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“You’re coming up to a small town that has an historical marker,” Esther texted to me as Marv and I drove along I-10 in Texas. We were on our way to Arizona in January of 2017; Esther was grounded in Michigan during her chemo and radiation treatments for esophageal cancer.  She did not despair that she had to stay inside that entire winter to protect her immune system Her attitude was always upbeat. When my husband, Marv, and I decided to road trip to Arizona, she said she was coming along.

She sat in her blue recliner in her living room, watching the snow fall out her patio doors, and followed along with us in her Atlas. She’d look ahead and tell us what towns were coming up, their populations, and if there was anything of interest to see there. If it was time to eat or sleep, she’d cue us in on restaurants and hotels. In turn, I’d send her photos. We had an ongoing dialogue that was ever so much fun.

This past week I took my first solo road trip since Marv passed away. As I tooled along on new-to-me roads, thoughts of Esther trolled my mind. She would have told me about this scenic overlook or She would have told me where there is a good lunch place or where my next Hampton is. The more I remembered her texts, the more overcome I was with sadness. But then I remembered all the good times we’d had hanging out together and I’d smile with the memory.

After successful surgery for her cancer, Esther died from complications on April 9, 2017.

I miss her.

Esther’s last visit to see me in Chicago – 2016

And thirty-seven months ago today, Marv passed away from cancer. We were blissfully ignorant in early 2017 what lay ahead for Esther and for us.

Somehow, and I know I speak for a lot of us, after the deaths of our parents, spouses, sisters, brothers, and friends, we carry on. We feel God’s grace and are thankful every morning that we’ve awakened to greet a new day.

And we have our heartwarming memories to take along.