Goodbye to Esther

 Posted by at 5:34 pm  Add comments
Oct 152008

It’s never easy saying goodbye to loved ones, and in the case of larger-than-life inspirational cancer survivor, Esther, the Moluccan cockatoo, it’s even more difficult. You’ve read lots of stories about Esther on the website. Originally named Lester, but very fond of dropping the L, Lester quickly became Esther, and Esther worked his way into everybody’s heart, feathered or otherwise.

Wendy writes: “Esther came to us when he was 12 years old from a great and loving family, who wanted him to have the best life he could possibly have. Esther was with us for about 10 years. He had squamous cell carcinoma, which is a skin cancer – deadly in humans – most people die with within the first year. Esther had this type of cancer for about 8 years. He had 14 surgeries and 10 chemotherapy therapy treatments in the early stages, and went into remission for a year and a half, but then it came back. He reacted very badly to the next round of chemo so we had to stop. He was given 3 months to live – about 4 years ago!

Esther with one of her flock, former staff supervisor, Corinna

Esther with one of his flock, former staff supervisor, Corinna

“We tried a new treatment as follows: Esther said, “Cancer, go away” every day, and then I kissed it better with magical healing kisses. The cancer was almost gone on the outside. Esther was very happy and did all the educational shows with me. Esther greeted people when they arrived at the sanctuary. Esther was the sanctuary. Recently, Esther has looked the best he has ever looked since the cancer first came. He was a great weight and his feathers were fabulous. He even had new wing feathers coming in.”

However, on October 11, Esther passed away in a moment. As is fitting for a friend who gave so much to all of us, he did not suffer at all. And he was by Wendy’s side, so he was not alone.

We should let our beloved Esther have the last word, from this video taken by volunteer Grant Corriveau. Fly high, strong, and free, Esther. We love you!

  14 Responses to “Goodbye to Esther”

  1. I am crushed, devastated, weepy… I couldn’t even leave a comment after first reading your post today. I was so upset, I had to wait.

    What a great loss! Ester-Lester… that beautiful being that had me laugh so hard and took all my worries away in an instant, like a true magician and a clown, with this same video of him, energetically and excitedly strutting his stuff across the cement floor… pffffffffff to think he is no more is incredibly saddening.

    I am thankful that his human guardian angel was at his side when he said goodbye for good. I’ve worked in palliative care and I know for a fact that beings choose to go when they feel the timing is best, they chose to be either alone or surrounded by certain beings of their choice.

    Lester chose Wendy! What a gift to you my dear, a true testament of how your presence at his side was meaningful and how trustworthy he felt that you were strong enough not only to accompany him during these difficult times but also to pull through having witnessed his departure. He needed you, he knew you were THE ONE for him .

    I am very grateful for beings like Lester and I am most grateful that there are humans like Wendy to care for them.

    My deepest sympathy to all of you at the centre, my heart goes out to you all in these difficult times.

    Warm hugs of compassion,

    Nathalie, Ottawa, Canada

  2. Such sad news. We loved Lester. He was the one bird that was forever stuck in our memories after visiting the facility back in Abbottsford. We often laughed and told the story of our meeting Lester, how he followed us around like the refuge amassador the whole time saying “HI ESTERRRRR!” in that sweet little voice.

    Such a huge personality. Lester will be greatly missed I’m sure.

  3. I am so sad to hear this. I volunteered for the first time today and have been touched forever. I’m devasted I never got a chance to meet the infamous “esther” . Your sanctuary is amazing and I cna’t wait for my next visit to see Peaches, Idaho, Rowdy and all my other new feathered frineds. Sorry for your loss.

  4. oh i just saw the post about esther,and we are so sorry.esther was an amazing little being and we send you our condolences for little joy esther

  5. So sad, but happy that Lester/Ester had non-stop fun in his time at the Refuge. He was like the little brother who followed you around while you took care of his neighbours. He always had something to say as you worked to tidy up around him. It is always hard to say good bye to someone who has been so large in your life but the memories will continue to remind us how special Lester was.
    Thank you to all the caretakers who looked after Lester and made his life so special.

  6. We have met Esther only once and were utterly charmed by his amazing spirit and will to not only live but to live life to the fullest. We were so very touched by this beautiful creature’s desire to welcome us to the sanctuary. Our deepest sympathies to his guardian angel, Wendy, and to all the staff of the WPR.

  7. Oh my…. I just read about Lesters passing.I share your sorrow. Lester was a God send to me the day I gave up my Umbrella Cockatoo(Bailey) to the refuge.I was weepy and so so sad. I remember he called out his own name loudly and repeatedly. He circled me and perched himself atop my foot untying my shoelace.He demanded to be noticed. My pain was somewhat lessened because of him.
    Through my tears there was a smile.He will live in my memory with fondness.

    Thankyou to Wendy ,Lacey and staff for all you do.
    Margaret Daniel

  8. When I was up there to give up my love handsome, for my husbands peace and quite, I meet Ester, what a beautiful bird and how you wonderful people took care of her, God has truley touched you all to care for his creatures.
    It makes me sad for you all who truley cared for that beautiful bird.
    I still miss my baby, who is now your baby and I know he’s in good hands.
    I do need your full address again, i have misplaced it and wanted to send a gift to the kids for play and a little something for helpng out on care.
    Thanks again

  9. What a wonderful tribute to our dearest feathered pal, Esther. He brought so much joy to our hearts..and many first day volunteering there 2 years ago, Esther was helping Wendy with our ‘training’ and I remember him asking me “Do you want a cup of coffee?” He saw my coffee cup and was so smart he put the two together….He melted our hearts and has given us so much joy in our time there. We miss him terribly and will never forget him. He will always hold a special place in our hearts. He was the refuge, his absence leaves an awfully big space to fill….Goodbye Esther, in our hearts forever!

  10. I came to Coombs last April while my husband was working in Qualicum and decided to explore the parrot refuge for the afternoon after seeing your website and watching the video of Esther.

    After looking at all the magnificent parrots on both sides of the building, I went to the back room to interact with the parrots. As soon as I entered the room, one funny and loving little parrot walked up to me. I bent down and he grabbed my sweartshirt sleeve and pulled himself up onto my arm. I wondered if it was Esther and so I asked him and he replied, “Hello Esther”. He was such a lovey bird. He played with the drawstring from my hooded sweatshirt as I walked around and looked at the other birds. He was truly a special bird as he captured and held my attention for my entire visit. I must of held him in my arms for a good hour and he was quite content to nestle down and rest his little head on my shoulder.

    Such a sweet little boy, I am terribly sorry to hear about his passing. He will be sorrily missed.

  11. It’s so hard to wite this message.He was just the best!!! I have the same cancer that he had.I will miss him so very much!Ican’t belive how much you can love a bird that you only knew from the web. site but I did very much he’s fun to watch.But most of all my heart goes out to the staff there.You were great to him and it showed!!! thank u for all the love u give these beautiful birds!!! juanita meredith n.h. usa

  12. I came to see the parrot refuge my summer in B.C. I fell in love with Ester and came back many times that summer just to see him. I left that summer with a heavy heart, knowing that next summer he might not be there. When we came back last summer I beggged my grandparents to take me to see him. It took alot of begging but I got to see him. He was an amazing bird with a huge personality. He will forever be in my heart. I will miss him dearly. Fly high, fly free, be with god.
    -Sammi Orillia, Ontario

  13. Thanks to all the commenters for adding their perceptions of Ester the Wonder Bird! He was an amazing friend to us all. I still miss him of course, but I notice how easily the other parrots at the refuge sooth any pain I still feel. They are all such a gift and a distraction from my own small cares in life.

    Thanks again for your kind words
    Volunteer videographer

  14. Hello Esther
    We shall all remember you
    from the squeaking to the squawking
    To the quirky things you do

    From my first time at the refuge
    You really caught my heart
    and now that I can’t see you
    some has been ripped apart

    Your friends here at the refuge
    now miss your famous call
    “Hi Esther Esther Esther”
    You said to one and all

    I know now you have plumage
    to match your Loving heart
    “Hi Esther Esther Esther”
    Fly free as you depart.


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