Walk with us in Anna’s memory…

As most of you know, it has (somehow!) almost been a year since we lost our girl. And we wanted to mark the day by inviting you all to join us on the afternoon of Saturday 16th September 2017 to walk the Great Aycliffe Way in Anna's memory.

Anna touched the lives of so many people, so even if your connection with her was purely through her blog, we invite you to join us.

Fundraising, though still as vital as always, is optional on this day and is secondary to our goal, which is simply to walk on and remember Anna with love and laughter, in exactly the way she would've wanted. If you wish to join us, and we genuinely welcome everyone, young and old and anywhere in between, all we ask is this:

  1. Get in touch to let us know you'll be there to walk with us. (Contact us through the Inside My Head fb page, or via email to Victoria@loxoflove.co.uk) This is to help us gain an idea of numbers and to let us know to wait for you before we start! Don't want anyone running behind us to catch up (or getting lost!)
  2. Wear something bright and cheery on the day! And literally anything goes! Anna always embraced fun and individuality so, while we ask, for your own comfort and safety, that you remember sensible shoes (some boots aren't made for walking!), you can pretty much wear whatever you see fit to mark the day.
  3. Meet us on the car park of the Cobblers Hall pub, Newton Aycliffe from 1.30pm and we will begin our walk at 2pm. Our walk is approximately 5 miles (gentle terrain so no need to panic!) and not intended to be challenging in any way. We estimate a maximum of 2 hours to complete our walk and we finish where we started, at the pub!
  4. We invite you all to join us afterwards at the Cobblers Hall pub for drinks. So even if you are unable to join us for our walk, you are welcome to raise a glass with us afterwards.
  5. Bring your children, bring your dog, bring banners, balloons or just yourself.. We simply walk on for Anna.
  6. And lastly, if you would like to make a donation or raise sponsorship for the event, we ask that all donations are made either directly to Anna's Justgiving page (which currently sits at a whopping £117k!) or in cash on the day and we will add it to her total on your behalf. Remember ALL donations go to Brain Tumour Research Campaign.

So it is really that simple… We invite you all to help us make, what will always be, an incredibly difficult day for Anna's family and friends, into a day full of love and laughter so that we all remember our beautiful and brave girl just the way she would've wanted.

And if Anna is with us on the day, here's hoping she remembers to order sunshine!

Hope to see you all there! I'll be the one pulling Enid out if some insanely muddy puddle somewhere – she always manages to find one wherever we walk! No wonder she and Anna had such a bond! Have a little peak at this video I found from Summer 2016. It sums up everything about Anna.. Full of life, full of fun and totally on the same wavelength as her crazy springer spaniel!

Victoria xx

If you have any questions about the day, contact us via Facebook or email (victoria@loxoflove.co.uk).

If you are unable to join us and wish to make a donation to Brain Tumour Research Campaign in memory of Anna, you can do so here.

Post 36: The Trouble With Grief…

What do you do when someone you love dies? Someone you assumed would always be there for the whole of your lifetime… someone whose death upsets the natural order that we all live by….?

It’s tempting to become bitter, cynical and even a little hateful at the world, at people who cause hurt and upset to others, at religion, politics… I remind myself that this thought cycle is a potential downward spiral to a life of ugliness, what ifs and general unfulfillment. But I can see how it can be comforting in some ways to hold on to the indignant and self-righteous questions like ‘why is life so unfair?’… ‘what is wrong with this world?’… ‘if there was even a god, why would they allow this to happen?’… ‘what’s the point of it all?’

For some, this is potentially a natural train of thought, the way they approach life, even prior to the loss of a loved one (these people particularly frustrate me), for others it’s just a way of trying to make sense of the loss.

The flip side of this would be to embrace the positives, such as holding on to the memories you are lucky enough to have, feeling thankful to have shared your life with that person, providing support and comfort to those who also lost and are left behind.  In a lot of ways this is much harder than giving in to the negatives.

I sit somewhere in between. I’ve questioned why.. what for.. whose fault is this.. could we have done anything different.. why is that person alive and healthy when my sister isn’t.. blah blah.. And I’ve also thought long and hard about the purpose of it all. We have to find a reason, a purpose for things, to be able to make sense of why we do the things we do.

My favourite question, the one I try and live by, is ‘what would Anna have done?’ Because for someone who was faced with the finality of their life at such a young age, and who managed to rally her troops to behave in the way we all did, and help her to reach her incredible fundraising target of £100k, then she’s someone whose opinion will be forever worth considering.

So with that in mind, as well as a little therapy, some medication, my love for my job, my family and reigniting my love/hate relationship with the gym, I feel a little less lost. Most days..

Of course there are always the times when I get unexpectedly struck by our loss, and it hits hardest from the things you don’t see coming. A comment, an image, an unexpected reminder of the smallest kind… But we’ve grown used to these. I know they will never go away. And they all become part and parcel of remembering and continuing to love that person even though they’re gone.

And somewhere along the way we have all started to see the positives in it all. The point, the reason, the purpose. We were lucky to have had Anna with us for as long as we did, we were lucky to have witnessed and taken lead from her bravery and courage, we were lucky to have not seen Anna lose too much of who she was at the end, we were lucky that we got to say goodbye, and we were lucky that she positively affected so many people in the way that she did, providing comfort to others who needed it along the way.

Hearing the devastating news of the recent terrorism in Manchester brings home just how lucky we were. Anna didn’t go out one day and never come home, we got our goodbye. We were lucky. So you see, it’s all about perspective. Well that’s what I’m learning anyway. Trying to make sense of the senseless.

I even take comfort from the robins and butterflies that seem to appear far more frequently than ever before. I like to believe they’re visits from Anna and the family we have lost. My nan, grandad, aunty Betty, Pete, grandma, grandpa.. Even the dogs.. I like to believe they’re altogether somewhere and I take comfort from that. I haven’t found god, I don’t believe in a lot of things, so for those of you who know me, this is probably totally out of character, but grief changes people, and for me I hope it’s for the better.

Of course we have the added honour of continuing where Anna left her fight, which I think we’ve all taken some comfort in. I’m determined to keep her legacy alive and to support the charity that meant so much to her.

And I strongly believe that her story, as tragic as it is uplifting, should be told. So I am therefore making tentative steps towards writing a book in case I start to forget the little things that made our last couple of years with her so special (and funny.. she was always funny). So any help would be gratefully received! I’ve never written a book before (even though my dissertation felt like one!) so I’m a little out of my comfort zone!

Somehow it has been just over 8 months since Anna passed away. I genuinely don’t know how that time has passed. I’m just travelling back up north from a lovely, much-needed week with some of my family in Cornwall where I’ve had a lot of time to reflect, relax and remember, and so for the first time in months I felt like I had something to say. I hope I haven’t bored you all!!

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Just some positive food for thought and the mantras that Anna tried to live by ❤️
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yes please!
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Anna would’ve loved this one! She’d have sent it with the caption ‘I hate it when this happens!’
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Just some of the memes Anna and I have or would have shared..

I promise my next post (very belated) will be about the charity ball we held in March and what our next fundraising plans are.  But for now I’ll leave you with what I hope wasn’t too melancholy a rambling and some food for thought in that we should all try and see the positives in life (as much a reminder for me as it is for everyone else!) 🙂

Much love

Victoria xx

POST 17: I SAID YES!!!

I want to take you all back to the beginning of this year when I was dealt the devastating blow that has led to me writing this blog – Trev the tw*t! I also want to give you further insight into my private life, so here we go…

This year could not have begun any worse. At 23 years of age, with supposedly my whole life in front of me, I was told I am dying. As I began to (excuse the pun) get my head around everything, I have a vivid recollection of a specific conversation I had with my Mum that led to me having tears streaming down my face. It all of a sudden hit me that I would never fall in love; I would never get married and have my own family. And to put it bluntly, in that moment my heart broke.

My thinking was, even if I did ever get the chance to meet someone, what was going to be the scenario? … “Hi, I’m Anna and I have a terminal brain tumour, nice to meet you!” …ummm, I couldn’t quite see that working! I didn’t have the best of flirting skills before, and didn’t think this would add to my talents!

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Twelve months later, however, where do I find myself? I am sat on my sofa surrounded by “Congratulations On your Engagement” banners, balloons, flowers, and cards. How the bloomin’ hell did this happen you may ask?! (I sure am!)

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ENTER ANDREW.

(For those of you who are easily nauseous, be warned, soppy stuff approaching…)

Where do I begin with this guy? I reckon perfection is pretty darn close! When the darkest days of my life were bearing down on me, Andrew came and brought the brightest sunshine. He knew from day one that I was Anna and Andy rugbybattling a terminal illness, and yet did not let this, in any way, shape or form cloud any of our time together. It’s so cliché to say I knew from day one, but, personally I knew he was more than special. I most definitely do not know where I would be mentally, in terms of dealing with this illness without him. I’m sure I would be battling on through with all of my family support. But with this massive smile on my face? I am not so sure! The most beautiful thing for me, is that Andy sees me, just for me, not ‘Anna with a brain tumour’. He is obviously there for me to talk to about Trev and all the emotions and physical pain Trev brings with him, and vice versa whenever either of us need, and he has accompanied me to as many hospital visits as possible.

To sum him up, he is my best friend and love of my life and our relationship is SO FUN! Considering all that has been going on, I don’tBall ready think, out of all my 24 years, that I have laughed so much. Regardless of this illness, I am positive, that one way or another, we would have found each other; this would have been too good to have missed. And in Andy’s (maybe slightly corny) words, when we do have to consider Trev, he would rather have loved and lost, than to never have loved at all. What I do have to remind myself is that three years is only an average diagnosis and I am my own person, different to all other brain tumour patients who have sadly passed before me; this could mean I live for many, many years longer than this average figure – and as I regularly say, game on Trev! I cannot halt living my life, and my oh my, how I’m blessed to be living the rest of my life, however long it may be, with Andy right by my side!

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On Saturday December 5th 2015, Andy got down on one knee and asked me to be his wife. OF COURSE I SAID YES!!!!!! I am still buzzing with excitement and I have permanent butterflies. He has made me the happiest woman alive! And I am delighted to share the happiest moment of my life with you all –

 

Other than showing off my ring, the real reason I wanted to share this special moment with you all is to help others who may have been given a similar diagnosis and have experienced some of my previous fears and might feel as though this means you have to stop living ‘normally’. I am aware I am fortunate that, to date, I have no severe or consistent side effects; however I know that Andy will be by my side if ever that were the case. There are, evidently, truly incredible people out there; Andy topping that list (not that I am biased!! 😛 ). We all deserve happiness and we need to embrace it, despite illness.

ROLL ON THE WEDDING!!!! 😀

Much like our house warming…you are all invited! 😛