Happy Birthday from Florentina!

October 22, 2009 - Florentina and I at the SIDS Charity Ball that I founded in 1998

October 22, 2009 Florentina and I with Emma Rooney who kindly chaired the Ball this year, with Florentina, Andrew and Robert as cho-chairs

October 22, 2009 Florentina and I with Emma Rooney who kindly chaired the Ball this year, with Florentina, Andrew and Robert as cho-chairs

02/02/2008 Robert, Andrew, Bruno and me at the airport. I was India bound for 7 weeks of travel with Amma. Bruno came with me

Today is my mother’s birthday. I write this post to tell her how much I love her and admire all that she does on a daily basis. She is a true inspiration to me in my life and I feel so blessed to have her.

To all of her readers, please comment below and wish her a happy birthday. Today is a hard day for her without Andrew, but let’s try to make it as happy as it can be.

With love,


Thank you Florentina, what a nice surprise to find your post this morning. And thank you for all the birthday wishes that I have received. There is one in particular that I am hoping for…

Sorry I did not post yesterday, I couldn’t. We had an apocalyptic storm in my neck of the woods. Trees and power lines strewn everywhere. We were literally cut off, the roads around us were sealed. Robert, who had gone out with two friends and one of the friends’ older brother before nature unleashed the winds to drive the rains, couldn’t get back home, and the quartet ended up having to seek refuge at one of the boys’ grandmother, several miles from here.
We had no telephone service and even our cell phones died during the evening.
Now that the electricity has come back and with it, the heating, hot water, telephone and internet, I am quite nostalgic about the candle light evening/night that Hugh and I spent the night before last. The quiet was only broken when we talked, and by the howling winds and creaking trees.
When Hugh went out to check the roads and look for Robert, I stayed at home. I listened to the winds and to my heart. In the glow and in the shadows cast by the candles; I searched for Andrew. I hoped he would materialize from somewhere to come and sit with me. But though I didn’t see him, I knew that he was around.
Andrew loved candles. Now, lighting a candle and a jasmine incense stick in front of his picture, is the first thing that Hugh or I do each morning, and throughout the day.
In the light of the flickering flame, my Andrew’s face comes alive and he often smiles his gentle smile at me.

Alright, I am a bit behind schedule, I was going to write about our meetings at The Hill yesterday and as you now know, I couldn’t. Then I was going to write about it today, but with Florentina’s lovely, public birthday wishes I got a bit side-tracked, but I promise that I will write about it tomorrow.


31 thoughts on “Happy Birthday from Florentina!

  1. Happy Birthday dear Esmeralda! It is a sad time and a happy time. We send you and Florentina, all the Williamson-Nobles, very best wishes. Thank you for all you have given and continue to give. It was a special, auspicious day when you were born, dear E. Thanks for the links. Will check in from time to time to see if readers can help in any way.

    For you are a jolly good spirit! Many happy returns. Hugs, V

    • Thank you Virginia! It was an auspicious day when you cam across my blog that’s for sure. What do you mean you will check in from time to time? Only from time to time?

  2. Dear Esmeralda,

    A Birthday Wish and Blessing:

    “May the Blessing of Joy abide within you
    May the Blessing of Peace rest upon you
    May the Blessing of Love flow out through you
    May all the Blessings of the Lord be yours…”
    Happy Birthday, Esmeralda… >i<

    And since I only can share words and feelings, I'd like to share the lyrics of a song that meant a lot to me when all I felt like doing was to cry…

    Just Let Me Cry

    I believe that everything happens for a reason.
    We’re not just tossed by the wind,
    or left in the hands of fate.
    But sometimes life sends a storm that’s unexpected.
    And we’re forced to face our deepest pain.

    When I feel the heartache begin to pull me under…
    I dig my heels in deep,and I fight to keep my ground.
    Still, at times the hurt inside grows stronger.
    And there’s nothing I can do but let out…

    (Chorus) Just let me cry.
    I know it’s hard to see.
    But the pain I feel isn’t going away today.
    Just let me cry.
    Till every tear has fallen.
    Don’t ask when…and don’t ask why.
    Just let me cry.

    When I agreed that God could put this heart inside me.
    I understood that there would be a chance that it would break.
    But I know He knows exactly how I’m feeling…
    And I know in time He’ll take the pain away.
    But for now…


    I have felt joy,
    the kind that makes my heart want to sing.
    And so my tears are not a surrender,
    I’ll feel that way again.
    But for now…
    For this moment…


    I believe that everything happens for a reason…

    2008 Hilary Weeks

    May you feel the love of your family and friends on your day…Aloha~

    • I do feel love all around. I am also on the look out from Andrew to find a way to come through to me.
      But he has, a dear person gave me a huge present a few days ago, a reading. Now one of my dearest wish is to become psychic and to my own communications.

  3. I hope it is a good birthday for you, Esmeralda. And it is so sweet and thoughtful that your daughter posted this message. Shows her love for you and your family. Carla ps. Even if it’s not a great birthday, I hope you will enjoy some delicious cake. You deserve that … and more. xox

    • Thank Carla. I was surprised (and pleased) to see Florentina’s post.
      It is my first birthday without Andrew, yet, strangely enough, I do not feel his absence today. Nevertheless is would be so nice to actually being able to see his face and put my arms around him and vice versa.

  4. Esmeralda,
    HAPPY BIRTHDAY SWEET LADY! I imagine you are cuddled up, sipping something warm and writing…. how lovely 🙂

    We had a terrible storm in my neck of the woods on Saturday. But with that storm came great power. You can feel it all around. Today, more wind. Very persistent this storm…and a wonderful reminder bigger picture.

    Yesterday was my husbands birthday and he was not happy because I spent the day trying to maneuver my way from job site to job site. I had not left the house on Saturday so I had no idea how bad it was. So many people without power and also trapped either in their home, street, or neighborhood. BUT…it was such an interesting life experience and I can’t wait to write about it!

    Do something wonderful for Esmeralda today. I will be thinking of you! you are adored, respected and loved by many.

    xoMonkeyME 🙂

    • Thank you. We’ve been put through the elements as well. We had no electricity for almost 24 hours. All the roads around us very closed and it was difficult to get to my house. AFTER the electricity came back, I thought that the evening by candle light had been quite nice.

  5. Happy Birthday Dearheart.
    not an easy day, but you are surrounded by love, both in this world, and the one beyond. Your bravery and strength are inspiration, know that above all. Your Andrew, like mine, are locked forever in our hearts, never to fade, never to waver. I wish you good thoughts today, a happy memory of your sweet young man, and a hug. You are a rock for me to cling to. Enjjoy your day..give your daughter a hug for me too. peace to you and your family

    • Dearest Iola, how lucky I am that at least we have all found each other. Thank you for your encouraging words. I had just a vision of a day when we shall all be together, all of us with our beloved children and we can introduce our boys to each other and have a great, great celebration.

  6. Ciao. Hai visto che bella sorpresa ti ha fatto Florentina? E’ davvero una ragazza formidabile.
    Ho letto quello che ha scritto durante la tua assenza ed é stata eccezionale.

    Ero certo che fosse accaduto qualcosa di strano per cui non avevi potuto scrivere sul blog.
    Sono certo che Andrew é e sarà sempre al tuo fianco.

    Un abbraccio a tutti voi

    • Grazie Caro. Si Florentina e’ eccezzionalissima. Il suo master e’ in International not for profit administration. A Settembre fara’ un internship alla FAO a Roma
      Ciao un abbraccio

  7. Happy Birthday Esmerelda, you have such a loving daughter wanting you to enjoy a happy day. Enjoy your day with your family. Hold onto each precious moment you have. We send you our best. Love, Alex and Sue

    • Yes I do. And even though we missed Andrew, Florentina, Hugh and Robert went to many extra miles to help make my birthday the best it could be.
      Love to you all and thank you for being you!

  8. I learned about your blog from the JN’s December 6 article about Andrew. I’ve been a reader ever since. Your pain and grief reminds me everyday to keep fighting the war going on in my head as I too have a loving family who would miss me.

    I wish you a very Happy Birthday!

    • Dear Van, How good to hear from you and to know that you have been reading my blog. I am VERY sorry though to learn that you are struggling. Are you seeking help? Or are you suffering in silence? Please feel free to share with me and let me know if I can help. You are safe here with us, the other readers will join in and comfort you and send you their love and best wishes. Tell us more about yourself.
      Big, big hug and thank you for your birthday wishes, Take care sweetheart. Esmeralda

  9. Hi Esmeralda,
    I’ve been thinking about you and your family so much in the past four months, and have been following your blog often. My heart still aches for you, but I am inspired by your courage, your conviction, and your beautiful and wise words. Today, not knowing it was your birthday, I decided to write you, since this weekend you’ve been on my mind constantly. First of all, happy birthday. I am glad that you are surrounded by loving family and friends, and I hope their presence eased your sadness today. Now for my initial reason for contacting you: As a parent of a student at Cornell, I have received numerous emails about two suicides on campus that have occurred in the past two weeks – the first, a sophomore boy, and the second, a junior boy, both jumping to their deaths from bridges over gorges in Ithaca. I am not writing to you to share this depressing news, but more to share with you some of the ways that Cornell has gone about informing and educating students, parents, faculty, alumni, etc. about these recent tragedies; in particular, I thought you might be interested in viewing the webcast that was recorded live this morning: “Understanding and Preventing Suicide”. This, along with the letters from Cornell’s President and Vice President, can be viewed at: http://caringcommunity.cornell.edu/
    I wish you and your family continued strength and peace.

  10. Ciao Esmeralda. Scusami, sono già due giorni in ritardo per volerte un buon compleanno, ma in ogni caso volevo esprimere che anche in Italia i miei pensieri sono frequentamente con te e tutta la tua famiglia, e sono felice che almeno questa tardanza mi a permesso un’opportunità di conoscere tutto che hai fatto a Washington i due giorni passati. Già conoscevo le tue capacità di applicarti per migliorare le cose, ciononostante, quello che stai facendo adesso mi sembra particolarmente importante e commovente. Abbracci e saluti a te, Florentina, Robert, Hugh, Elizabeth, e tanti altri amici, ed amici della tua causa.


    • Carissimo Eugenio, ma quando hai imparato cosi’bene l’Italiano? Sei in Italia? Dove? Quando torni a NY. Lo diro’ a tua madre che mi hai scritto in Italiano.
      Florentina domani va a LA a trovare la sua amica Laura. Lo sai che a Settembre andra’ a lavorare alla FAO a Roma?
      Thank you Eugene, so sweet of you to think of your friend’s mother. Lots of love from all of us.

  11. “Many people listened and cared a lot about him,” Ms. Huynh said. “But no matter how great his support system was, his mind was set, and he was going to do whatever he wanted to do.” This comment from the young woman who dated Matthew Zika disturbs me greatly! To me it shows how much more we as a society need to learn about what causes suicide and how suicide can be prevented. Yes his mind may have been set, but his mind was sick; his thinking skewed. No matter how healthy he may have appeared outwardly, suicidal thinking is NOT “normal”. Suicide prevention measures won’t prevent every potential suicide but just as many people know CPR, the Heimlich maneuver, and basic first aid maybe if we can get basic knowledge of warning signs, how to respond, crisis line numbers out there as we have for other life threatening crises then people will have knowledge on when and how to respond. When my son died in Nov 2008, I somewhat knew what to look for but I definitely was undereducated on how to respond. Now I know! Although I still don’t feel confident that I know enough.

    From the comments posted to the NYT’s article, another problem seems to be finding appropiate immediate and long term care for individuals struggling with suicidal thinking with or without a mental illness.

    • Replying to my own comment; how interesting! Somehow I hate to discuss this topic of how to recognize suicidality and how to take action on this birthday blog posting! Yet maybe it is appropriate if it saves a life. I noticed the following on AFSP’s Facebook wall: how to save a friend from the brink…

      I am not sure how accurate and useful it can be…actually in some ways it makes me want to scream bc at least 3 people interacted with my son the day before and the day of his death but apparently none were enough to bring him back from the suicidal brink he teetered on!

    • And if you read Fisherman post on Huffington Post which I hijacked with comments you’ll get even more upset.
      But the thing really is to patiently and painstakingly talk, correct, educate, raise awareness. That’s what peaceful guerrilla warfare is. Or if you prefer, always be ready with a tennis racket to bat the ball and even more to serve.

  12. shoot…i’m writing. e., I read you and I hear you. …as I try and think of when the day was I started reading. YOU ARE amazing. you lift my spirits….fyi. and all the great things you need and seek….I want them for you! gotta go now at the moment…


    • Thank you and so are you for saying it. Come back when you are not in such a rush and tell me more. 🙂 Esmeralda

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