Friday, October 4, 2013

NO ONE KNOWS YOU LIKE YOUR SISTERS


And NO ONE LOVES you like your SISTERS 


I am grateful to have five beautiful sisters.  I am the youngest.  Each day I appreciate their virtues and special attributes of each sister more.  They are all so different from one another, with different styles, different views on life, and different dispositions.  But one thing they all have in common is love, strength and tenacity. Each of them is teaching me insightful life lessons.

My sisters are beautiful, courages, and loving.

LIZ

My oldest sister is Liz.  She is beautiful and youthful even as she begins her 80th decade on earth.  When I think of her the first words that come to mind is that Liz loves life.  She enjoys herself, and dances like there is no tomorrow.  She values being around people, after all she is a social person and loves to have fun. 

She is enjoying being around her youngest grand children, keeps her on her toes.  

I don't remember having a serious conversation with her.  Perhaps it’s our age difference, and that she left home when I was very young. But that doesn’t mean I don’t learn from her.  She is old school. The lessons I take from her are to enjoy life, walk as much as you can.  Don't worry about things our of your control. She is a person who exudes life, and always looks so beautiful. Her husband is 16 years her junior and has a difficult time keeping up with her. 


DORA

Lovely Dora is strong and determined. And she is under no uncertain terms a damn good cook. The image that comes to mind is of a wise and intuitive person. She has knowledge about the traditional medicinal use of plants.   From her I continue to learn about dreams, plants, and stories of my childhood.  She is a traditional story teller.  

She asked me one day when I was six: “Do you want to go to school?”  All my brothers and sisters had already gone to school, so I was so excited to go too.  I said: “Yes!!” She said: “Get your coat on and let’s go.” 

I will always remember our walk to the residential boarding school. She was the cook at residence so I saw her all the time. When we were home from school, she often told us ghost stories in the dark before bed. 

Whether she knows it or not, she is the most similar of all of us to our Mom.  She is happiest when younger grand children are around her. She is comfortable having a house full of boys, with their crazy energy and laughter. Dora has the sweetest giggles.

ANNIE

Sweet adorable Annie, is the sister who never fails to give me the biggest smile and the tightest hug when greeting me. “Love you my baby sister,” she says as she squeezes me tight. When I think of Annie, I think this small person can move mountains with shear determination.

She is a practical woman, a person who is a problem solver and one way or another she gets what she wants. She taught  Denesuline language for many years. She continues to teach me the value of speaking our language and how it connects us to who we are.

She is very well known in Fort Chipewyan and loved by everyone.  

She has early unset dementia.  I told her recently, don't worry if you forget things, I will always have enough memory for the two of us.   

I have snippets of memories as a child doing things with Annie.

My favorite memory was, one summer I spent a couple of weeks at their fish camp.  The most memorable part of that summer was the smell of spruce trees.  We had to lay spruce boughs down inside the floor of our tent. Annie joked about getting a new carpet every week. I also remember the long sandy beach, the warmth of the water, and the stories around the campfire. That was a great summer.

MARY

Genuinely beautiful inside and out.  When I think about Mary my heart swells so big with love.  She is caring, loving, and is always available to help others.  She has a heart of gold. She is sensible, thoughtful, and has a strong sensibility. Oh, by the way she is a fantastic Scrabble player too.

She is the sister I spend the most time with, having lived with her for a few years in my teens. She teaches me everyday to be caring, to be aware of people’s weakness and vulnerabilities.   She also teaches me to persevere, to work hard, and to be tenacious. And when you’re cleaning house, the sinks should always shine! We nick name her Mary-Running-Water because when she is housecleaning she leaves the sink tap water running.

Her incredible strength helped her deal with losing everything she owned when she and her husband's house burnt down in the wild fires in Fort McMurray in May of 2016. She has picked up the pieces of her life and is building a new life for herself and her husband. A new city and a new house.  

The time I spend with her is precious. We have accumulated many hours talking about all sorts of stuff. She has especially given me many insights into people’s addictions. She having been an addictions counsellor for a period in her life.  

ROSE

Darling Rose is beautiful, easygoing and physically strong.  She has a strong mind and no one can tell her what to do. A retired teacher. She is also smart, sensitive and funny.  She has a contagious laugh, I can't tell you how many times she has made me laugh.  She is an activist, fighting for the environment, and against injustices against the First Nations peoples.   
I admire her strength. She is a survivor.  Life has not been easy for her but she has a strong inner strength. She kicked breast cancer’s butt and complication from it! 

I have nicknamed her Rambling-Rose because she can't seem to stay in one place and is always on the road.  Crisscrossing Canada more times than I can count. 

Her teachings to me are to stay strong and never to give up the fight for the underdog. Don't worry about what others think, as long as you're doing the right thing. Just as  important, she has a gift to write, which I keep encouraging her to do.  I even created a blog for her, she has to get back to it and do some blogging. One day I hope to see her publish a book. 

My sisters are providing me with invaluable life lessons.  We don’t get to see each other often but when we do get together, their stories and laughter sustain me for months, the sub text is we love and support one another. No matter our differences we will always encourage and support each other in a loving way.


Liz, me, Mary, and our mama!
Our gifts, we can thank our Mom for passing them on to us. All my sisters speak our indigenous language, we can thank mom for that.  In our journey our connection to one another is our mom.  Indeed, our relationship with our mom influences who we became as adults and how we relate to one another. 

Coming from a large family it is only natural that we all have a different relationship with our mom.  However, the important thing to remember is that our mom, no matter what, did her best for us based on what she had at the time and has made us stronger women.     


I could not have picked a better mom or set of sisters!  

1 comment:

dbs said...

What a great tribute.

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