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Wednesday, May 30, 2007


Thank you for all the birthday greetings and good wishes. I had a quiet day at home and enjoyed a marathon of phone calls. The bulk of cards came yesterday since Monday was Memorial Day with no mail delivery. Becky and I spent most of the day together since she was off work and the time went by before we knew it. For Becky, that meant back to work for her and for me, it was housework.

Being alone doesn’t mean you are lonely. I am a person who has never known what “boredom” means. Yesterday I enjoyed changing one of the rooms and having a fresh “look.” What it “doesn’t” mean is that I no longer miss Rocky. I will always miss him but I choose not to let it ruin each day. That would be something that would dishonor the gift God gave us for the six great years we had. It would also dishonor Rocky’s trust in me……that I would be “O.K.” We knew it wouldn’t be easy but we both knew I would make it through.

At times we all wonder what our purpose in life is. When Rick Warren came out with his blockbuster book, The Purpose Driven Life, it was on the best seller list. If you hadn’t read it before, you were certain to read it after the bizarre event where a young mother was taken captive by a fugitive and they spent the night talking about the book. I received the book with a leather bound journal from John and Barb.

Years ago I thought to be used of God, you had to be Billy Graham or a Pope or something significant. That turned into an idea that you would have to give up everything and become a missionary or something. I yearned “to do” something to show my gratitude but found He wants us “to be.” The “to do” thing is what we conger up thinking we’re helping God out…..He is much more interested on our inside, our motives. “To be” is the attitude He can work with.

I was a lazy Christian and didn’t find out answers for myself. If Christ was a “personal” Savior then I needed to get into His book. I am thankful for the mass media and knowledge from books today that we didn’t have when I was needing my answers. It was mainly me and the Bible or pastors and Sunday School teachers. I learned they don’t always have the whole truth either so it became my mission to find out for myself. Something we should do with every endeavor.

Usually we wake up and discover we have been doing the things all along that is our “purpose.” I have always tried to offer a helping hand when I could. Sick, down on your luck, hospitality, a shoulder to cry on, advice when asked, a listener, a helper or one who shares. Simple little things that helped at the time but were a comfort to others. I grew up watching my parents and other family members doing the same so I came by it in a practical way.

I’m a free psychologist, nurse, hairdresser, seamstress…..whatever! I’m your girl!

Until the next time, I am,
Essentially Esther

Monday, May 28, 2007


At 10:00 tonight I will officially be the ripe old age of seventy-five. I have to laugh when I think about my opinions as a much younger person. Anyone that old was surely about to die. I used to feel sorry for them. Well, I guess I was right, actually, but now that I am almost there, I’m thinking……so THIS is what it feels like to be that old.

Several friends and family members have called today and asked how it feels to be seventy-five…..actually, I don’t have a clue…. how are you supposed to feel at seventy-five? Is there a certain way one should feel at a certain age? I don’t know how others sum it up but for me, I got here one day at a time. Today feels like any other day. They are all good.

Our lives are a sequence of days joined together, one at a time until we have a chain of them that turn into weeks, months and years. It has come to my attention lately that time is more valuable than money. Time cannot be reclaimed, skipped, borrowed from, pushed into high gear, bought, wished for, or saved up like vacation days on your job. The experts tells us time is our most valuable asset and I agree.

I have been blessed with the things that women need, hope for and pray over. My husbands were all good men who looked out for me and cared for my children. I lived through tough times but it made me better. I have lost greatly but learned with each loss. I have known disappointments but always came to higher ground. I have had many dear friends and I don’t remember one enemy. I have known the heights and depths of love and I have given much……I have received much.

I have lived long enough to know for certain there is a God….that He loves me, has been with me long before I was ever brought into being and I know I will be with Him forevermore.

That’s how it feels for me to be seventy-five.………

God bless,
Essentially Esther

Thursday, May 24, 2007


For those of us who love cats, it is a dilemma to be reckoned with. The outside cats seem intent on killing anything that moves. Last night I was able to rescue a small bird from Chevy, the young male. I noticed him letting something go and then catching it again ……my immediate reaction was to chase him down and grab the bird. I hate the way cats tease and torment their catches.

Around and around the three large bushes in back we went. Lovey became interested in the action and was set to grab the prize Chevy and I were after. My success was in Chevy’s youth…..he suddenly became aware I didn’t like what he was doing and ran off. Barely getting the bird before Lovey closed in….. I checked for blood or broken wings and stroked it‘s small head to ease the shock it had been through…..then carried it to one of the large bird feeders we have for safety.

I went about filling the bird feeders and giving them fresh water, keeping my eye on the little bird. When my back was turned he flew off the feeder but I don’t know how well it could fly…..I saw it hopping in a zig-zag motion down a slope to heavy foliage where he disappeared. I hoped he would be able to fly after gaining more strength……at any rate, his chances were better than in Chevy’s mouth.

I was walking Mandy out back this morning and noticed a young blue jay already dead from Lovey’s prowess. A short while later I was coming back from the garage and found a large dead toad with it’s head missing. It sickens me to find such good little creatures ambushed and killed by cats who have no need of food. They often times pass up tuna or salmon which I feed them on a regular basis to hunt for something they usually don’t eat.

There has to be a moral lesson in it all. We can save some but not all. We can do good sometimes but not all. We rejoice in what we can do and embrace pity for what we can’t. I still love my cats because they only do what is natural to them. I will still fight to preserve helpless creatures when I can…….and I will still try to understand the way we are made and why……I realize it is beyond my understanding but something in me wants to keep trying.

I will never give up trying……..

Until next time, I am,
Essentially Esther

Wednesday, May 23, 2007


I find there are basically two kinds of people. The ones who build fences and the ones who make wings. We are all on a journey of somewhere and nowhere. It isn’t so much the destination as it is the journey. The destination is decided at some point in our life and we either believe the way to get there or we miss the road completely. It is in reaching the destination that completes the journey.

I remember the Olympics one year and it might have been the one in Australia. One of the swimmers was hopelessly in last place……way back in last place. The crowd roared for the winner, the second place and the third place. They hardly noticed the swimmer who continued with his laps until he was obviously the last in the pool. Suddenly, the crowd got into the moment and cheered for the last place swimmer. When he climbed out, exhausted, he was greeted with a hero’s welcome. Once in a while people get it right.

When one thinks of life experience and the options we have it seems a pity to dwell on the winners all the time. How about dwelling on those who finish in spite of the odds. For some it would be a victory just to get into the pool. I remember a teacher telling me one time how difficult it is for blind people to swim. There is no ability to tell if they are up or down once they are in the water. They have to trust the directions of the teacher to overcome their fear of water.

Who or what has impacted your life? For me, reading was a wonderful tool to take me out of my circumstances. Reading could take me to wonderful places I would never see and introduce me to people who only lived in the books I read. Like Jo, in Little Women, I wanted to be a writer. I’ve been writing one way or another all my life and Becky’s middle name is Jo after one of my favorite characters. I never tried publishing and never will but writing has afforded me the freedom of expression and great joy.

So what do you do with each day that keeps you going in the direction you purpose? Do you build fences to keep people out or to keep you inside? Do you make wings to fly out of the boundaries that hold you in? Some live in isolation their whole life, by choice, while others seek and discover the unknown.

Is one better than the other? That is what we each decide. The Einstein’s of the world, the ones who live for a single solitary purpose sacrifice all for their quest. They lock themselves away to search out the unknown. The ones with wings soar and climb the heights to bring the beauty of music, painting, writing and breathe life onto canvas, paper or instruments.

Just be true to the journey, however, wherever it takes you and we will all meet at the finish line………………

Until the next time, I am,
Essentially Esther

Tuesday, May 22, 2007


The first thing I would like to do today as I splash words across the screen, is to thank the ones of you who read and take time to comment. It means so much to have your encouragement, especially now. I always print off what I’ve written for the day and the first one to read was always Rocky. He would give his approval and even though I would proof read before printing, he would do an excellent job of editing for me. Many times I’d have to go back and edit out something or put something in. I will miss that. He was always very proud of my writing and knew it would be a great source of healing for me after he was gone. He was right.

Rocky knew me better than anyone. Because he loved me I was always on his mind. Not only the many years we were separated but after we were married. He took the time to notice what I liked, or didn’t, and made it his business to see that I was shown how much he valued our time together.

I was reading a nice quote from my Rick Warren daily calendar and it talks about the value of time. I quote: The essence of love is not what we think or do or provide for others, but how much we give of ourselves….The most desired gift of love is not diamonds or roses or chocolate. It is focused attention. Love concentrates so intently on another that you forget yourself at that moment. Attention says, “I value you enough to give you my most precious asset….my time.” Whenever you give your time, you are making a sacrifice, and sacrifice is the essence of love.

Rocky had the courtesy and ability to allow your conversation. He wasn’t dying to cut in and out talk you…..he was more intent on what you had to say. He was slow to speak when asked a question but when he answered it was a “thought over” answer. He considered you, he was interested in you and he always left people with a smile on their face. I don’t think any of us were aware of his gift or how gracious he was……we were always caught up in the moment and walked away feeling good. In retrospect I see clearly how he put himself last in every encounter.

It is healing for me to talk about him because it keeps him close. One of the nicest things you can do for a friend or family member who has lost their loved one, is to allow them to reminisce, to laugh, to cry. Sometimes it is awkward for them but when they find you can speak of them it allows them to do the same. It is always a happy time for me when others remember how Rocky impacted their life. He would be very proud to know just how many there are. Proud and humbled.

Today makes the fourth week of Rocky’s life in heaven. Rocky didn’t die, he just went into greater life. Death is a lie to a Christian because we go from life to life. I am not afraid of ending this life because I know the next life is one of love and truth. My prayer is that everyone who reads this is prepared for that next life to come……it is found in John 3:16...so simple a child can understand and so powerful it will change your life now and forevermore.

Essentially Esther

Monday, May 21, 2007


A funny thing happened on the way to_____________. How many comedians have you heard that line from? Maybe it’s just the old vaudeville guys but it always set you up for a laugh. This afternoon I thought I would be good to myself and take a nap……that thing I promised myself I was going to do when I retired…and never did. Anyway, I was on the bed trying to sleep and the phone rang. It was the “Grief Counselor” from Hospice wanting to see how I was doing.

Was I eating right? Was I getting enough sleep? Was I sleeping all night? Do you eat much protein? Do you get out? Do you have friends who call, a church to go to or family nearby? After she kept me on the phone a half hour I gave up the nap idea and decided I’d better get serious about writing a blog for today.

She was very courteous and pleasant…….I enjoyed her phone visit and gave her permission to call again. She is a volunteer who works in conjunction with Hospice and I appreciate her offer to come for a visit but a phone call will suffice. I have been on the phone quite a bit today trying to cancel Rocky’s credit cards. Thank heavens he only had three or I’d still be on the phone. Such a mumbo jumbo of numbers to feed into an automated phone “person”. I should probably have had the Grief Counselor come to make me feel better about the credit card debacle because I wasn’t too happy when I finally completed the cancellations.

It’s hard to be too upset on a pretty day like we are having here. There has been bright sunshine with a cool breeze, beautiful sky and everything growing like crazy. I am looking forward to fixing my porch pots soon. They give so much pleasure and are handy to water on the front or the deck. “Handy” being the operative word there.

It’s time for me to feed the birds, put fresh water in our three bird baths and put Becky’s little kitty in the garage for her. She will be getting home late from Jefferson City so I’ll put her little “Chicky” in and feed her strays. I have two different strays who come here each evening to eat about dark…….they discovered Napoleon’s cat food and bread cubes and after I saw them creep over to eat what was left I began putting out enough for three diners. God help the poor little critters that are thrown out into a cruel world and have no where to go.

Rocky and I loved watching the birds together. We have so many song bird varieties here and the other day I saw a huge Pileated Woodpecker in our back yard eating bugs from an old oak stump. It isn’t an every day occurrence so whenever we see him it is special. Watching the birds is wonderful entertainment when you have as many as we do…….they are little important folks who bring a flash of color as they travel to and from our many feeders…………

Until tomorrow, I am,
Essentially Esther

Saturday, May 19, 2007


For Sunday reading I would like to print the other part of what I shared yesterday. I assume it is by the same author but at any rate……it is not original from me. I know there are many people out in cyber land who are hurting, grieving and feeling their life has ended because they have lost a loved one. I can tell you for sure, it is going to change, but it is not over. There is still much you and I can do for the cause of living a life to honor our loved one………………….


The time of loss is a time you will not forget. It is a time that is breaking you open and re-shaping you. You will never be the same.

Remember: you can shape this time, even as it shapes you. You are not powerless. You are not entirely at the mercy of whatever has happened to you. It may feel that way to you at the moment. You may wonder if you’ll ever regain control of your life.

The truth is this: you will and you won’t, and that’s good.

You will regain more control over your life with the passing of time and in the living of your days. Your hurt will decrease. Your feelings of emptiness will subside. You’ll be able to look back and see the happiness. You’ll find yourself starting to look forward and to feel more hopeful. You’ll sense you’re more yourself.

And, at the same time, you won’t regain control. For you’re coming to know that ultimately much of life is beyond your control, and beyond anyone’s control. It can be lived, but it cannot be contained. It can be appreciated, but it cannot be narrowly confined. It can be embraced, but it cannot be held too tightly. For life ultimately is a gift. It comes from far beyond you, and that is also it’s destiny.

May the experiences you are living through help you toward those realizations. May you be on the path of living your life for all it’s worth. And never forget: it’s worth a great deal. (copied)
For most of us, we know where we have been and where we are now and where we hope to go in the future……the only problem is that we are not guaranteed any tomorrows. My father-in-law was elderly and always said, “Tomorrow, I will do thus and so, if the Lord wills.” I found that strange as a young woman but now that I am well along the senior path, I understand what he meant. Our tomorrows are not for us to decide but rather belong to God who is constantly shaping us and molding us for His purpose. We need to be grateful for all of our yesterdays and for today but the tomorrows are in His hand to be lived for His good.

He will provide for the journey and we need to learn as we take each step. Life is after all a learning experience and how we live it is where character comes into play. Every phase of our life is a one-time shot. From childhood to adult, marriage and children, grand-children and old age, we are on a trial-run for it all. By the time we have it down pretty good, the next phase is upon us. The truth is, we are all in “stages” from the cradle to the grave.

Just remember, there is something to be learned from every success or setback and it helps if we gratefully acknowledge the good times and grow from the bad. God will always bring us through with a better understanding.

That’s just the way it works…….I didn’t make the rules.

Until the next time, I am,
Essentially Esther

Thursday, May 17, 2007


I realize I am not the only woman to lose her husband on April 24th although my world seemed to stop with Rocky’s last breath. There is a negative side to death, but does it serve any purpose? Does it help to brood or blame or become bitter? It just lengthens the process called grieving.

I think I began grieving the minute I heard Rocky’s doctor say he had colon cancer and it had metastasized to the liver. From that day forward we knew our time together was limited and we fought hard for every day we were given.

I don’t know where I came across the following piece of writing but it is good reading and if you have lived a long time you know it is “right on.” If you have lost a loved one at any time it might help you to read it.


I believe there is no denying it: it hurts to lose.
It hurts to lose a cherished relationship with another, or a significant part of one’s own self.
It can hurt to lose that which has united one with the past, or that which has beckoned one into the future.
It is painful to feel diminished or abandoned,
to be left behind or left alone.
Yet I believe there is more to losing than just the hurt and the pain.
For there are other experiences that loss can call forth.
I believe that courage often appears,
however quietly it is expressed,
however easily it goes unnoticed by others:
the courage to be strong enough to surrender,
the fortitude to be firm enough to be flexible,
the bravery to go where one has not gone before.
I believe a time of loss can be a time of learning unlike any other,
and that it can teach some of life’s most valuable lessons.
In the act of losing, there is something to be found.
In the act of letting go, there is something to be grasped.
In the act of saying “goodbye,” there is a “hello” to be heard.
For I believe living with loss is about beginnings as well as endings.
And grieving is a matter of life more than of death.
And growing is a matter of mind and heart and soul more than of body.
And loving is a matter of eternity more than of time.
Finally, I believe in the promising paradoxes of loss:
In the midst of darkness, there can come a great Light.
At the bottom of despair, there can appear a great Hope.
And deep within loneliness, there can dwell a great Love.
I believe these things because others have shown the way---
others who have lost and then have grown through their losing,
others who have suffered and then found new meaning.
So I know I am not alone:
I am accompanied, day after night, night after day.

----James E. Miller

Each of us is on a journey, some near the end, others just beginning. The cycle of life is ever moving on from generation to generation. Our hope is that we will come to the end knowing we have done our best and that we leave a good legacy behind. The time to make sure that happens is today, this hour, this moment. It is by our love that they will know we have been with Jesus.

Until the next time, I am,
Essentially Esther

Wednesday, May 16, 2007


I am no expert on anything, let alone a topic like “love”…..but I have loved deeply with great abandon and been loved back the same way. That makes anyone realize how special it is. It doesn’t “just happen” and it isn’t something you can make happen. There is a strange chemistry at work between two people that explodes your brain and hits your heart like a Mack Truck…….or in Rocky’s case, a Freightliner.

Some people deal with love like cough syrup. They spoon out a dose at a time, kind of syrupy and pop the cap back on. Don’t want to run out…don’t have too much to pass around. We all know people who “love” when it’s profitable or for their best interest….they’re like a faucet. It’s turned on and off by command. Some love like a bottle of ketchup ……the Heinz 57 variety. They pour out all over everything and leave a lot of stains behind.

Love, the way I see it, is an ever growing thing. An inspired thing. When Rocky’s daughter, Holly, Becky and I were caring for Rocky in his last days, the three of us became a sisterhood. Three strong women who were working in tandem to make Rocky as comfortable as we could. A loving wife, his loving daughter and my loving daughter. We became as one to see him through to the other side. It wasn’t easy, we weren’t insulated from the pain of losing him….but God took us through the tough part.

I’ve never heard anyone say they were loved “too much.” In a family like ours, Rocky had two other marriages as did I. That’s a lot of baggage to bring to a third marriage but we were convinced our families would love us as we loved each other…..and they did. Love is never afraid of the outcome. Love guarantees the outcome.

When we gathered to pay our last respects to Rocky some of our kids met for the first time. What a meeting it was. His kids and mine putting their talents together to honor Rocky and his life, trading stories and working side by side to make it happen. Team effort with a common goal.

The more you love, the more love you have to give. I don’t know how or why but it works that way. Everything in the “now” will pass away but love will lead and follow us to our final destination. It’s the one thing we won’t leave behind and it’s the best thing to do while we’re here.

Love is God shining through us………..

Until tomorrow, I am,
Essentially Esther

Monday, May 14, 2007


My heart is too full to write right now. John and Becky have eloquently written about the Memorial Service and I will be writing as soon as we finish returning things and writing thank you notes, etc;

The whole service can be viewed on John’s site…… and Becky also wrote on hers. I am very proud of my blended families for their effort to be here and to make a very special farewell to Rocky. To John, Becky, Holly and Janet for their crash project of pulling it together in only 18-days……. I am amazed at their coordination and talent. John had massive editing of pictures, video’s and music to expose the very heart of Rocky in less than a 20-minute DVD.

The girls did the planning of the memory table and arranging the front with Rocky’s athletic gear….all of which you can read about on Becky’s site. Rocky’s Holly and Janet worked through the night several times to get the embroidery finished on tee-shirts for the family and weightlifters to be worn during the service, (which was Jonathan’s idea……Becky’s son.) Then they made lapel ribbons and stars and little cloth-covered Kleenex packs to be handed out to the guests.

Food was prepared by Rocky’s sister Marie and Helen, Rocky’s brother’s wife, for the many people who came to our home afterwards for a last chance to visit before being scattered in every direction. George, my oldest son, helped in the kitchen keeping the ice-cubes flowing into the glasses and helping wherever he could. Michael, Rocky’s oldest, was running a little late but arrived in time to eat and join in all the visiting.

The list is endless…….from the weightlifting team and Craig, the owner, who prepared the gym for the service, to our church who supplied the chairs it was a massive effort made in a short time. All felt a great pride in being able to do “something” which made them feel a contribution made in Rocky’s honor. The building was bulging with love and resolve to make a fitting tribute to a good man.

I will write more of my emotions, gratitude and memories of the very special day and as the weightlifters always say…….‘I hope to make it my personal best. You only win over yourself, you never make your teammates lose by the weight you pull………

Weights and life are only satisfactory unless you give it your “personal best”………….

Until tomorrow, I am,
Essentially Esther

Thursday, May 10, 2007


I won’t be able to write again until after the weekend. Family and friends will be arriving all day tomorrow and we will have a wonderful reunion. Many meeting one another for the first time…..it is bitter sweet.

Everything is prepared and ready, just have a few last minute things to finish at the right time. Rocky would be amazed to see all the fuss……so many people loved his quiet manner and kindly way. I am so happy that he will be showcased in a proper and loving way, not only by his own family but mine as well. Everyone loved the Rock.

I want to take time to thank all of you for your extended love and prayers to us and we do feel them. It is times like this when we realize how much we depend on prayer to keep us going.

From our hearts to yours, I am,
Essentially Esther

Wednesday, May 09, 2007


I wrote a blog earlier and was about to publish when I was interrupted. When I came back the blog was gone and nowhere to be found. Evidently what I had written wasn’t important enough to post….or else my Sassy cat gave it the boot when she exited the desk after I left the room. Huummmmmm……

Let me just say, we are moving towards completion of the Memorial Service on Saturday. John has been in constant touch with Becky and me and has finished the DVD. He is working on the rest of the service and things will be ready by the 3:00pm time on Saturday.

When you marry in your senior years you have lots of family to bring to each other. Rocky and I were blessed because we each liked the other’s children. It was never a dutiful decision but a matter of the heart. I inherited a brother and sister with their spouses, all of which I greatly respect and admire. My only brother died in 1989 of lung cancer.

The amount collected at the bank for the Rocky Memorial Power Meet so far is $1300. Rocky’s daughter, Holly, is machine embroidering shirts and towels for sale at each annual event which will be part of the registering package for each Meet. Proceeds will go to the Memorial Fund to perpetuate the event. We have a lot of planning ahead of us with Craig, the owner of the gym, and Rodney the APA coach. They are both gung-ho about it and the guys are also. To win the RockStar Trophy it will take a lot of hard work to compete, to train and to exhibit the degree of excellence Rocky put forth when he was with them.

For now I must get at my list for the day……..time is slipping away. I can hardly wait until Saturday when all of the planning comes together. Equally nice will be to see all of our families, many of whom will meet for the first time.

Our theme will be to celebrate Rocky’s life in a fitting way and after that……..to pick up our lives again and make him proud………………..

Until the next time, I am,
Essentially Esther

Monday, May 07, 2007


Another Monday morning but unlike just any ol’ Monday. This is the week when the family will be gathering, as well as friends, for Rocky’s Saturday Memorial Service. John has been in touch with us all weekend and is nearing completion on the project. It has been hard to get so much material in a pleasing format in so short a time. I know it will be good if John does it….he won’t quit until he likes the finished product.

The weekend went by quickly. Becky always comes down to eat with me so she was in and out. We moved the bedroom furniture back in place and went over the list of things to be done. We stopped by the gym on Saturday and the coach and guys were there. We needed to talk to Rodney about last planning for Saturday. The guys were glad to see us and still in disbelief their “RockStar” was gone.

Big Joe, the kid who dubbed the name of “RockStar” to Rocky had been his room-mate on one of the lifting trips. He said Rocky bugged him about using all the shampoo and not leaving any for him. Of course, Rocky could “comb his hair” with a washcloth because he shaved his head all the time. Joe loved his pestering.

I listened to one of my favorite pastor’s sermon’s last night on TV. He was saying that people watch you so much more than they listen to you. Preaching or criticizing does no good for most…..but watching a consistently pleasant person who shows love in all their decisions, who offers help when needed or who is patient in an otherwise irritating position shows the kind of character that draws people. Rocky was all that and more.

Becky is off work tomorrow and we will go back to West Plains to have our mini-van “detailed.” Rocky’s brother and wife, Richard and Helen, left the money and phone number for a shop to provide the service and Becky will follow me down so we will have her car to hopefully finish our “to do” list. It is times like this that leave me very humbled and appreciative of our families who provide in generous and thoughtful ways. Much of my life I have been the “do-er” and now it seems, I’m the do-ee.” Both leave me with a sense of joy.

I shall have to keep the garage door closed now except for enough space for the kitties to come and go. Otherwise, Napoleon likes to perch atop the van during the daytime and he leaves smelly little calling cards. I know it will look new again when we pick it up………and now it’s time to start on today’s list.

Hodding Carter, Jr. said, “There are two lasting bequests we can give our children. One is roots. The other is wings.”

Until the next time, I am,
Essentially Esther

Friday, May 04, 2007


Rocky’s mother and I had something in common besides loving him. I’ve been going through stacks of things that need to be given to Rocky’s children so they can be passed on down the family line. In doing so, I came across a very faded tablet with his mother’s poetry.

Aune, was born in Finland, and came through Ellis Island with her family. She was pretty and witty and her heart ached to write. She wrote several stories and tried to get them published but they were never accepted.

With pencil faded on yellowed paper, I read one of her poems as I sorted through the things. It was not titled but the date struck me. It was written in January 1931.….the year Rocky was born later, in November.

I understand her need to write and I understand the love of poetry. My mother passed the same love down to me….writing and loving poetry. Mom never wrote poetry but our family loved to get her letters which were actually journals. Mom’s letters were fat, lovingly written and eagerly read by all.

This is Aune’s poem.

The roses are shining in Picardie
In the hush of the silver dew
The roses are flowering in Picardie
But there was never a rose like you.
The roses die in the summertime
The roses may be far apart
But one rose will never die in Picardie,
And that’s the rose I keep in my heart.

Like my mother, Aune pasted clippings from newspapers in her tablet. There are those she admired and which inspired her. As time allows I will share more of our mothers and their thoughts. They left a rich heritage for me to glean through. For now I will need to return to my sorting.

I hope her poem will go far and wide out in cyber space and she will know at last……she is being read.

I loved Aune.

Until the next time, I am,
Essentially Esther

PS.....This is incorrect as Aune's Poem....I have been informed that it was a song she liked and wrote the words in her own handwriting. I assumed she wrote the poem but credit goes to Fred E. Weatherly for the poem and set to music by Hayden Wood. I am happy to make the correction and give due credit to the creators of Roses Are Shining in Picardie. (April 4, 2008) Essentially Esther

Thursday, May 03, 2007


Our home is quiet now. Rocky’s daughters left over the weekend after helping Becky and me make plans for the memorial service. It was important to all of us to represent our combined families in honor of Rocky. Each are putting their personal talents to use in making the day very personal and special.

Monday, Becky took the day off work, and accompanied me to West Plains to take care of the paper trail that follows a death in the family. She wanted to make the day better for me, knowing it was our wedding anniversary. We had a nice lunch together, her treat, and were able to finish what we set out to do. Bringing Rocky back to our home was the highlight of my day….

Tuesday I spent the day on the phone taking care of the many calls that were necessary. I heard recorded voices and pressed more buttons in one day than I have since we were married. It is amazing how much needs to be changed in either a birth, death, wedding or divorce. It also amazes me how much misinformation one agency has about the other. By the end of the day I was finished and I had a call from the bank telling me our first Memorial Fund check came in for Rocky. The girl who helped set up the fund was so excited she called to tell me. A whopping $500.……we gave each other high fives through the phone and called it a day.

Yesterday I spent going through things that were no longer pertinent. You don’t realize how much of your life is geared to two instead of one. Simple, everyday things like address labels. It has to be faced and I find, for me, it is therapeutic to keep busy. As I work, my mind wanders and I see a pattern of God working in the past and in the present. Some things are linked together.

The day my brother died in 1989 of lung cancer, we had to have our dog, Jake, put to sleep……kidney failure. Both slipped away on the same day, together. Morris, our big yellow cat (like the TV Morris) came to us in July that year and was the same day Rocky came into my life again at a High School Reunion. We were both married to someone else at the time but overjoyed to see each other again. The strange thing is….I had to have Morris put to sleep after 18 years, again it was kidney failure. I didn’t know that later the same day Rocky would join him.

They came into my life on the same day and left me on the same day, together. God is not a God of happenstance. I’m believing they are still together and enjoying the place He has prepared for them. Do I believe there are pets in heaven? I sure do. Love and devotion are two things God loves and pets were made to do just that!

Pets and people are two things loaned to us for a while and then they go back to God. Our part is to love them while we may…….and then release them when God calls……..

Until the next time, I am,
Essentially Esther

Tuesday, May 01, 2007


To Rocky……..you taught me a lot about patience and patience and patience and patience and patience………you slowed my world down so I could love you more.

There are people in this world who in knowing them, seem to stop the clock when in their presence. I always had that feeling with Rocky…..even in high school. He was so much at ease with himself and others…… the aura of calm was contagious. He was never in a hurry to enter a conversation, be noticed or show off. He saved his energy to compete in sports. He was highly motivated and competitive……but fair.

His eyes were full of mischief and he loved to play a harmless prank on anyone he took a shine to. His favorite thing was saying something in a believable tone and then waiting to see if you were going to figure out it was just nonsense. He enjoyed calling everything by a different name. It seems to be a habit of our older generation and I always enjoyed our silly name-calling. Part of it was because we’d forgotten something or we just didn’t like the original name……..with Rocky is wasn’t an occasional thing…..and I loved the little inside knowledge we had of what we were talking about to each other.

I think his quick looks in my direction are something I will miss. I was always flattered when he noticed something and immediately wanted to share it with me. He was very sensitive to things I liked and took it upon himself to make known little things I would have missed.

For a guy, he was very sentimental. I loved the many cards he bought me on any day of the week. Not just pretty cards but things that matched feelings he had and could never find a way to say. A treasure is a small book he brought home one time, titled, My Soul Mate. There are beautiful writings of love, companionship and gratitude for finding all that in your most precious relationship. He wanted to say all the things he couldn’t say to me for 50 years.

His strength was amazing. Though laced with cancer he continued doing the things around our home that needed doing and continued his weight-lifting. The camaraderie he shared with the younger men at the gym was very special to him. He was humbled when he found how special he was to them. It will be very fitting to have his Memorial at The Firm, where he spent a lot of good days with the guys.

Yesterday, I told you it was our wedding anniversary…..our sixth. I didn’t tell you that I brought Rocky home yesterday on our special day. Before he died we planned to have his ashes in an urn we already had and he would be placed on a piece of furniture in our bedroom with a very special angel to watch over both of us. We both loved Jim Shores artistic Folk Art and he made a bereavement angel with a beautiful inscription on it.

When I am gone to be with him one day, the urn will be placed in my casket and we will be buried together. After being apart so many years, we couldn’t want another separation, no matter how it was. “Always together” are two words that made it possible to face the inevitable short separation we will experience until I go to be with him.

I hope everyone who reads this has loved intensely, loved completely and has the opportunity to show how much love you have to the person or persons who are important in your world. Love, forgiveness and gratitude are three words to set your life upon.

…….as Paul said, “The greatest of these, is love”……………..

Until the next time, I am,
Essentially Esther