Shortly after Tiffany and Troy’s wedding, I received a message from a girl named Ana who was interested in chatting with me about doing her wedding flowers. She was a friend of Tiffany’s so I was happy to find out more about what she wanted for her big day. She was incredibly sweet, full of spirit and I was thrilled to hear that she loved color and what she referred to as “happy flowers”. However, toward the end of our conversation, I was a taken aback when she told me that her wedding was in November of 2012, not 2011 as I’ve never had someone contact me that far in advance. She clarified that the reason for this was because she was undergoing chemotherapy for cancer she’d been diagnosed with the year before and just wasn’t sure when she would have good weeks and bad. She wanted everything set in stone so that she wasn’t enduring too much stress too close to the wedding. I was completely shocked to hear this as by the sound of her voice, I could have never guessed. She was just that vibrant, lovely and high spirited.
When I met with Ana in person about two months ago, she looked much worse than I’d anticipated. She was incredibly thin, but she was just as happy and full of life as she’d sounded on the phone. Her fiance accompanied her to our meeting and the two of them excitedly showed me around their venue and pointed out their favorite wedding flower clippings pasted to Ana’s inspiration board. Like most brides, she knew exactly what she wanted: Absolutely no roses except for one red rose on an empty chair for her father who had passed away from cancer the year before (because those had been his favorite) and tall vases with submerged tulips, orchids and floating Gerber daisies. I left the meeting excited, but concerned. She assured me she was doing just fine and she was excited to meet again this November to see a few samples.
On Monday, Tiffany called me to let me know Ana had passed away over the weekend at the age of 28, almost one year after her diagnosis and almost one year before her wedding day. When we hung up, I completely lost it. I’d hardly known her, but there was something really special about her. I wish I’d called her to check in two weeks ago before her condition worsened and I wish I’d had the chance to arrange her “happy flowers” for the happiest day of her life. Any age is too young to lose the battle to cancer, but 28 with so much life ahead is way, way too young.
In honor of Ana, I could think of nothing more appropriate than for this Friday Flowers to be happy flowers.