Life and Loss

I wanted to touch base and give a little update on my life and my business. First of all, I’m glad you’ve stuck around. It’s been a while since I have really invested in connecting on social media here.

At the beginning of 2019, my husband and I took a leap into the world of hemp farming, and that’s really where my time has been invested. I’ve taken on creative projects, weddings, and so on, but I’ve also been learning all about a completely new industry and really digging my hands into the dirt.

While that is fulfilling, fun, and adventurous, I am still glad to have a space where I can create and grow as an artist. I love connecting with those of you I have met over the years, whether that be through your wedding or through a similar passion.

I am going to share with you something very tragic that happened between the months of August and September of this year. I feel moving forward in my creative business, it would not make sense for me to not share this with you. It is too much of who I am and has changed me deeply.

As some of you probably know from my “I Carry Your Heart” cards, my sister was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia at the end of July this year. She was being treated by the best doctors in the country and their plan of action for her treatment seemed positive. Because of this, I did not spend much time thinking about the potential bad outcome of her diagnosis. The doctors were encouraging and so we all jumped on that train. I haven’t figured out if their positivity was from the fear of being responsible for a cancer patient or family member losing hope or if they really were just that hopeful about her prognosis.

I visited with her during chemotherapy treatments at the Mayo Clinic mid August, and she was doing pretty well given her circumstances. We watched Friends, ate lots of Firehouse subs, and spent some good one on one time together. Her biggest struggle then was being stuck in a hospital for a month, out of town, without the opportunity to leave and see her children as they were starting the school year.

At the end of August, she was released from the hospital, but not before she found out the first chemotherapy they used had not worked. They told her to go home, spend time with her children and husband, and rest. She met her family at my mom’s house in North Carolina, but quickly started having some bad symptoms. She wasn’t talking or eating, couldn’t walk, and was not interacting with her kids which is so not her. My mom took her back to the Mayo Clinic and they readmitted her immediately.

Their next plan of action was to give her an extremely strong chemotherapy treatment over the course of four days. I do not want to share the details, but by the end of the four days, she was not herself anymore. Every one of her vitals was on the brink of collapse and they had to monitor her closely in the ICU. My dad was with her during this time and the ICU doctor called the rest of my family and told us we all needed to come support and encourage her.

Had I realized how bad it had gotten, I would have already been there. But I wasn’t really aware of how bad her condition was until I walked off the elevators and was greeted by my family and 9 medical staff, and whisked away into a conference room. It was then that they shared with us her “very bad prognosis”. I felt like I had been hit by a bus. Again, sparing you many details, we had her children come see her that weekend, in case they wouldn’t be able to again. They were fortunately able to come see her again the next weekend as well.

We were waiting for her test results to come back, hoping and wishing and praying that they would show significant shrinkage of her tumor. Hoping that this absolutely terrible medicine they had put in her body had been for something. On a Wednesday, they took us back into the conference room and gave us the devastating news we could never have imagined. We then had to share with my sister that the chemo had not worked this time either, and there were no treatments left that could help. Being a 31 year old married mother of three children (ages six, five, and 15 months) and being given the news that you would soon die is likely the most excruciating mental circumstance I can imagine. She was moved to a hospice center and we spent the last few days of her life with her.

My sister was the greatest person I ever knew. She was my best friend, my mentor, my guide, my cheerleader, my second mom, my everything. I will never be the same without her in my life. Everything I do from here on in my life, I will first think of her. What would she have wanted me to do? How can I best honor her in what I do with the remainder of my own life?

This has been hard to write. But I thank you for reading if you have made it this far. Every day right now is a struggle as I learn how to live my life without my most special person in it.

I will continue to create with calligraphy and letterpress, but also want to continue to write and share other parts of my life with you. I am hopeful that this will be a therapeutic outlet for me and thankful for this space to do it in.

x,

Anna