Anna

My sister, Anna, passed away on 6/12 due to CF related causes. I don’t know how to articulate how I feel. I don’t know how to summarize the feeling. It’s like someone took a piece of my heart. It’s just missing. She is just missing. For the rest of my life, Anna will always be missing.

There is so much history between us (23 years). There is so much we shared and there is so much I am learning about her right now. Anna and I had so many plans together. We were moving into the same house 6/1 and I was so excited. We literally made plans to see movies that hadn’t come out yet. (One has and I saw it, but the other has not). I think over time I will share more and more of my love for Anna and my time with her.

She means so much to me and I hate that she is gone. one piece of “us” that is gone is music. Anna and I were both in choir in high school and we sang in the same group one year (i was a senior and she was a sophmore). She had to WORK at music. CF lungs are not intended to sustain long breaths and long breaths are needed to create pure music. But Anna did it. She did it so well too. I remember how proud I was of her during her senior year. We had a final performance called “Bravo” it was a choir concert that met a talent show. Anna sang a solo that year. I was so impressed for so many reasons. First, I was NEVER brave enough to sign solo at Bravo. I never even audition, but Anna never let her fear stop her. In fact, she turned CF into meaning Courage over Fear (as an aside, in the hospital, her husband asked if she was scared and Anna very openly said she was always scared). So she has always been braver than I am. But i was also impressed that she was selected to sing. So many talented people audition for Bravo but many don’t make it. I was so proud of Anna for securing a solo spot. Most people in the audience had no idea they were watching a young woman with CF sing her heart out.

Music was a constant for us. We shared music with each other and we sang disney songs together. We loved music. And I loved having someone who loved music to share with. The other music memory I want to share was regarding the movie “Pitch Perfect”. Anna and I OBSESSED over that movie together. OBSESSED. We were hanging out, I forget where, but my cousin Sammy was around. We started singing Titanium together and without any verbal communication we split into the two part harmony as performed in “Pitch Perfect”. It was amazing. When we finished, Sammy said that it was awesome that we could do that and she wished she had a sister too. I remember thinking, yeah that was awesome and I love being able to sing with Anna.

Now I don’t have that. And I can’t articulate how physically difficult it is for me to accept that. My heart clenches. My stomach roils. I am short of breath. I lost my melody.

I couldn’t listen to music for days after Anna died. I just couldn’t. It hurt too much. How could I sing without her. But that changed. I don’t know how or when or why. But now I need music. I am listening to our songs, her songs, and songs that just remind me of her. I would like to share the list with you. These are songs that have deep meaning to me and I am sure that as time goes on, the list will grow.

Matt Maher: Empty and Beautiful
Gary Alan: Life Ain’t Always Beautiful; it would be you
Montgomery Gentry: Gone (We sang this too each other and made up a silly little dance)
Sam Smith: Stay with Me (This one seems weird, but i heard it so many times driving to the hospital to see Anna that last month that I connotate it with her)
Luke Bryan: Drink a Beer
Katy Perry: Fireworks; Eye of the Tiger (she loved Katy Perry)
Anna Kendrick & Brittany Snow: Titanum
P!nk: Beam me Up (my Aunt shared this one with me and I love it)
Wicked: For Good
Rent: Without You
Miranda Lambert: Dead Flowers; Over You
Band Perry: If I Die Young (this song was newer when Anna first faced transplant. I remember driving back to Chicago after my wedding and crying to this song as it came on the radio. I was so scared I would lose my sister then. God gave me three more years with her which is not nearly enough, but I am grateful)

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