We’re going to take a moment here to mourn the loss of my Annie Annie. She passed away of a heart attack too young, after recently retiring from the corporate life to pursue her dream and open a cake decorating business. She was my fairy godmother and yes, I realize I didn’t call her my Aunt Ann because although she had 26 nieces and nephews, she was MY Annie Annie. (I often stressed that to my cousins back in the day.)
On the day I was born, she gave me my most cherished childhood toy, my Buffy Puppy. Recently, I had worked at re-creating Buffy for a pattern to share here. I wanted other kids to be able to love a stuffed toy that much too. That is how much it meant to me. Although it’s not done, I now feel the need to work harder at perfecting the pattern.
When I was a small child, Ann moved from the country with my Grandma Amy to the big city. She lived with my family for a time in the 70’s before getting her own apartment. She was a godmother, a big sister, and a spare mom all in one while she lived with us. At the time, I was still the only child so it was awesome to have another playmate to annoy at all possible moments of the day. She was a captive audience. And what an audience she was. She was so present in every moment. When I spent time with my Annie Annie she made me feel heard, cared for, and that time spent being silly was never wasted. She had a wonderful sense of humor and never let me forget that I announced as a child I should be addressed as ‘Lisa Victoria From the First’. She would also play loud music on her record player in the basement and we would have dance parties to ‘Benny and the Jets’, or ‘My Baby Does the Hanky Panky’ which would invariably end in both of us collapsing in giggles. She added so much to my love of silly.
In the 80’s, I had the first real and true scare in my life. Ann had cancer. Ann survived with courage and grace. She lived very far away by then, but came home often and I took every opportunity I could to spend time with her finding our silly.
Fast forward to my 30’s and I got the next real and true scare of my life. I had cancer. My Annie Annie was there for me. There were so many questions and she was patient and helped me through all of the answers. She coached me through surviving with courage and as much grace as I could muster. She was a calm voice, a cheerleader, a fairy godmother.
When my father got diagnosed with cancer next, I relied on all of her advice to help coach him through too. I tried to pass it all on, pay it all forward. I think I helped, and I owe it to my Annie Annie for the strength be his calm voice and his cheerleader.
This spring, she finally was able to retire at 68 from her day job. She was starting her next career. I was so excited for her. She had recently called me to tell me that she had finally picked a name for her new endeavor. She was calling it Annie Annie’s Cakes. That was so sweet, it bought tears to my eyes.
She was so special.
She will be missed.
My life has been made better by having her in it.