Annalise Rossi was a beautiful silly woman, she was strong and unafraid, classy and independent. She set high standards for herself and her life, she had the nicest things and a pretty car. But Annalise had pain that required medicine, and her pain came from a place that didn’t show up on an x Ray. Doctors tried to help, friends tried to help, but no one is yet an expert on this topic. We’re all doing the best we can do in this life to make it. And for a while, pills offered the bridge to mend the gap that cracked the surface area of functional happiness. I think it’s easy to stomp our feet and point the blame gun on the opiate crisis, the cartel that grossly profits from these dangerous counterfeits, the doctors that pander it and a government that allows it. But I implore you go take a look in the mirror at the real crisis today: yourself. Me, you and everyone around you, maybe we share equal culpability. If you didn’t know Annalise, then take a look at your life and ponder if you have your own Annalise co starring. Everyone talks about neglected children, but what about neglected adults? Who takes care of the ones that take care of us? My poor friend was so lonely, I think about Annalise, and I think about the wild lady that was so excited that she got her microblading and lash extensions back on schedule and my memories museum displays this selfie she sent me on cue:

I get choked up when the foolishly superficial relief passes thru me that she wasn’t caught dead without her lashes. Annalise would laugh if she heard my thoughts, she would want them that way. I think about the lonely life that she accidentally built made of money and shoes, and I think about my own shallow legacy and wonder if Christian Loubitain will be a pall bearer. She cared about people, she was kind and sweet and generous. She wasn’t perfect of course, and had she been I wouldn’t have given her the time of day. Annalise expected her door to be open and told me I deserved better when she heard a man talk down to me. When a close friend to me went through an emotional crisis herself, Annalise stayed with me and was beside me as I bathed my friend, fed her malnourished body and laid her to sleep in my bed. Penelope loved Annalise, and they would talk to each other in this intolerable language that would run me right out of the house. Annalise was always touched by the smallest gestures of kindness and was quite aware of the cold reality of the human condition. So, the past week as I have made calls, sent texts and emails to anyone that may have knew her Annalise wasn’t probably shocked to hear the apathy exhibited. But the thing is, I don’t think she minded. Annalise was tough and didn’t need much from anyone. But she deserves a grand finale and whether you knew her or not she’d love for you to see her. Because she was a lady, a beautiful one. She was a lover that found something endearing about every man she met-despite the way the woman in his life may have felt differently. She was a friend that took your side whether you were wrong or right, and wouldn’t back down even when you told her to hold fire. She was a mother hell bent on making sure her Monolos I were never filled, and she set the bar high creating a life that on the surface was fantastic. It was her and Nick against the world, but it’s time for you to hold fire now and find peace too. The road has been long and you are due for some rest. So maybe Annalise wasn’t the set standard soccer mom and wife. She was was above any cliche for that matter. She was a person, a dynamic one with flaws, issues, scars, and secrets. She’s a person that deserves to be seen, and one that will refuse to be forgotten. Her name is Anne Balboa.

Annalise Rossi

My friend, Anne Balboa died a year ago this month. Her death was the end of an era, the last true courtesan.