What would Anna do?

So we are fast approaching 16th September again… the end of Year 2 without Anna..

And do you know what I’ve figured out..? It genuinely doesn’t get any easier! In fact it gets worse..

Having spent the first 12 months experiencing all the ‘firsts without her’ like Christmas, birthdays, anniversaries etc in what feels like a blur, I’ve discovered that the second ones are worse! You actually ‘feel’ those.

The numbness goes and is replaced with a continual loop of wondering what we would’ve been doing to celebrate Anna’s birthday last month, or what plans we’d have been making for Christmas, or how proud she’d have been of her niece and nephews at their milestone ages. Or what we would’ve been planning for my 40th! 🙈

And I think we were lucky in a way that Anna’s story was so high profile (though at times I selfishly wished it wasn’t). I think it helped our family greatly through the early days. It allowed us to share our memories, pictures of her, videos, achievements.. It was a continual reminder that although she was so unfairly taken from us, she left a mark on the world that we will forever be proud of.

But as time progresses and we’re all just busy muddling through, trying to find our new normal, we share less and internalise more. People stop asking if you’re ok and don’t realise that much of our day to day is still consumed with loss. Decisions are made with a new perspective, feelings are amplified, and the future looks alien. I live in a world (my world) that I don’t know anymore. I’m still learning to live alongside my grief. I’m not saying this for sympathy by the way, it’s more an expression of how life is, warts and all. Hoping some of you can relate in some way…

And I don’t know whether this is just me, but I try not to talk about Anna all the time for fear of making people feel uncomfortable. I love to talk about her, share stories and anecdotes.. let’s face it, there were plenty and she was one funny girl!! Yet I stop myself, especially at work. I’m a hairdresser and spend all day talking to clients, but have found myself sharing a story or two then having to explain that my crazy, funny, life-loving sister is no longer here. Awkward! (To quote the girl herself!)

And I feel like the grim reaper at times too. I would love to be able to talk with families and friends of brain tumour sufferers about our experiences, but I shy away from it because I feel like I’m just over here with the sister who died from hers! Brain tumour prognoses vary so much, but the worrisome, uncertain, whirlpool world that those affected are plunged into is the same, regardless of diagnosis, treatment options and long-term prognosis. So on that note if anyone would like to reach out for a chat about their experiences, or can recommend any Facebook groups I can access to be able to share my experience, I would be open to this! Thank you muchly.

And really, after all that, my continual thought process and mindset remains at ‘what would Anna do?’

Anna at Disneyland- her heaven!
What would she do..? Think ‘f&kc it’, wear the ears and crack on!

I feel like I’ve recreated her as the epitome of wisdom and common sense in my head when I think this (which, by the way, she most certainly wasn’t! Think more ‘Miranda’ and you’re there…); but really what I’m asking myself is this…

‘…if my sister could be as positive and proactive as she was during her final months of life, then is what I’m stressing about really worth it?’

Usually the answer is NO! And then I try and move on (singing Let It Go, Frozen style, very quietly to myself, smiling while I remember the moment during Anna’s final days when I sat with her singing this song. She knew all the words, I only knew three…)

This year we have chosen to spend the dreaded day doing what I love and what Anna would’ve been in her element with! And that’s a day making people feel good! My salon, Lox of Love in Newton Aycliffe, Co. Durham, will be open for a full 24 hours, from 12 noon on 15th September until 12 noon on 16th offering blow dry’s, pin ups, hints and tips on hairstyling, tutorials and more! ALL funds raised will go towards Anna’s growing total raised for Brain Tumour Research Campaign, which by the way is now at a staggering £131,000 and climbing! For those of you wanting to continue supporting us and keeping Anna’s legacy alive, you can book your appointment through Facebook or call the salon on 01325 327362. Or as many of you aren’t local to us and can’t be with us on the day you are more than welcome to pop a donation on to Anna’s usual justgiving page. No pressure of course! I’d be just as grateful for a simple repost across your own social media so that we can continue to share Anna’s journey with anyone who might need the inspiration.

As always I would like to express my thanks to you all for continuing to follow Anna’s page. We’ve been quiet of late and I hope my ramblings explain why. Though I also hope I haven’t come across as maudlin or melancholy. My aim really was to be open and honest about my thoughts in the hope that it strikes a chord with others in a similar boat. I feel incredibly grateful to be here, trying to make the most of it and aiming to live my best life to compensate in some very, very tiny way for the grim and incomprehensible fact that Anna can’t..

Keep smiling, Anna would!!

Victoria 😊 xxx

Forever sisters 💕