20. Dear Anna,

It has been a year! 

I loathe that I can remember 16th September 2016 so vividly. I was awoken by the loudest clap of Thunder I can recall hearing in recent years, one that made Ruby howl (never happens) so I went and got her into bed with me, snuggling her shaking body to comfort her, and in some ways comfort me. I went back to sleep and when I woke a few hours later,  I knew something was different in the world, and then Auntie J called…..

I spent the day celebrating your zest for life. I reveled in the beautiful surroundings I live in, the joy of friendships and a rain shower of sycamore seeds spinning like helicopter rotors as they fell to the ground. I purchased a plant that day, a beautiful deep red Cala Lily, it’s life cycle hasn’t quite brought another flower in time for today, but it lives on. Just as you do in the hearts of those who were privileged enough to know you, even for a second, through the wonderful words of your sister who is doing an incredible job of continuing your blog, and through the hard work that they put into making sure your story doesn’t end.

I’ve spoken many times about how you inspire me every day Anna, even before I knew about Trev there was still an Anna influence in my life. I remember you saying once that you’ve done more living in the time since Trev has been around than you believed you would have done without him. This struck a chord with me. For a long time, I had felt in a state of stasis with my life. I wasn’t happy with the way my Diabetes care was going, I was still searching for that elusive ability to love yourself unconditionally and, I think it’s fair to say, I was just coasting – albeit really well because not that many people knew how I was feeling overall. I found myself almost afraid of going after the life I wanted, the life I’d dreamed of since I was a little girl, for fear that it might not work out, or be as I’d hoped.

With your updates reminding me that life is for living, and showing me how incredible it can be when you really make that choice, I worked on myself. I began a blog about my Type 1 Diabetes which lead me to a group of fellow people with Diabetes, a support network the like of which I couldn’t have dreamt up in a million years. This helped me learn more about how my Diabetes should be cared for, not just by HCPs, but by me too. You helped me get over some of the bitterness I felt about having to impersonate a vital organ all the time. I also took my Reiki first degree which has helped me to connect with myself so I no longer felt adrift. I started to acknowledge that I was actually OK alone, that I enjoy my own company and so naturally, one day someone else would too. I started living, and I was doing it for me, but you took the fear out of me taking that step you exquisite girl. (And now I have to live with a boy!!!!)

There are so many factors that lead the path we take through this life, often we’re redirected and we don’t understand why. I, as I’m sure many others have, spent a long time asking “Why Anna” and trying to bargain with every deity I believed had the compassion to spare you. It didn’t take long before I realised that there aren’t many people in this world who can turn lemons into lemonade the way you can! It takes a true saint of a person to raise awareness the way you did, not just of brain tumours but of the research going on, the work of an amazing charity and above all; the reality of what it’s like to live inside your head during all this. The work you did to reach your ever-increasing fundraising target is second to none, even on days when you felt so unwell. And alongside all of this, you made sure to make each day one that counted, one that not only you but your loved ones would remember. Now, I still occasionally ask “Why Anna”  but it’s mostly been replaced with “Thank You for Anna”. 

And to you, beautiful friend; your light will never fade, my children will know you, and their children too. I will always share the inspiration you gave me and I will always keep your equally exquisite family in my heart and in my thoughts. 

Thank You, Anna, for being my friend and for bringing something wonderful into the lives of not just me, but everyone who knew you. You’re missed and celebrated daily in equal measure – just not always in heels with a glass of something bubbly!

With Love always,



To learn more about Anna’s life, and the continuing work of BTRC and Anna’s family, please visit Anna’s Blog

Today Anna’s family have planned a memory walk, if you’re able to join them I’m sure they’d love to meet you and tell you more about Anna. I’d love to hear how you’ve remembered people you’ve loved and lost, feel free to drop me a line or comment below.



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 […]

via Walk with us in Anna’s memory… — Anna Swabey: Inside My Head


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