Memories of Sheila Stone Dill




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For the last 2 years I have kept a note from my grandma Sheila taped to my wall. It is written in her beautiful script, but at this point, when written in 2021, the arthritis had done it's work on her hands, so the careful letters are shaky. In the midst of her Alzheimers diagnosis I assume she was tasked with writing down memories. This note was short, written to me, a memory Sheila had of me as a child. "What fun it was to pick you up in your stroller to Roeding park on a summery day in Fresno. You were so happy to ride in your stroller because you could see so many animals at once. You especially loved the tall critters - the giraffes!"

The summer after she wrote me this note I found myself at the same zoo daily, probably 25 years after her memory was formed. I had the privilege of working there, and the same summer Sheila passed I got to show her all the pictures I was taking every day. Not just of giraffes but every animal imaginable. Once, long ago, Sheila Dill pushed me around the Fresno Chaffee Zoo, and 25 years later I got to lay with her on her hospital bed and share with her the same animals she shared with me. If Sheila is anything, she is certainly a powerful manifestor.

Sheila Dill loved the natural world deeply. She was a fierce nature explorer, avid birdwatcher, and pet owner. She instilled into all of her children and grandchildren the beauty of the world around us. She found joy in these things, pure unadulterated joy. And sharing them with family, even more. Her contagious spirit in exploring was built into all of us, in our bones and marrow.

My grandma Sheila is and was my hero my whole life. Strong women aren't built overnight. She worked hard and loved harder. I don't think anyone could hope for a better grandmother. She was the textbook definition of doting: She baked, and cooked, and her garden was carefully tended to. Anyone in the family knows the healing power of smelling her fresh baked bread, or starting the morning with Sheila apple butter.

The traits I loved in my Grandma Sheila are the traits I look for in everyone. Tenderness, understanding, and an unrelenting curiosity. She defined so much of humanness for me. She led by example, but also led with love. I couldn't have hoped for a better guide in my 27 years of life. I couldn't hope for a better person to have as my hero.

By Abbi

Sheila Dill with Abbi and Zach

Marc Elliot Hall Henderson, Nevada 

Page created: 14 January, 2023
Page modified: 1 June, 2023

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