I’ve always found that writing helps me make sense of the world, in the same way Esther took pictures to share her joy. But today I’m struggling to extract any sense from the chaos, or frankly to even see the keyboard through the bouts of tears.
But I also feel this is important to do today following on from some of the many messages we’ve received in the past few days.
In the days or weeks ahead, Esther will be returned to us. Years ago, we promised each other that on our 70th anniversary we’d walk hand in hand on the same beach we visited on our first anniversary. We’d eat chips, play in the arcade again, fail to win any cuddly toys, and reflect on all of our many adventures before, hopefully, slipping away together in time – still holding hands if we could.
In the end we only got 19 of those years. It’s more than a lot of people get with a soul mate, but (selfishly) it isn’t nearly enough. She’d already taught me so much about how to live, how to love and how to live a multicoloured life. That’s what she called our lifestyle, the beautiful, trusting, simple way that she used to squeeze in so much joy into every waking moment. I honestly believe our best years were yet to come.
Knowing that Esther didn’t suffer, that she was doing what she loved and that our last words were “I love you” will (perhaps), one day give more comfort than I can find today. I also hope I can find a way forward that honours Esther’s spirit, though I haven’t a clue yet what that looks like.
Of course, Esther also had a backup plan – she always did. That’s why, when the time is right and after a very small family service, her ashes will be scattered in the places she loved the most. She’d have done the same for me – and we’d already agreed on those places.
And that’s why I’m writing this.
Following suggestions from some of you, in lieu of flowers and cards etc., I’ve set up a fundraising page to raise money for a charity close to Esther’s heart – Sightsavers, who work to cure preventable blindness.
Sharing the beauty of the world was another of Esther’s passions. It’s why she set up all of our social media in the first place and posted so many pictures. That anybody should be unable to see this amazing universe we inhabit, for entirely preventable reasons, hurt her deeply.
I’ve set a target of £5000, just a few pounds more than Esther raised last year in her epic NHS bike challenge. I hope we can reach that goal.
At the same time, if you would like to, please leave a message on this fundraising page. If you want to share a personal memory, long or short, named or anonymous, if you would like to then just speak to Esther.
My commitment is to read out each message to Esther when we do lay her to rest. I think she’d like that.
And, if aren’t able to donate at the moment or would just prefer to send a message privately, please do so via the Facebook page or blog – and I’ll read those to Esther as well.
Thank you all.
p.s. Not sure when I’ll post again, but I will be leaving all of our pages online – they’re the second best testimonial to Esther that I can think of. The best is simply to live life bravely, and gently, and kindly, and to smile at strangers. Because that’s who my angel was.
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- Elaine Uthman
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- Auntie Jose