Home   July 2016: THE SIBLINK | Sibling Scribblings

July 2016: THE SIBLINK | Sibling Scribblings

My Sister Was “Different”
By: Shakir Jackson-McDonald, sister of JFGH resident Rakir

Rakir in front with sisters, Kylia and Shakir.

As a child I’m embarrassed to say that I resented the fact that my sister was “different” than the siblings of my peers. And, that my sister required extra attention or accommodations to do things that I and others took for granted. As a child, I didn’t understand or value the richness of my sister’s differences.

Now, as an adult I revel in them.

When my sister Rakir was younger, she would frustrate me as I would try to teach her “normal” things. In later years, she has effortlessly taught me the power of the “abnormal.” Rakir has taught me the unique ability to love others without condition or pretense. She loves and welcomes everyone regardless of race, gender, class and/or ability with open arms and a warm heart and/or hug.

Rakir’s ability to recognize a face or recall a name of someone she hasn’t seen for 20 years and greet them with a nickname or warm hug, is the power of recognition. But more importantly, she herself is equally unforgettable.

Rakir is always the first to the dance floor and the last to leave. She has never met a song she didn’t like or an opportunity to celebrate or dance with the joy of a life lived abundantly. This is a metaphor for how she lives and encounters life. Rakir is the first to bring her radiant spirit to any setting leaving an endearing lasting impression.

Rakir (left) and her sister, Keisha dancing at the JFGH Hanukah Party.

Rakir lights up a room, has never met a person she didn’t like and loves so freely it’s awe inspiring. While I once thought her autism was her disability, I now know it to be her super power and I’m so proud to call Rakir my little sister.

As my other sister Kylia said, “To sum up a person that you’ve known and loved for almost thirty years is impossible. Rakir captivates a room regardless of the situation. Knowing Rakir, you just have to love her.”

Rakir with her 6 siblings. From L to R: Kylia, Keisha, Ishy, Kila, Shakir, Rakir and Juwanza with mom Deborah in front.

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