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, the start of the summer holidays and I got to spend my birthday with my big sister. As I got a little older - not sure when it happened - I wake up on my birthday, and automatically think of Sharidyn.

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 that I didn't want to be on.

Last year, I went to the AUF (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 also met one of New Zealands best bands Fat Freddys Drop when they were in Oslo, and their concert was awesome! I have been fortunate to meet alot of politicians, some I admire and others I'm not so much a fan of,  and more importantly I have spent a lot of time with my family and bonus family who are the best people in my life, to name a few of the 2018-highlights.

I have also held more than a dozen speeches and presentations for different national and international organisations and schools, ans started a new blog. 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 Wik (from TV2) was by far one of my very favourites. A little because she has known me (and my family) since I was 7 years old, but also because she is extremely kind and 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.

Celebrating my birthday with my family (26-06-2019) Photo credit: V. Svebakk/O.R Bøhn

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

Live interview with Norwegian reporter Ane Stokholm/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

Missing you Sharidyn!

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 to me 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 doesn'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 22nd July are different to mine. Inspite of the the differences in our childhood stories - I felt more compassion, empathy and tolerance than I have seen in a lot of adults, as sad as that sounds. Those group of students are my generation, and they give me hope for the future. There are a handful of people in my life that support me unconditionally, they are my friends and family who are always in my corner when the tv cameras are turned off. They are my village, 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/with 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