A friend I never met.

Every year for Cropover I write about the music, costumes, friends and fun that comes with trekking down the road on the first Monday of August. This year marks a different kind of post with an unexpected turn of events. I say with a heavy heart that the world lost a well known “happy go lucky” girl during the Grand Kadooment. As the participants split to let the ambulance go through, I believe nobody could fathom the purpose of this emergency vehicle. August 1, 2016 Renee Sheppard Ratcliffe had callapsed and was taken away to rest in peace.

Renee was a leader in events and was often called upon for a “good belly laugh” or “sincere hug”. “You either loved her or hated to love her becasue she was real… All of the time”. 

I use quotes because I personally never got the privilege of meeting Renee, these are just words I’m hearing from my friends who knew her well. With a passion for life she was very active in the community, often reaching beyond the call of duty and supporting local gatherings. From Cropover to her twin boys, it seems Renee had a abundunce of loving energy and an unstoppable driving force. 

Judging alone from the photos being spread around, who wouldn’t want to be this girls friend?! The smiles, the mid laughter snap shots, her enthusiasm for well… Everything! From her admiration of dragonflies to the color purple, Renee has made an impression that will stick with the loved ones she departed from as well as the strangers (like myself) that now know of her spirit.


I watched the shock spread across the crowd as the day progressed, the struggle was clear. Do we all go home and try to absorb what had just happened or should we power through and continue jumping in her name. Considering she was a bandleader and designer, Cropover was when she was in her highest of element. In fact, she had just been interviewed prior to us taking the road. I believe her passion for this celebration guided most to live it up even harder and finish strong as Renee, (from the sounds of it) wouldn’t of wanted it any other way. 

After the costumes were retired and all settled down, the island joined to honor her name with a proper setting and peaceful ceremony. 

Renee, I thank you for the impact you’ve recently made in the world that surrounds me. Your story is just one more addition amplifying my gratitude for this fragile life. I’ll allow your quick departure to be a positive reality check in my own daily routine… that I don’t pass up the opportunity to greet someone with a smile, laugh a little louder, love unconditionally and be thankful for my health and very existence.

“Realize deeply, that the present moment is all you ever have.” Eckhart Tolle

“Maybe the best thing to do is stop figuring where you’re going and start enjoying where you’re at.”

“Spread love wherever you go. Let no one ever come to you without leaving happier.” Mothe Teresa

Categories: Fashion from a backpack, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , | 4 Comments

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4 thoughts on “A friend I never met.

  1. Peter Sheppard

    Thank you so much for this … Everyone remembers Renee for her smile, loud laughs, sense of humor , and her generous nature . Very few knew of the difficult times and personal problems she was also going through . Very few saw her cry . We did , which makes her sudden departure on the brink of a “new ” and happier life so much more painful for us .
    Peter (her Dad)

    • Peter, thank you so much for sharing that with us. It seems she got her well known “heart of gold” from you? I truly wish I could of met Renee, as all of our mutual friends said we would of gotten along with enthusiasm. My heart goes to you and yours.

  2. This is beautiful Erika, thank you so much.

    One love.

    >

    • Thank you. Renee was easy to write about with that contagious smile of hers. Truly wish I could of known her beyond the stories I now get to hear. Yes, one love.

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