Sheila, summer 2011

My sister, Sheila, missed – by one day – being born on February 29th, in the leap year of 1956. She missed – by one – being the middle child in our large family. “Just slightly off-center,” was how she once described her position in the family. That could also describe Sheila’s position in life.

Sheila lived her life in a way that was often filled with uncertainty, challenge, adventure…even danger. She was the champion of the underdog, the greatest supporter of those with the biggest disadvantages. She was a fiercely loyal friend. She fell in love easily, and she always fell hard. I often worried that Sheila set herself up for a fall; certainly, she experienced more than her share of failures. I’d cringe at her struggles, and wish that she’d set herself on and easier course.

Sheila’s one true north was her love and loyalty to family and friends. Each of her brothers and sisters enjoyed a unique relationship with her, but it was with our children that Sheila truly shined. The favorite aunt to many nieces and nephews, to them she was friend, confidante and constant supporter.

My own relationship with my sister Sheila was a mixed bag. I loved her always, and worried about her often. Even as adults, though, she could hurt my feelings, and make me just as angry as when we were both children. In the last months of her life, things were good between us. We enjoyed heartfelt conversations and shared good memories. I’m very thankful for that.

Today is my sister, Sheila’s birthday. Though she’s been gone now for over seven years, she always has a special place in my heart…especially on her birthday.


About cindyricksgers

I am an artist. I live on an island in northern Lake Michigan, USA. I have two grown daughters, four strong, smart and handsome grandsons and one beautiful, intelligent and charming granddaughter. I live with two spoiled dogs. I love walking in the woods around my home, reading, writing and playing in my studio.

4 responses »

  1. Cindy, I love this image, and it’s understandable how/why you might be going thru uncertain times. Memories of your dear Sheila are surely near the surface, even when you’re not thinking of her.

    I too was born in ’56 – (july) – and seven years is really not that long for a loved one to be gone. I’ll bet there are times when she seems really near – and perhaps her spirit is peering over your shoulder/smiling over you.

    Thank you for sharing this with us.
    Playamart – Zeebra Design

    • Thank you, Lisa, for these kind comments. I often think of our large family as connected in spirit, whatever our circumstance. Those that have passed on – five now, of the eleven of us – still have a lively presence in my life.

  2. Happy belated birthday, dear Sheila… The complex relationships we have with our siblings seem so clear after they’ve crossed the veil. I found that out after my brother died, now nearly fifteen years ago. If only I knew then what I know now. Alas, we’re left with only memories and lessons, and that little nagging feeling, once in a while, that they’re pushing your buttons from the great beyond, just for fun. Ah, the games siblings play.

    RIP to our dearly departed, and may they continue to seep into our lives in strange and mysterious ways.

    • Yes, Sara, I feel that we share a bit of the same experience, in having a somewhat active and on-going relationship with siblings that have passed on. It is surprising and comforting, but doesn’t seem at all strange to me. Thanks for reading, and for your comments!

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