This post isn’t about DIY or crafts or decorating. It’s a post about my friend, Anneliese, who lost a battle with breast cancer last night. Perhaps it is not the cheeriest of posts but it would feel wrong to me to write about Christmas or spray paint tonight, when I really feel quite sad at the loss of a very vibrant person.
Anneliese was only 38 years old and left behind a very sweet 13 year old daughter. Her decline was absolutely startling. I just spoke with my upbeat friend last Saturday and last night I went and said goodbye to her for the last time. She passed away only 5 hours after I left her side.
Anneliese was hysterical. And fun. And a fierce friend.
She would take my side immediately without having to hear the other. She believed in me and encouraged me. She had red hair and an Irish heritage and a very spunky, witty, and blunt personality – all of which I loved her for.
She was a great mentor, being a few years ahead of me in our field. When I was worried about getting a job after college, she reviewed and edited all of my cover letters and resumes without fail. She shared my love of history and my hatred of historical inaccuracies. She loved kids, teaching, reading, and gardening.
She wore funny socks and spelled words with their British spelling. She called gas “petrol”. She always had some kind of story or drama or fun fact to share with me. She had some of the worst experiences anyone on this Earth could ever have, and yet she was tough as nails.
Anneliese loved antiques, thrift stores, estate sales, and Goodwill. I was always excited to hear about 19th century desks and the like that she snagged on the cheap.
She was a total neat freak, which always made me worried to have her over to my house. Once, she longingly told me about a vacuum cleaner she used to have that had a screen that told her just HOW clean her carpet was. She totally hated one intern that worked with us that kept using a hole puncher and spewing all of the white circles on the floor. She sent me a pretty funny e-mail when I posted about my new make-up station, telling me she was glad I got rid of my gross mascara. Additionally, she disliked that my brush had hair on it.
She was completely brilliant and could remember exact events in minute detail. When I would forget one of our conversations, she would say “Don’t you remember, Cat? I told you that when we were RIGHT HERE and you were wearing a yellow shirt, etc.”
She was one of my first friends when I moved to Virginia, and I appreciated her so much. When she told me she had breast cancer, the first thing I told her was how cute her new boobs were going to be. I couldn’t even fathom at the time that such an aggressive cancer would move to her liver and take away my friend. She was so young. And so beautiful. And the world is already duller without her.
When I visited Anneliese last night, she was unable to speak, but I hope she could hear me. I brought her a small and pretty Christmas-ish tree made out of rosemary. I told her she should be glad that I brought her a rosemary tree instead of cooking with it, as she knows I’m a horrible cook. I also told her she should be glad that she got sick only after the seventh Harry Potter came out. At least she knows the ending. I also told her that she was not missing much in the Christmas decoration department, as her tacky neighbors had put a Santa in the front yard being pulled by a giant chicken. I told her not to worry about her daughter, that I would keep an eye out for her and make sure that she continues the tradition of wearing wacky socks. I assured her that her daughter would not go to the “dark side” aka, that I would make sure she remained a history nerd. I asked her to send the hubs and me some beautiful baby girls some day – assuring her that I would be lost if I couldn’t spray paint things pink forever. I chatted about our future and our plans and told her that I loved her and was going to miss her very much. When I leaned over and told her goodbye she opened up her eyes really big, looked at me, and closed them. I hope she knows I was there.
At 11:30 last night, I got a very upsetting call from her 13 year old telling me that she was gone. I just wanted to ask, if you have read this far, for thoughts and prayers for this family. Anneliese was an only child, and her daughter is an only child. It’s a very small, tight knit, and very strong Catholic family, and I can’t think of any family that needs prayers more than hers.
Goodbye, my friend. You are sorely missed, and I love you.