This blog is dedicated to my oldest sister, Cheryl who recently passed. I am certain that she is with my parents and other loved ones who have gone on. I gathered a few items that she had given me from around the house and then took the picture below.
I could feel her close by as I wrote. I keep seeing her smiling. How comforting! She is happy and out of pain. She looks like her old self again. She was beautiful and quite a looker!
She was a true big sister who lined up her three younger sisters when we went to a new school. She’d say, “You see these three. If you bother them then, you have bothered me.” She probably had her hand on her hip with a sassy attitude! Anyone would think twice.
She was a seamstress. She designed without a pattern. I remember a cranberry wool jacket that she had made and given to me. It had large drop sleeves and was lined with a rich black satin. Whenever I wore the coat, people wanted to know where I got it and how they could get one. “Will she make me one?” was the most prevalent question.
She was a limo driver. Once, Annie Lee, a famous African-American painter, who also recently passed, saw her in the limo line-up in California. Annie Lee exclaimed, “There is an African-American woman driving that limo! I need to paint that!” She told Cheryl how she had reacted and vowed to paint it. I don’t know if she ever did, but she was surely impressed by my sister’s courage as she drove a stretch.
I rode in it with her on a couple of occasions. She went to pick up a businessman and we crossed the Golden Gate Bridge together. I remember her telling me to be very quiet as she maneuvered the limousine across the suspension bridge. During another event, she picked up a birthday girl and her friends and I waited with her until they were ready for their pickup to go home.
I always traveled to wherever she was living. So through her, I saw Los Angeles, when her daughter was born. I saw San Francisco and Oakland a couple of times and sat on Lake Merritt while visiting her. And, I finally made it to Florida twice and I visited her in Tampa and West Palm Beach. I remember us eating and walking as we browsed at an art fair in Boynton Beach.
We saw both the Pacific Ocean and Atlantic Ocean together. I remember seeing the seals gathered on the rocks on the Pacific in California and I saw a scenic ocean liner on the horizon as we faced the Atlantic Ocean in Florida.
So, the picture here represents remnants of her favorite things. The black taffeta was purchased from Fishman’s, one of Chicago’s high-end fabric stores. She spent many days and hours in fabric stores looking in pattern books and making selections of material.
The navy blue bracelet is a gift for one of my birthdays. She made the African headband to the left and designed the colorful tam to the right. All of the sisters have one and we call them our crowns. And then there is the huge dreamcatcher that she sent me in hopes of it capturing those bad dreams.
This is only a small peek as I begin to reflect on Cheryl and how she touched my life. We had a special bond. We could talk. She knew how to listen and respond in a way that let me know that she had heard me. That is a gift in itself. Many hear but few really listen.
I will miss her but I know that she is at peace and if I am really quiet, I know that I can hear her whispering words of encouragement as I carry on stronger for having known her.
Lynn January 16, 2015