Aino Sibelius (née Järnefelt) (August 10, 1871, Helsinki – June 8, 1969, Ainola, Järvenpää) was the wife of Finnish composer Jean Sibelius. They lived most of their 65 years of married life at their home Ainola near Lake Tuusula, Järvenpää, Finland. They had six daughters: Eva (1893-1978), Ruth (1894-1976), Kirsti (1898-1900), Katarina (1903-1984), Margareta (1908-1988) and Heidi (1911-1982).
It was her brother Armas who brought his friend and fellow student, Jean Sibelius, to the family home in the winter of 1889. At the time, the writer Juhani Aho was expressing affection towards Aino, but he did not receive the response he sought. Within the next few years, Aino became engaged to Jean Sibelius, and they were married with her father's blessing at Maxmo on June 10 1892.
Aino's early years in Järvenpää were stressful and difficult, caused partly by financial worries and partly by her husband's drinking and partying lifestyle. She sought to eke out the family budget by creating a vegetable garden from the stony ground near the house. And since they could not afford schooling for the children, Aino taught them at home, a task which she performed very successfully, since they all did well when they later went to school. She spent a period in 1907 convalescing in Hyvinkää Sanatorium.
In 1908 her husband had a throat operation and gave up alcohol for almost seven years, and this was the start of Aino's happiest years. Margareta was born in 1908, then Heidi in 1911 (when Aino was 40 years old), and the children all grew up in Ainola - the only time they lived elsewhere was during the Finnish Civil War in 1918 when they had to move to Helsinki for a couple of months.
In 1972 Jean Sibelius's daughters, Eva, Ruth, Katarina, Margareta, and Heidi, sold Ainola to the Finnish State and it was opened to the public as a museum in 1974.
I am happy that I have been able to live by his side. I feel that I have not lived for nothing. I do not say that it has always been easy – one has had to repress and control one's own wishes – but I am very happy. I bless my destiny and see it as a gift from heaven. To me my husband's music is the word of God – its source is noble, and it is wonderful to live close to such a source.