One year older

27-06-2019 10:00 pm

15 years old, wow! Birthdays are a special day for most kids and for most people. My birthday is normally a pretty special day. My parents go crazy-awesome-terminator on our birthdays. I had 7 years of really awesome birthdays, because the day of my birth means the end of the school year in Norway and the start of the summer holidays and I got to spend my birthday with my big sister. When I got a little older - not sure when it happened - I wake up on my birthday, and think of my sister.

Last year I didn't enjoy my birthday as much as I hoped. I was excited to turn 14, and then when I did - I will be honest and say that I cried. It was harder to be older than Sharidyn, than I thought it would be. I know a few of my friends have been down the same road for the same reason as me, but it's not something anyone I know talks about. So last year sometime after my birthday, I sort of decided (or maybe subconsciously decided) to try to enjoy every other day for me and my sister. And the 14th year of my birth literally felt like a roller coaster ride.

Last year, I went to the Labour Youth camp on Utøya and stayed the night so that I could experience a little of what my sisters last days on the island was like. I met one of New Zealands best bands Fat Freddys Drop and their concert was awesome, have met A LOT of politicians - some I admire (others not so much a fan of), spent a lot of time with my family and bonus family who are the best people in my life besides my parents and little sister, as well as a very long list of other things. I have held more than a dozen speeches, started a new blog - and the response to both has been ridiculously awesome even though the theme is normally ridiculously heartache-sad. (And I've learnt how to spell ridiculous.) And had more than a few interviews this past year. Linn (from TV2) was by far one of my very favourites - a little because she has known me since I was 7 years old, but also because she is always respectful of me, my family and the memory of Sharidyn.

The common theme for everything I have been lucky enough to have experienced in the past year, has been my sister Sharidyn. I realised recently that my sister will always be a part of me, a part of my life and my future. Yesterday when I woke up, and beaming down at me with a big grin was my mum. And of course, I thought of Sharidyn and her ear-to-ear larger-than-life smile, and it made me smile. I miss Sharidyn and her smile alot. But I am going to be a teenager, and say that my birthday yesterday and Friday has been all about me. Every year for however long, I will probably always think of my sister wherever I am in the world. But I think Sharidyn would have liked more that I was happy especially on my birthday. So that's my birthday resolution for coming birthday's: No worries, be happy! Sounds like a song.

So to everyone that made me feel special on my birthday thank-you. And to everyone close to me, that makes me feel special all the other days between birthdays - I love you.

To my little sister, Sydney and my parents - always and forever love.

Pilot interview at Clarion Tollboden Hotel, Drammen. Photo Credit: V.Svebakk

Live interview with Norwegian reporter Ane Stokholm from TV2 in Oslo, after meeting the Deputy Prime Minister of New Zealand, Mr Winston Peters. Photo Credit: O.R Bøhn

Interview with New Zealand reporter Joy Reid, and camera man Will Green from One News (TVNZ) in Drammen. Photo Credit: O.R Bøhn

I thank you!

04-05-2019 9:15 am

In little over a month, it will be my 15th birthday. Last year I celebrated my 14th birthday, and was officially older than my sister, Sharidyn. This past year I dedicated to my sister - simply put, I chose to live for me and for Sharidyn.

For more than a year, I have had a blog where I have shared what's in my heart about Sharidyn, about what life has been like for families like mine, and all the things that I've done to create awareness and advocate for the victims. It has been a very long road, and it has NOT been easy. Not everyone I know, or met have been kind or compassionate. I've experienced "things" in the past year that would horrify most normal people.

My parents have fiercely supported me, and protected me - from "criticism" I have received because "some" people think that I am too young because of my age - which makes no sense. At 7 years old, I'm supposedly old enough to cope with losing my sister which I wasn't - but at 14 years old I'm not old enough to "advocate" for her? When you've walked a mile in mine or my parents shoes - then lets talk!

Yes, I am young - but I have more experience about losing a sister to hate and intolerance than most people I know - and I wouldn't wish my experience on anyone. I choose to focus on everything that is beautiful in my life, but I also choose to remember my beautiful sister - because I miss her terribly, and she deserves that I advocate about everything I loved about her. I have grown stronger, and more confident because I have learn't how to be my sisters voice. Sharing my memories about my sister don't hurt me - losing her hurts me, and I have to live with that for the rest of my life. To share my memories - good and bad means I have to open my heart, and let people in, even if it is only for a brief moment. 

Yesterday, I gave a presentation at the 22-July Centre in Oslo for a group of students that were the same age as me. Their childhood has been different to mine, their memories about 22 July are different to mine. Inspite of the the differences in our childhood stories - they showed more compassion, empathy and tolerance than I have seen in a lot of adults. They are my generation, and give me hope for the future. There are a "handful" of people in my life that support me unconditionally - they are the people that are in my corner when the tv cameras are turned off - who inspire me to continue to advocate for my sister, just as my parents have done and still do. To those people, and the group of students I met and spoke to yesterday - I thank you! Thank you for your kindness - YOUR HUMANITY will be my inspiration for the future. ❤

Families like mine, are the keepers of the memories we have about the ones that we love, and have had brutally stolen from us because of hate. We are the only ones that can advocate for them, we are the only ones that can teach the future about what sort of people they were - so that no other brother, sister, son or daughter is killed because of the same hate that stole Sharidyn from me and my family. 💔

I say NO!

No  - to INDIFFERENCE!

No  - to HATE!

No  - to INTOLERANCE!

No - to TERRORISM'S HATEFUL EXISTENCE!

Just as my sister was the keeper of my secrets, I am the keeper of our memories. (2008) Photo Credit: V.Svebakk