Name of Deceased: Esther Ricketts
Pet Name: Mama, Sister Dolly, Aunty Dolly, Miss Daley
Date of Death: 28 September 2020
Died Leaving: 1 daughter, 7 sons, 43 grandchildren, great grandchildren, 1 sister, 1 brother, nieces and nephews, other relatives and friends ...
That’s what the obituary in our local newspaper said. That is what her life summed up to on paper. But there was more to her than that.
Esther was my maternal grandmother and a beautiful soul.
A trip down memory lane …
Growing up, Sunday visits and summers in the cool hills of St. Andrew as the river roared by was the highlight of my tender years. Sunday bible studies, cooking in the kitchen with Mama, and exploring the hilly well fruited land for whatever was in season was like living in paradise for an impressionable kid who held her grandmother in high esteem.
Now everything was not always sugarplums and fairytales. However, the love that emanated from my Mama … the firm yet gentleness in mentorship that she offered me through bible study in those days, are my fondest memories of her.
Mama stood the test of time, changing governments, a couple of hurricanes, and even a change in address. She would go on to live a long and full life and hold her own in her battle with diabetes and Alzheimer's disease. But it was the nuggets of life lessons that I picked up from her along the way that came to truly be the richest legacy that she left behind.
Bear in mind ...
In the early days before Mama became burdened with the trifles of short term versus long term memory, she was really a force to reckon with. She walked with an air of confidence and spoke with a quiet authority.
Her ability to speak with conviction and clarity as she engaged with someone was exemplary. She spoke words of encouragement and prosperity into and over the lives of everyone; even with strangers who came to her in need. (Philippians chapter 4 verse 8) She subtly introduced Christ in all that she did and said without being overbearing, but still ministering to every individual she encountered.
She led by example in executing wisdom; and not wisdom as the world so teaches us, but wisdom that comes with humility. (James chapter 3 verse 17) As a single mother of eight, surviving as a low-income earner in a third world country was no small feat. However, Mama rolled up her sleeves and became an entrepreneur while juggling work at the laundry. Of course, in those days she did not identify as an entrepreneur, but through her willingness to extend grace and forgiveness to others she was able to build rapport with her community and garner the support she needed to supplement her income. Even in business, her humility would shine as she would go out of her way to show everyone kindness.
Her active life also taught me the value of choosing to go where the hand of God leads to fulfill His purpose. (Deuteronomy 30) I often did not understand certain decisions my grandmother made. But then again, I was also young and not able to perceive what the Lord was doing through her. Yet, she would always pray for God’s guidance and still extend an olive branch and a helping hand when needed. In doing so, she was able to be an instrument for God.
Commit to memory …
Mama held strong, and God was good to her in her battle with keeping the footage of her daily life intact. But as health and memory slipped, Mama changed. The active, vibrant, happy, and outgoing yet reserved lady from the cool hills of St. Andrew was no longer so happy, no longer so vibrant. And while every stage of life is different, those years taught me the following:
● Sometimes love requires sacrifice (1 Corinthians chapter 13 verse 4-5)
With numerous doctor’s visits, change in medications, and the change in Mama’s ability to function effectively on her own, my mother would oftentimes be the one who was right by her side. Before owning our own car, that journey meant two buses and long waits at differing bus stops. It meant long and tiring distances to and from Mama’s house. However, my mother never bothered.
It meant giving up her weekends and sometimes days at work. It also meant that when Mama would occasionally forget who she was, there would be days where the time spent with Mama was not pleasant. However, this too did not bother my mother.
● God’s always in control (Matthew chapter 10)
When Mama eventually went to be with the Lord, it was not any of her illnesses that took her. To this day, I am unclear as to how it happened or why it happened. But what I do know is that we do not need to understand God’s plan to trust that He has a purpose.
Take away . . .
You blessed us with the love that God gave you,
And we multiplied that as we grew our own.
You stewarded us the best you knew how,
And nurtured many souls.
You taught us the value of hard work,
And you also taught us how to have fun.
Thank you for being among our first love,
Thank you for making your love our home.
Kimberly-Joe Osborne is an authentic, purpose driven, and adventurously expectant wife, mother, entrepreneur, and woman of God.
Better known as KJ, she is an outgoing introvert with a heart that beats for family, faith, travel, culture, creativity, and food. After becoming a mother, she realized adulting could sometimes be a “hot mess” and so laundry became her zen. On this road to recovery from trying to be the perfect mom and wife, she is currently writing her first book which speaks to aligning and growing in faith in the midst of routine.
Kimberly-Joe is also the co-founder of CoacHer Legacy, where she dedicates herself to coaching mothers with the objective of redesigning generational legacy God's way. Through CoacHer Legacy, she and her business partner Shelly-Ann Munroe, provide a social safe space for mothers seeking to live a richer life by stepping out into their God given purpose.