A tribute to my friend Anna
I had a rule that I would only add people I know personally to my Facebook friends. About 18 months ago I started playing a lot of Scrabble games with a girl called Anna. She lived in Manchester. After a while I added her as a friend. Anna was online a lot as she was in hospital because she had Cystic Fibrosis. It wasn’t something I knew too much about. When we were both online we’d talk on Chat and she’d tell me all about the different treatment she was having and let me know how her lungs were doing and also her weight. Being a bit silly like I am I would make her laugh and she would tell me off because it made her cough. She would tell me about her Mom and little sister, her friends and most of all her boyfriend Adam who stuck by her and made her so happy.
During her times in hospital she had to try and put on weight before they would let her home. As I am a foodie a lot of our conversations were about food. I would try and look out for high calorie food for her. She would always ask what I was cooking for dinner. We also had a running joke that one day she would come and stay in my spare room and it would be her feeding room. I would just cook for her and feed her up with loads of nice foods. She was at her happiest when she was allowed home, or had the anticipation of knowing she may go home soon. She had to fight a few times and each time she defied the doctors and pulled through. Such a fighter. I’m sure her spirit kept her going longer than most could.
On Saturdays we would be on Chat and we would watch the same TV programmes and talk about them. X Factor and that Wipeout game. Funny.
A few months before my 30th birthday she asked me what I would be doing for it. I said I wasn’t really looking forward to being 30 but I was trying to decide whether to just sit in a dark room and be depressed or have a fat party. Anna said that she had told her Mom she wanted a 30th party whether she was there for it or not. She knew that there was a good chance that she would not make it that far. This conversation decided me. How stupid was it to be worried about being another year older. I realised we should just all be grateful to be here and healthy. I invited Anna of course, we knew she wouldn’t be well enough to come but I had a great night with my family and friends and she sent me a great card.
Despite being in and out of hospital (mostly in) for the time I knew her she was always good to talk to. Less negative and miserable than a lot of the people who post things on Facebook . She made me realise how people need to get a grip, not moan on about bad hair days or baggy eyes or hangovers as some do!! Sometimes she would get a bit down and then apologise! I would tell her off, she had the right to get a bit upset about it all. I think she just wanted to keep everyone else happy and didn’t want to show that she was scared or unhappy. Most of the time I was just amazed that she could be so happy and positive when she was facing such unfairness.
On Friday 27th November 2009 I was out for the night and Anna left me a message on my Wall.
hi hun.. i need your feeding room soon, trying to eat but its hard work.. when i get out of here stacey’s feeding room is where i heading next! we need a chat soon 🙂 lots of love xxx
I didn’t see it until I got home just before I went to sleep so I left replying until morning.
When I logged on in the morning I replied to her message. Her friend Kate then came online and told me that she had passed away in the night. She was 22 years old.
Although I knew that it could happen I was still shocked and I was also shocked at how incredibly gutted I was. The unfairness of it more than anything.
However, Anna would not want us moping around. She has such good friends and family and a great boyfriend and they all pulled together. It was Anna’s wish that pink balloons be released for her. On the day of her funeral I walked up the hill at Elmdon Park and released a balloon for her. I think she will have been watching.
Last week I had a message off Anna’s boyfriend Adam. Anna had left a box of things for different people. He had found a letter that she had written to me but he needed my address. He sent it on to me and I got it this morning.
She wrote me a lovely letter in a card saying how she was glad Scrabble had brought us together and how much I had cheered her up and made her laugh. She said she knew that if I was reading it that it meant she wasn’t with us anymore but that I should smile like this : ). So I cried a bit and smiled too. Happy that she wanted to write to me and that I had made a little difference to her days (and Saturday nights!).
There is a donation page in Anna’s memory. If you can spare a couple of quid please do.
Anna, you are a star, thank you for all the smiles and laughs most of all the lesson that we should all cherish every moment and not sweat the little things.
I hope if you are reading this that you can learn from Anna too.
Keep smiling, like this 🙂
Peace, love, empathy