Thursday, November 15, 2018

A Gold Star Mom's Words on His Angel date

November 15, 2018
My Dearest Son, Lance,

You would think that after 14 years this yearly letter would be easier to write. It does NOT. I have spent the last hour and 30 minutes doing everything but put my thoughts down in a letter to you. I miss you deeply each and every day. I think I get better at handling and controlling the pain of not hearing your deep voice say, Hello Mother and seeing that little twinkle of orneriness come to your blue eyes. It will never be easy and the pain of your being taken will never leave my heart. I do pray that I will always show the honor and respect.

However, there are many gifts that I look for each day. One of those gifts came with a reunion of your 2/5 Communications Unit this year. I am so thankful that the Semper Fi Fund sponsored this awesome event this past October. So many of your Marine brothers where able to attend and I am thankful and grateful they wanted to include your family. Words will never convey how special these men are in the way they honor and remember their fallen brothers. They shared so many loving and funny memories.

Lance, your family, friends, and Marine brothers will always have a Lance-shaped hole in their heart but that hole is filled with many loving and happy memories of you, and the life you lived, and the honor and respect you showed to all those around you. I pray that we will always honor you, those who fought and carry on, and the many fallen heroes that have given all to ensure we have the Freedoms we enjoy daily.

Today it has been 14 years since the Marines came to my door and one of my Blue Stars turned Gold. My deepest prayer is that EVERYONE stands to honor and respect those who fight and those who protect our country both at home, in the streets, and in faraway lands. I pray that EVERYONE takes a knee for those we have lost not only in wars but here at home protecting us each day. You all deserve no less.

Semper Fi and always Gung Ho

Melanie Thompson Smith, Carmel, IN 

Monday, July 2, 2018

* Atlatic Poem *


To the water we are drawn.
Through the rocking motion we remember days gone by.
The time before when all were enveloped in the motherly,
water that began our life.
Before all our senses were engaged we felt that warmth and comfort.

Some sit silent before the Atlantic
and wonder why relaxation comes.
They do not remember the water that brought them to this world,
nor do they make the connection.

But now you my friend know.
So sit and watch and wonder no more.
The energy radiates from the water to reactivate that which is within.

D. Estep
Bethany Beach Delaware
August 12, 1993

Special thanks to Nurse Jen for allowing me to use her Atlantic photo.
June 2018

Atlantic Poem


To the water we are drawn.
Through the rocking motion we remember days gone by.
The time before when all were enveloped in the motherly,
water that began our life.
Before all our senses were engaged we felt that warmth and comfort.

Some sit silent before the Atlantic
and wonder why relaxation comes.
They do not remember the water that brought them to this world,
nor do they make the connection.

But now you my friend know.
So sit and watch and wonder no more.
The energy radiates from the water to reactivate that which is within.

D. Estep
Bethany Beach Delaware
August 12, 1993

SPECIAL THANKS to my niece, Victoria Rose for allowing me to use her Atlantic photo...
June 2018

Thursday, June 28, 2018

‘Life Goes On’

‘Life Goes On’
Debra Estep·Sunday, May 8, 2016

* I shared this as a Mother's Day Note on Facebook - May 2016.
By Jenna Rose Lowthert - May 10th, 2015
Today sucks, I know. It’s going to be hard. But so is every other day since you have lost your mother. There is absolutely no love in this world like the love of a mother. There is a void that cannot and will not ever be filled, no matter what anybody tells you.

You don’t miss her today any more than you will tomorrow, or the next day, or the day after that.

Today, Mother’s day, is just another painful reminder that she is no longer physically here.

As you watch friend’s celebrate with their mom’s, please remember that yours is tucked away deep down in your heart where she will forever stay.
As the wind blows through your hair, know that it is her gentle and loving touch. As the warmth of the sun shines on your face please remember the warmth in your mother’s heart through all of the days she had on this earth.

She didn’t want to ever leave you and she still hasn’t left you. Your mother was greater than this world. I know sometimes life just doesn’t seem fair and it never will but please, please, don’t cry today, for your mother would want nothing more than to see you smile.

I feel the pain within your heart as another day passes by without her. She doesn’t want you to be sad. She wants you to honor her life in the best way possible, and that way is to live it. Live it for you. Live it for her. I know it is sometimes easier said than done and sometimes words just don’t help and I know this because I lost my beautiful 48 year old mother almost two years ago when I was 24.

I have come to find that the best way to heal is to remember. Remember her. Remember the sorrow, remember the love, remember everything. Talk to her, she’s always listening. And simply cherish the time you did have with her and the memories you have made.
I want you to know that on this day, you are not alone. You are never alone.

All of our mother’s are watching over us from heaven this Mother’s Day… and every day, for the rest of our lives.

Happy Mother’s Day to all of the motherless daughters out there. Today is your day too. Celebrate her, start a new tradition, live life to the fullest, and most importantly remember that even through the darkest of days, life still goes on.

-Jenna Rose Lowthert

Jenna Rose Lowthert was inspired to write her book "Life Goes On.." after her mother passed away on May 27th, 2013 after a 10-month battle with stage four lung cancer. Her mom was only 48 years old, and her courage and strength was truly amazing. When her mom passed away Jenna’s world was crushed, but she found treasures she left behind that told a story of a mother's undying love for her children. Jenna wrote "Life Goes On...

Here is a link to my Pinterest grief board....

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Cut Out Cookies – Grandma Laura Rothacker

Cut Out Cookies – Grandma Laura Rothacker

2 C. white sugar  
2 eggs 
Teaspoons baking powder  
½  Teaspoon nutmeg
A dash of allspice (ground) 
¼ Teaspoons ground cloves 
1 C Shortening – Or butter  
3 Tablespoons of milk
 3 Cups flour 

* Dad – Gil ALWAYS added a dash of mace too. That stinker did not list it in his ingredients. 
 If you don’t have the spice mace, don’t worry about it.

 Cream butter and sugar – add eggs 1 at a time. (With mixer) BEAT WELL.  
Whisk dry ingredients together – in a separate bowl. 
Slowly add dry ingredients to sugar and eggs. If the dough is a little sticky, 
add 2 or 3 tablespoons of flour. 
(The variable in moisture has to do with the size of the eggs) 

Roll out on well floured surface about 1/8” thick.  Cut out and sprinkle with colored sugar.  
 Bake at 400 degrees for 8-10 minutes. The time will vary depending on the 
shape of the cut out, and the thickness of your dough. 
Cookies WILL be done before they look brown.

I ALWAYS line my cookie sheets with parchment paper.  Let cookies cool about 5 min
on tray before you remove them. 

Grandma Laura Rothacker died in June of 1962.   Her recipe has been made
ever since. 

 It would be an HONOR to know you are making my Grandma’s Cut Out Cookies.

Cut out cookies from this past Easter. 

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Holy Trinity Catholic Church - Cleveland Ohio

Holy Trinity Catholic Church 

From the Encyclopedia of Cleveland history - Case Western Reserve University.

HOLY TRINITY PARISH was established by Bishop RICHARD GILMOUR on May 27, 1880 to serve the growing community of GERMAN CATHOLICS residing east of what is now East 55th Street along Woodland Avenue. Father Peter Becker, the parish's first pastor, held the first Mass of the new parish in the chapel of ST. JOSEPH'S ORPHANAGE on Woodland Avenue near East 60th Street. The community celebrated the dedication of the Holy Trinity Church, located at Woodland Avenue and East 71st Street, in August 1881. A rectory was erected a few years later. Father Becker initially recruited the Ladies of the Sacred Heart to direct the parish school, but they relinquished their administrative duties to the URSULINE SISTERS a decade later. As the population of the parish grew dramatically during the first decade of the twentieth century, the community broke ground for a new church building at 7211 Woodland Avenue on April 11, 1906. Bishop IGNATIUS F. HORSTMANN dedicated the new Holy Trinity Church, a Renaissance-style stone structure with twin square towers, on May 26, 1907. 

Holy Trinity Catholic Church located at 7211 Woodland, Ave., Cleveland, Ohio.  My dad grew up in a house located at E 84th street.
The house is less than a mile from the Church.

I grew up in Cleveland and Holy Trinity church was not our local
church, but we attended mass here.   Over the years, we would

make a yearly trip down for Midnight Mass at Holy Trinity. 

I can still remember some amazing Midnight masses in that church. 
Due to the early German community that made up the church there were always Christmas carols sung in German. 
Christmas eve of 1981, we headed down leaving Mom and Dad's house around 11pm.  We arrived at the church only to find the doors 
closed.  Midnight mass had been cancelled that year.  

The last mass at Holy Trinity was held on October 24, 2004. 
I attended that mass with my father and mother, Gil & Margaret
Rothacker, and my dad's older brother and his wife.
Uncle Rollin & Auntie Anne Rothacker.   A lunch was held in the basement after the mass.    It was bittersweet for my dad.   This was the church he had known and attended for over 74 years.  As the mass began the music was of a blues nature, with drumming and hand clapping.  My dad was

several people away from me, and I leaned out to look his way.....
He was about beet red.  As I was standing there clapping along, I 
mouthed to my dad....  "When in Rome" !!!    It would become a 
family laugh for many years.  

                                      Rollin & Gil Rothacker - October 24,  2004

 Main alter - October 24, 2004

Mary side alter - October 24, 2004

Sacred Heart of Jesus - side alter - October 24, 2004

 Stained glass window -  October 24, 2004

 Stained glass window -  October 24, 2004

 Stained glass window -  October 24, 2004

SS. Trinity
A.D. 1906 
(Written in Latin) 

Holy Trinity Church - October 24, 2004

                                 Holy Trinity Church - October 24, 2004
                           Auxiliary Bishop Roger Gries officiated the mass. 

Monday, February 26, 2018

Tribute to Doctor Ashwin Pai Dhungat

Dr. Ashwin Pai Dhungat passed away peacefully in his sleep at home on June 14, 2017.

He was a family physician who graduated from NEOUCOM in 1997 and trained at Barberton Citizens Hospital.
He practiced medicine in Northeast Ohio for the last 17 years. He was born in New York City but was a world citizen, growing up in the United States and India.
He is survived by his mother, Asha; and his brother and sister-in-law, Asheesh and Vidya. He will be dearly missed by his niece, Tanya; and nephew Avnish, who he loved with all his heart.
He was preceded in death by his father, Avadhut.
He leaves behind an extended family in India as well as friends from all walks of life.
Funeral services were completed on June 16, 2017, at 11 a.m. at the Higgins-Reardon Funeral Home, Boardman-Canfield Chapel, where close family and friends along with his office staff attended the ceremony.
“We extend our heartfelt sympathy to all those people whose life he touched and know he will be dearly missed by one and all.”


Rip Dr Pai

“My husband and i became patients of Dr. Pai. My grandparents were his patients. He loved my GRAM. He used to look forward to seeing her car pull in the parking lot with her little green alien on the antenna. When my grandparents passed away, he came to their funerals. He was the best doctor my husband and i ever went to. He was funny. He will be truly missed by us. Nicole and Brian Agnes ”
 » Nicole and Brian Agnes on June 23, 2017

He was ONE of a kind !!

“Dear Mrs. Asha Pai Dhungat, Asheesh, Vidya & Tanya, Avnish....
And also to his office staff.. Nicole L. Dr Pai, was absolutely 'one of a kind' !!!

I first met him when he was with the Twinsburg Cleveland Clinic Urgent care. My Mom, Margaret started seeing him in 2008. He took CARE of our entire family. When my dad was in Anna Marie of Aurora, a nurse was at the desk, and said to Dr Pai, I'll look up Margaret's number for you to phone her. He said, no need... he KNEW her number because he'd called her so frequently to inform her of dad.
In fact when Dad passed on in Nov of 2009 AND when we unexpectedly lost Mom in Feb of 2010, Dr Pai came to both of their wakes. A DOCTOR to come to pay his respects to the family in the passing of a patient... UNHEARD of these days. That was just the ONE OF A KIND man he was. As my daughter shared, he looked for Mom's green alien on her car. Please know you will all be in our prayers. Debra, Michael, Kevin & Mary Estep ”

 » Debra Estep & Family on June 23, 2017


 Doctor Ashwin Pai Dhungat was born in the state of New York, March 13, 1973.

As I said in the online tribute I left for him, I first met him while he was
working with the Cleveland Clinic at the Twinsburg Urgent Care Center.
(The center has since closed down due to the new Cleveland Clinic offices

and Emergency center that was built in Twinsburg).
Our youngest child, Kevin was his usual patient at the urgent care, but my

husband, Michael and myself were also seen there by him. 

He was the perfect blend of a physician, caring and compassionate and
also quite direct when he wanted to make a medical point. 
Dr Pai also had a WICKED FUNNY sense of humor. 
I often thought to myself, if he was not my doctor, we would have been
great friends.  

I recall one visit when I questioned him about something medical,
his response... "I was the valedictorian of my medical class" !!!
It was not in any sort of braggart way, but factual... AND FUNNY.   :)

My son-in-law Brian was to see Dr Pai something in the Spring
of 2017.   Brian is a chef.   Chefs are known to have many burns on their
arms due to the nature of the business.   My daughter recounted to me later
that upon walking in to the office room to see Brian, and having exchanged

a handshake, Dr Pai exclaiming................
Bri was not even there to see him about any burns.  
That will ALWAYS, ALWAYS remain an endearing memory for ALL of us. 

Another visit I had with Dr Pai, I was telling him that my daughter Nicole
and I had been to see a psychic medium.....
INSTANTLY he said.... "Ohhhh Deb, don't tell me you believe in that CRAP" !!!
Ohhhh YES, we do Dr Pai.  
Since his passing in June of last year, I often said to him.....
"WHAT DO YOU THINK OF THAT NOW" ????    I'm not in-tune enough
from a psychic sense to actually have heard his response, but I have

I just want to say....  Should any family or friends of Dr Pai's happen to
see this tribute of mine....  HE WAS ONE OF A KIND.  
There is hardly a day since June of 2017 that some thought of him does

not come to my mind.   I also think about the family he left behind.
His dear Mother, of whom he spoke often of, and his brother and family. 
Those who knew him through working with him, and his friends.....
I pray for you all. 

Rest In Peace... Dr Pai.

RINGING A BELL IN HIS HONOR.... We are diminished by his passing....
Bells were rung to announce a birth or a death.

From the famous passage by John Donne (1573-1631).
Send Not To Know for Whom the Bell Tolls: It Tolls for Thee
Meditation 17, from Devotions Upon Emergent Occasions,  written - 1624.

No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the
continent, a part of the main. If a clod be washed away by the sea,
Europe is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as well as if a
manor of thy friend’s or of thine own were: any man’s death diminishes me,
because I am involved in mankind, and therefore never send to
know for whom the bells tolls; it tolls for thee.

Dr Pai - CHEERS to YOU.

Online Memorial ........