permission to go ahead with a borehole – drilling 600 feet.  He said it would take a day to drill and would cost between Can $800 – Can $900.  He then speculated about where they might find the money to pay for this and went on to talk about soliciting donations to cover the cost.  He did not know that a donation for almost exactly that amount was on its way that very day, a donation made on behalf of Paul.  Surely it was no coincidence that these events were so closely aligned!  Paul had sent his rose.

My daughter, Louise, has related her story about her very serious illness and surgery on the day of Paul’s memorial service in Windsor. I firmly believe that Matt, Chris and Paul saved Louise’s life that day.  Chris has told me many times that Paul sent me to be with her in Vancouver and I know that Paul made sure his mother would be here in Windsor to insist that Louise was given the medical attention she so desperately required.  Our family was gathered from New York and Alberta for the memorial service for Paul and that day we gave thanks for our daughter’s recovery.  Our two families have always been very close, we have been together for the most important events in our lives.  On October 14th my husband John, our son Ian, our daughter Hilary and I were at St Alphonsus church meeting with those who were taking part in the celebration of Paul’s life while Chris and Beverley were sitting with Louise at the hospital as she was taken for her surgery.  We have a bond now that goes beyond this world.  Paul was present that day.  I know because he sent me a message.   During the morning of October 14th I was at Louise and Dave’s house looking after Rian.  I did not know what was happening at the hospital but was naturally extremely worried.  At 12.30pm I was putting Rian into her crib.  Sitting in the middle of her crib was a tiny, tiny white feather.  I knew as I looked at it that it was a sign from Paul that he was in that room telling me he was looking after Louise.  I could almost touch him!     

We are all aware of the good Paul did when he was alive, how he helped as a Eucharistic Minister at his church, bringing communion to the sick, how he fostered children through an international adoption agency for many years, how he never passed a homeless person without giving some help and how in his work he served the needs of the disabled while driving for Handi-Dart.  I am absolutely convinced that Paul is now working even harder to help those of us in the world who need his guidance and assistance.  I talk to Paul often and I get signs from him that he is listening.  I thank him for the roses he has rained on our family and know in my heart that when I make the same journey he made, he will be waiting to greet me.

You will never be forgotten Paul, and I will always remember your song you sang especially for me.

Pat(ricia) McLaughlin

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