Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Happy Siblings Day! April 10, 2018

Our paths may change as life goes along
But the bond between us remains ever strong.

Today is Siblings Day, one of the lesser holidays on the calendar, but one that most definitely deserves its place. It is undervalued as far as I am concerned. Siblings are important, even though they sometimes live at a distance, even if our relationships do grow old over time, even if we have our differences. Despite all that it behooves us to honor our siblings.

Gary, me, Jerry, Darrell, Barbara and Russ
I am grateful for my siblings. For Gary, Darrell, Barbara, and Russ, and for Jerry Clark. And for the memory of my departed sister Linda. I am grateful to each of them for our shared history, for our family ties, for the memories we have from years passed. I am grateful for the happy times that brought us together and the sad times that also brought us together, even though we would never have wished for it to have happened that way. I am also grateful for the ways our relationships have evolved over the years, sometimes in ways that deepen our bonds, other times in ways that challenge the very fabric of our family.

Maida and her sister Vicki
But most of all I am particularly grateful for the ways my siblings have responded to needs of our dear mother Maida Shepard in these last years of her life. My life is so much better for having my siblings in my life. But most of all, mom is blessed by the care given to her by her children, my siblings, who give the best of themselves to her.

Long Time Siblings. Siblings are usually the people we have known longer in life than anyone else, except our parents. In our larger family, among those who have been siblings a very long time are my 93 year old mother Maida Gower Shepard and her 84 year old sister Vicki Gower Johnston. These days Maida and Vicki live a distance from each other, with Maida living in Washington, and Vicki living in Arizona. But for most of their lives they lived near enough to one another to keep their relationship close. They stay in contact even today as best they can despite the limitations of their advanced years. They have been siblings since 1933, nearly 85 years. This second picture shows Maida and Vicki just a few years ago in Maida's home in Anacortes, Washington.

Sisters Juanita and Paula, with Cindy on the left
But the most remarkable set of siblings among us is my wife Cindy's mother Paula Hicks Harris and her sister Juanita Hicks Eeds. At 94 and 96 years old respectively, Paula and Juanita have shared the bond of sisterhood for almost 95 years! They have been close throughout the years, even as each had children and raised their respective families. They have both lived in San Diego since about 1950, and have lived together in the same house on Burgundy Street for the last 37 years. These days they both struggle with the affects of aging and need full time care, but their sibling bond remains as strong as ever. This third picture shows Juanita in the middle with her sister Paula on the right, and Paula's daughter Cindy on the left.

Rest In Peace Gloria. I received word from my cousin Paula Harrell Tuzzolino that her sister Gloria Harrell Watson, who died two years ago, will be laid to rest later this month in San Diego. On April 26 Gloria's ashes will be interred next to her Grandmother Nola Shannon Gower. At that time there will be a graveside service to honor Gloria. Any family members or friends are welcome to join us. For more details please contact me or Paula.
Darrell, Kellan, Mary and Rachel

Happy Birthday Rachel!
Birthday wishes are extended to my niece Rachel Shepard who turns 31 years old this Saturday April 14. She is the daughter of my sibling Darrell Shepard, and lives in the Seattle, Washington area with her son Kellan. Best wishes to Rachel for a wonderful birthday!

This last picture was taken this past Easter and shows Rachel with her dad Darrell, her mom Mary and her son Kellan. And her friend the Easter Bunny.
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Steve Shepard

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