micki portrait  Guestbook 12/99 - 2/03

Mom- sept. September 1999

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Dear Erik, Jody, and Blake:

Although I've only communicated via this route once before during Micki's courageous struggle over the past year, she - and all of you - have often been in my thoughts. I regret that I know each of you so peripherally, but your incredibly effective communication through this website has done wonders to include many of us similarly linked to you through Micki. I have just completed volunteer training at hospice here in Williamsburg, having worked in a similar capacity in New Haven prior to our move here in January, and look toward my first assignment in the new year. I shared with others in my class the route you chose to take in opening your very private pain to any and all who wished to share it. They were deeply moved and, I believe, enriched by the saga which unfolded through your letters and pictures. Thank you for that. As you move into what has to be a very difficult time with holiday festivities all around you, I also know that you will see much of Micki's strength and infectiousness in all that you do to celebrate the true meaning of this beautiful season. May God be with all of you. Please accept my deepest, heartfelt expressions of sympathy.


Carol Marsh

Carol Marsh <jcmarsh@widomaker.com>
Williamsburg, VA USA - Wednesday, December 01, 1999 at 23:08:29 (EST)
Dear Jody, Erik and Blake-

My thoughts are with you as you learn to live life without your incredible mother/wife. Though I only had the opportunity to meet Micki briefly at Jody and Jeff's wedding, her courage, spirit, generosity and wisdom became obvious to me through conversations with Jody and this website. She will be missed by many.


Christine O'Neill <cyoneill@zoo.uvm.edu>
Burlington, VT USA - Friday, December 03, 1999 at 08:31:45 (EST)
Dear Erik and Micki, (I'm sure Micki will get all these messages somehow)

I have just come home from a Christmas visit with children in Atlanta and San Francisco to find Erik's letter advising me of Micki's death and this website, which I have read with tears in my eyes.

I am ashamed to have been so out of touch that I did not know what had happened, and to have failed to offer any support during your year of travail.

I hope I'll be a better friend in the future.

With love,


Toby Tobin <Toby@aya.yale.edu>
USA - Wednesday, December 29, 1999 at 10:02:26 (EST)
It is Jan. 5, 2000 and I have known for only about an hour about our losing Miki -- I say "our" losing because it is a loss for so so many who knew how special she was. Jody and Blake, you won't remember me but I was often at your house when you were small and living at Linganore Place here in Charlotte. Few people knew how miserable and lonely I was my first year then at CPCC, but your insightful parents knew and were incredibly kind in making me feel I could always come there...and I loved seeing you two. Your dad was responsible (probably your mom, too!) for introducing me to Jay, the marvelous man I was fortunate enough to marry, with your dad as best man. Jay and I drove to Maine to visit all of you at Blue Hill -- a trip of wonderful memories. We last saw your mom when we stayed with your parents in Gainesville quite some time back. This past year I had not been in touch and had absolutely no idea that your mom had had a brain tumor and had died. Quite by chance I learned this afternoon and oddly enough, learned also that your dad will be here in Charlotte tomorrow night. I am hoping I can see him or at least talk by phone.
Having lost my very special, wonderful Jay three years ago this month, I know the heartache of giving up someone we love. I think one simply has to be so grateful for having had these special people in our lives -- and how special Miki was!! She had so many talents and such a loving and "knowing" heart. But she will always be with you. But you already know that! My love to you and your dad. Mimi V.

Mimi Vollum <mimichar@aol.com>
Charlotte, NC USA - Thursday, January 06, 2000 at 20:33:25 (EST)
Eric,Blake and Jody,
It's a rainy day in the Northeast and a good one I thought to tackle my desk drawers. One of the items I must have felt important enough to save was an article from the Gainesville Sun which my friend, Anna Clark had mailed to me when she first read it. At the time, my younger sister,Judy, was battling breast cancer and Anna thought I would enjoy reading it as well as viewing your website.
I must say that it was so comforting to me spiritually and mentally.
Judy had suffered the effects of chemo as well as stem cell replacement only to find out within the month of completion that her cancer was in her liver. I was fortunate to have been able to spend the last week of her life with her. I tried to remember the things you all did for Micki when she was able. Four days before she died I took her to beach at Key Biscayne along with her son, Jamie. I know she enjoyed it tho she never go to swim with dolphins.
She left this earth on August 30th,1999 --my birthday.
Micki joined her October 27th -- Judy's birthday.

There are no coincidences in this life.
Thank you for your open hearts. May we all experience healing together.
My best to you all,

Nora Fox <nkfx@worldnet.att.net>
Avon, CT USA - Tuesday, June 06, 2000 at 14:43:14 (EDT)

I just wanted to wish you the best in the future. You are a great person and Micki was a wonderful person as well.
Let me know if you ever need someone to talk to.


Tommy Orndorf <tommy@netpass.com>
Orlando, FL USA - Wednesday, September 13, 2000 at 09:58:00 (EDT)

This is an excellent tribute to a wonderful person.

My wife Marg has a gbm iv and I have placed a link from her website to here. Marg's website is: http://www.geocities.com/oldparl/journey.htm

I notice that Miki was born in 1942 - a very auspicious year! For any other '42 people, at the end of of Marg's website there is a link to the "Chevalier reunion" which was a gathering, 40 years after the event, of a number of us who were also born in 1942 or 43 and went to boarding school together.

Brain tumours are a terrible disease and have an effect on all the family. I hope you are finding peace.

Prayers and best wishes.

Denis Strangman <string@hotkey.net.au>
Canberra, Australia - Sunday, November 26, 2000 at 18:03:13 (EST)
I stumbled across Micki's site while doing another kind of research and I think it's true, there are no accidents.

In eleven days, on Valentine's Day, it will be the seventh anniversary of my mother's death from breast cancer which had spread to her liver then her brain. Ironically, it will also be the day I have my next mammogram, which seems fitting, somehow.

Thank you for sharing Micki's life. My feelings are so full of the joy you and she brought to life, and the sorrow you must feel in missing her every day, as I do my mother.

I wish they hadn't had to die so young, Micki at 56, the age my mother was when she was first diagnosed, and my mother at 63. I'm still not ready for her life to be over, though I am grateful that we had time to say our farewells, and tell each other of the love that would never end. I miss her, as I am sure you miss Micki.

Thank you so much for sharing your own pain and joy and vision. It really helps.


Laura Raymond

Laura Raymond <ohbother@earthlink.net>
Palm Springs, CA USA - Saturday, February 03, 2001 at 18:39:02 (EST)
Eric: As you know, we were all together at some Yale reunions and we talked of cancer (yours).

This web site and the photos are such a fond memory...and of course the kids look just like Micki.

FOr those who read these notes, I have found, with the passing of my dear wife and partner, Judith, the following texts to be helpful:
Macrina Wiederkehr "Gold in Your memjories" (the WEB site attests to that!)
Naomi Levy "To Begin Again"
Rachel Remen "Kitchen table Wisdom"

All are women authors. Eric what does that tell us? And then ther is the Prayer for the Planetary Pilgrimby Edward Hays:

"Fear not nor grieve at my departure,
You whom I have loved so much.
For my roots and yours
are forever entwined."

Don Watson <lakesideDJ@aol.com>
Trumbull, CT USA - Thursday, March 29, 2001 at 12:03:26 (EST)
Good webpage you have here,

.. Yes You Are --> WELCOME

27 IDX 106 - Odinn
Reykjavik, ICELAND - Saturday, July 28, 2001 at 22:57:31 (EDT)
I am trying to support a friend who is caring for their partner who also has GBM and have been reading all that I can about the disease and the impact on friends and families.
Reading this site I am struck by what a special person Mickie was and how her spirit and her life have been passed on to her children.

The world is a better place for someone like her having been here and I feel poorer for having missed the opportunity to have met her

USA - Tuesday, October 16, 2001 at 23:16:47 (EDT)
I'm deeply touched by all of this, as I have been touched by you and Micki in my life. I think of you often with warm feelings and a smile. I miss you, but I am so happy you are on this planet.

Jim Spivey <jspivey@revolutionconsulting.com>
Houston, TX USA - Friday, October 26, 2001 at 23:34:54 (EDT)
Dear Erik, Blake and Jodie: You all are wonderful to have done this wonderful website about Micki. The photos, songs and moving words help us to remember Micki as we knew her.
In these anxious times, it is very important to feel connected-even via the web- to those we love. Jim

Jim Sheffield <jimsheff@aol.com>
New .York, NY USA - Saturday, October 27, 2001 at 06:58:07 (EDT)
Thinking of you all on this anniversary and remembering Micki's unique way of celebrating life. Love always,

Michael Hrycelak <hrycelak@buffalo.edu>
Buffalo, NY USA - Saturday, October 27, 2001 at 14:41:21 (EDT)
Hello Erik, Blake, and Jodi (Mazeltov!)--

Though I missed the abundant food that has typically accompanied our time together, I want all of you to know how much I've enjoyed--or, to continue the metaphor of nourishment, relished--being with you online tonight. I push away from the Internet table with warm tears.

Love to all,


Gail Ellison <GailEllisonPhD@aol.com>
Gainesville, FL USA - Saturday, October 27, 2001 at 20:21:05 (EDT)
I was so touched to spend the last half an hour exploring your website and bathing once again in Micki. How I wish I could hear her chortle. I'm so thankful I can continue to hear her sing. Oh for a glimpse of her impish eyes looking over her reading glasses as she knit! Though I'm not very good at correspondence, each of you is often in my thoughts. Sending lots of love and big hugs to all of you and a tender one for the joy on the way! Love, Betsy

Betsy Stout <stouts@pivot.net>
USA - Saturday, October 27, 2001 at 23:07:35 (EDT)
Dear Ones, What a treat to see your updated website this afternoon! You may be surprised that I have visited it several times in the past year... sometimes when supervising oncology nurses, in discussing options open to families, I turn to our computer and you are there! You will also be pleased, I am sure, that the Northern Area Conference hosted the Northfield League Meeting this weekend and for our Vepers service Carol Costello played the tape of Micki singing "Blue Green Hills of Earth"! At dinner last night we women friends of Micki (Carol, Mickey Friedman, Betsy Taylor, Susan Connolly, Carolyn Boehne,and myself) were talking about Jody, her pregnancy and our intention to sing to Micki's grandbabies in her behalf as well as ours. Someone was wearing Patchouli this weekend and I shared the story of my visit to Gainesville and saying "Micki every time I smell Patchouli I think it's you!" And Micki telling me, "Can't be. I'm a Jungle Gardenia gal now!" How wonderful that as you were "in the space" of this anniversary we were with you in spirit and in love. Reading each of your updates was such a joy hearing how you're doing... you all mean so much to me... Blessings to you, Connie

Connie Walsh
USA - Sunday, October 28, 2001 at 12:58:01 (EST)
Dear Erik and Jodie (and I hope to meet you some time Blake)

"Death is not the extinguishing of the light:
It is the putting out of the lamp because the dawn has come." Tagore

I met Micki only once in 1992. She glowed with energy, not unlike the energy I feel flowing from this website and the woundrous people who created it.

Thanks, Erik and Micki for your contribution to Shalom Retreats in many places and many hearts.

With gratitude for a life woundrously lived. The dawn is here!


Lawrence Stibbards <lawrence.stibbards@shalommountain.com>
Livingston Manor, NY USA - Monday, October 29, 2001 at 20:16:02 (EST)
Blake, Erik, Jody and Jeff,

I've visited Micki's website many times, and I'm always left without words of my own--ironic, I know, because Micki's ability to use words and share them with others is legendary. This site is so expressive, so important and so inspiring that I just wanted to thank you for maintaining it with such gentle candor and love.

I miss all of you and hope to see you gathered in New Haven sometime in the future. Some days, I jog or drive down Canner Street just to wave to the old Esselstyn homestead and remember back when I first met Micki as a junior in the Duke's Men. I can still hear the singing, and it still makes me smile.

Again, thank you for sharing Micki with the rest of us.

Scott Healy <scott.healy@aya.yale.edu>
New Haven, CT USA - Wednesday, October 31, 2001 at 11:02:30 (EST)
Greetings from Gainesville!

What a deep pleaure to read of the unfolding of your lives. May all go well for each of you.


Bahira Sugarman <BahiraS@aol.com>
Gainesville, Fl USA - Thursday, November 01, 2001 at 10:15:09 (EST)
Jody, Blake, Erik,

How wonderful to be able to spend this last half hour with all four of you, including Micki, who shines through your texts and through the pictures of her and of you, with that familiar spirit and happiness of hers that is reflected in your faces in the pictures since her death. Thanks for keeping up the site ! and love to you all,


Lisbeth <lisbeth@aya.yale.edu>
USA - Friday, November 09, 2001 at 17:59:56 (EST)
What a treasure of memories and feelings welled up when I visited Micki's site. How often Francoise, Sylvia and I have talked of her -- and you three. That you are all able to continue to live your lives so fully and keep Micki's spirit at the center of your lifes is an inspiration to us. Remember that your are always welcome should you come West. Jody: how excited we are for you! Love from the three of us.

Steve Bingham <smbingham@earthlink.net>
San Rafael, CA USA - Monday, November 19, 2001 at 01:33:42 (EST)
Dear Erik,
I was moved to tears at your beautiful, poignant, moving wonderful website of your lives with Micki and beyond. I do so look forward to coming up tomorrow with the Amherst Solar Ecovillage Cohousing group to meet you and see the new life that you are creating, in community with Micki's spirit and new friends. Thank you for your generosity in taking the time to be our guide. All Blessings, Andree Clearwater

Andree Clearwater <clearh2o@together.net>
Amherst, MA USA - Friday, November 30, 2001 at 13:00:49 (EST)
Jody, Blake, and Eric,
It is a joyous feeling to be able to have the wonderful
spirt of Micki come through your words and deeds. I listen
to her music often and am comforted. Sending love.

Joanne Block <erblock@nersp.nerdc.ufl.edu>
gainesville , fl USA - Saturday, December 01, 2001 at 17:59:23 (EST)
We met in New Hampshire at an Avatar course. I came across your web address on a piece of paper you had written it on. I can't tell you enough what a moving story you have shared with us. Your Micki was and is a wonderful person. Thanks for sharing. Cheri

Cheri Billings <cbillings@jwprod.com>
Houston, TX USA - Wednesday, December 12, 2001 at 09:44:57 (EST)
Dear Esselstyn family,

I have just brought up your web site at the recommendation of a friend. I have also just finished every page in your updates section. I applaud your strength and presence of mind, heart and spirit that you would turn what is so often seen as a devastating situation into an opportunity for learning and growth.


Steve Cichosz <Steve@Cichosz.org>
Monument, CO USA - Sunday, December 16, 2001 at 00:28:41 (EST)
As we sang carols this Christmas with our nuclear family gathered together for the first time in two years, we thought of Micki smiling and playing her guitar. We miss seeing all of you.

Linda & Frank Bell <fbb@msn.cm>
New York, NY USA - Thursday, December 27, 2001 at 10:40:40 (EST)
Dear Jody, Blake & Eric,

I enjoyed remembering Micki through this site, and was touched by your generosity in sharing your own grieving and growing journeys so openly. You are an inspiration.

Wishing you all the best,

Marian Bell

Marian Bell <nickmar@pacbell.net>
Los Angeles, CA USA - Wednesday, January 09, 2002 at 00:36:01 (EST)
Dear Erik, Jody and Blake,

What an incredible find while doing a web search for my friend, Lindy Hearne, that this site should appear (he co-wrote "Praying For the Camel"). I had heard news of Micki's death and was struck by the irony - having known your family at a time when you all did such a tremendous job in doing workshops on Living. Having had my own bouts with melanoma during the past couple of years, I could imagine Erik and Micki's presence in spirit during some of my numerous coping strategy times. I was so impressed to see Micki's love of music come alive with the CD recording. I still perform occasionally, when I'm lucky I still get to do it with my good friend, Barb Siftar. Thanks again for a website that will continue to educate and inspire.


Bill Milford


Bill Milford <bill.milford@yale.edu>
New Haven, CT USA - Monday, March 11, 2002 at 15:02:38 (EST)
Hello. I stumbled across your page while doing an internet search on "Deerfield Evensong." I'd love to know more about this Esselstyn link. I am a member of the Deerfield class of 1954.

Skip Harrington <highflyer@attbi.com>
Marlborough, MA USA - Thursday, April 11, 2002 at 20:26:14 (EDT)
Hi Jody,

Congratulations on Edie's birth. I checked out the pictures- she looks like a sweetie. I think of you so often and am always happy to hear your news. I listened to the songs on the site- your mother had such a beautiful voice. My father died in February and On Eagles' Wings was sung at his memorial service- it was a favorite of his also. All the best, Lynne Schilling

Lynne Schilling <lynne.schilling@yale.edu>
USA - Tuesday, April 23, 2002 at 14:00:14 (EDT)
I came across your site while doing a search for something unrelated. I pastor a church in Atlanta, but am originally from Gainesville. I clicked on your site out of curiosity. WOW. What a journey you have been on. How blessed you are to have so many who love you to also walk with you.

Buddy Parrish
USA - Wednesday, May 01, 2002 at 14:54:53 (EDT)
I am sure that you hear this alot: great web site!  

Maureen Styles
Portland, OR USA - Tuesday, May 07, 2002 at 13:40:28 (EDT)
To this family, especially Blake, whom I hope soon to meet: Thank you for all this has taught me about you. I am full of admiration, also moved to think of my own father's death 6 months ago, and to greive it in ways that are just now becoming possible. I should like to make my grief as positive a force in my life as yours appears to have been in yours.
With much gratitude,
Sherrill Harbison (Hanne's Mom)

Sherrill Harbison <harbison@english.umass.edu>
Amherst, MA USA - Saturday, May 18, 2002 at 12:06:37 (EDT)
Greetings to you and your guests. Love what you‚ve done with your site. As an educator I can say you have great communication skills.

San Diego, Ca US - Wednesday, July 10, 2002 at 08:54:05 (EDT)
I came to the website while,searching info. on the Hrycelak's. It is wonderfully done. What a beautiful life,Micki had, and wonderful memories you all have. This will keep you going!!
Marie Talton(Hrycelak)

Marie Talton (Hrycelak) <BlackiePrnc@aol.com>
Monticello, Fl USA - Sunday, August 11, 2002 at 10:42:54 (EDT)
Dear Erik, Jody and Blake,
It continues to amaze me how fast time passes. And yet, memories of so many yesterdays, in the distant past, still remain vivid in my memory. I hope I am blessed with the abiltiy to access them for a very long time, to come....!!

Many of those memories include time spent on the Northfield Campus singing, dancing and laughing! And of course, the singing of one special person, who could transform me then and still does now, whenever I listen to my aging, warped cassette tape. Usually, when I need an "inspirational shot in the arm", I put on the tape and visit this site.
All of you have so graciously shared with us the deeply personal, thoughtful and intentional ways you have moved through the grieving process and into major transitions in your life. I am so inspired by each of you. My heart bleeds and is healed at the same time when I read each one of your updates. I know, Micki is watching over and is so proud of all of you. She knit many items to admire and cherish in her lifetime- heirlooms for generations to come, more precious to you, now than ever. But what I really see and hear, every time I return to this site was the skillful way she "knit together" such a beautiful family. And that is the gift that we continue to receive when we visit this site and continue to walk with you on each of on your various journeys. Thanks so much for all you take time to share with us and for keeping this website available and expanding!!
With much love to all of you,
Carol C.
P.S. Can't wait to see some pictures of Jody's baby ...!
P.P.S. Since I announced that Ladybugs are my lifelong collectible item as well as my newly adopted spiritual symbol, I am beginning to amass quite a collection of actual Ladybug items and other collectibles w/Ladybugs on them! I'm sure by the time I am through, my collection will be the largest collection in the world and I will be entered into the Guiness book of world records!

Carol Costello <cacgg@aol.com>
Boston, MA USA - Monday, September 30, 2002 at 21:25:01 (EDT)
Hey I really like your site. I have found some of the information here helpfull. Thanks :) Joe D. .

Joe <j_dirt@hotmail.com>
Memphis, TN US - Wednesday, January 22, 2003 at 01:44:59 (EST)
Thanks for the opportunity to share your web site. As a cancer epidemiologist by profession and a recent cancer survivor myself, I appreciate your work on many levels. Be well!

Ruth H. Allen <ruth.allen@AEHInstitute.com>
Reston,, VA USA - Saturday, February 01, 2003 at 13:13:43 (EST)
What a wonderful site. You have honored your mom very well .I am very touched.

Kathy <kathys@accesscomm.ca>
Regina Canada, canada - Monday, February 10, 2003 at 19:54:43 (EST)
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