Friday, March 1, 2013

Sisters come in many forms....

...And sometimes when or where you least expect?
(Disclaimer: NOT a food truck blog post)

I wasn't looking for a sister. I have three. Three great sisters. Thank you. I have a few "best friends" also. And I have a fairly busy life, that's why I needed some help around my house.

I met her through Debbie, who may have met her through Lynne, maybe. We just know that Debbie, Lynne and I have, among other things in common, we have knowing her in common.

But somehow Sheila seemed to have a special place in my heart and home and was still helping out in my household up until...

Well it started like this. Sheila came to work for me, and she did okay at what she did. Here is where she excelled. Sheila brought sunshine, light and energy with her every other Friday when her beat up old car chugged it's way into our driveway, barely making it up the hill and seemingly having almost as much difficulty getting down the hill at the end of the day. But in the meantime, we had some fun. We shared some laughs, caught each other up on our lives, exchanged thoughts on some current events and we shared more than a few confidences. We laughed together and cried a little too over the years.

Sheila was only supposed to be in my home temporarily. But when it came time for her to leave and the original person to come back, I couldn't do it. We wanted Sheila to be in our home, she had made a place in our hearts and we didn't want to change it. We asked her to stay. She said yes.

I've had some ups and downs over the last couple of years, and Sheila wouldn't let me gloss over any one of them. She wanted to stand with me through it all. She was my defender, listening ear, sounding board, and she knows a few secrets too. Sheila's got the goods on me. I knew I could trust her with that. She didn't just listen and forget either, two weeks later she'd want to know how whatever I was working on, talking about, or about to do, went. Sometimes she'd call me in between her visits just to find out how something was going.

When I shared about my family she'd go to my office and get my photos of my sisters and tie the story back to which sister it was or to which sister my niece or nephew belonged. She cared about my family, my trials and my life.

She called me 'sis.' I love her just like a sister, too.

And she never left my home without a hug and kiss goodbye, for each of us! She loved our family, showing interest in all of us and doted on Eliot, always! She exuded warmth, love and enthusiasm, for us, for life, for fun! She had a good heart. All the time.

You've picked up on the past tense, right? I don't know what set of circumstances brought us to where we are today. I'm not going to speculate or take a stab at explaining. I just know that Friday two weeks ago, Sheila didn't come and I knew that was a problem. I mean yes, it could be a car problem, but something told me it wasn't. I didn't find out until the next day where to find her....

Some chain of events occurred which rendered our Sheila unresponsive and a life squad was called. She was taken to the ER.,  eventually Intensive Care. Her real, life-long, loving sister Donna, who lives in Indianapolis had to get that call which no loved one ever wants to get. Donna drove down here with no answers and still lacks some answers, but has been by Sheila's side, or close by, since getting the terrible news.

We are taking solace today that Donna has had a chance to spend time with Sheila, though still unconscious, before Sheila is no longer with us. I've gotten to know Donna and she, me. Before we'd only heard about one another and now we know what Sheila says is true, we really are a lot alike. The sister she pretended was her sister, and the one who really is. And we are united, as are others who are visiting, supporting and encouraging Donna, we just want the best for Sheila in this transition. Nobody wants to see her suffer.

As far as unanswered questions, because we are a lot alike, my guess is Donna will seek to get a few answers. But then I pray she lets it go and holds on to memories of the Sheila who brought sunshine and love into many households, not just mine, and holds onto the happier memories of Sheila.

And above all, I hope Donna remembers that she did the very best any loving family member would and could do. She stood by Sheila making the very best decisions possible with the information available, and showed graciousness and kindness to all, but only made decisions which were the right ones for their family. That is a tough job for anyone to do, Donna shouldered it almost alone. She'll say she had support, and she did have some. But the mantle rested on Donna's shoulders. She can hold her head up knowing she stood by her sister and didn't waiver in her loyalty or her care for her, ever. I'm grateful Sheila has a sister like Donna.

Sheila passed this evening, as I was writing this post.

Much love to my 'sister' Sheila, and to her natural sister, Donna.

My traditional blog ending is never more apt:
Make the most of today, it is the ONLY one of which you, and I, are guaranteed! 


Beth H said...

Oh, my dear friend! I am so sorry for your loss and for Donna's as well. What a touching tribute. I know Sheila knew that you felt this way - because you're straightforward like that ;) and I love and appreciate that about you. See you soon.

Betsy Eicher said...

Thank you, Beth.. I'd like to think she did know.

Sue said...

I'm sorry you lost her, Betsy. She was lucky to have you in her life.

Betsy Eicher said...

Well I'm trying to say I felt profoundly more fortunate to have her in mine. She was clearly in my corner. However mistakenly she felt I could do no wrong. There's a little shortage of those people right now. This takes nothing away from other sisters I know to be in my corner also. Yo! :)

Denny said...

I am so sorry to hear about Sheila. You were blessed to have her in your life. I know you will miss her.

Betsy Eicher said...

Thanks Denny