Anna met her favorite band, Manchester Orchestra, the night of her high school graduation. Afterward, she told her parents it was the best night of her life. Like many people Anna met, she made a profound impact on Andy Hull, the lead singer, and guitarist. These are Andy’s words:
Our band was in the middle of a grueling summer tour when I awoke from my bunk to a letter in the front of our bus. It was the story of a girl who had been suffering with cancer for over a year and we happened to be her favorite band. The story was so moving that we obviously made plans to do everything we could to meet her and make her feel at home with our family.
This girl was Anna Basso, and I had no idea she was about to change my life.
Anna had her graduation the same night as our show and for much of the night, we were nervous and anxious to see if she would be able to make it. What I didn’t know was how severe Anna’s condition had become. When we met her, it was as if she was any other regular teenage sweetheart. Full of joy and smiles as we laughed and talked about normal things any group of people would talk about. She seemed so happy and surprised that we had taken the time to meet her. In reality, it was moving me deeply. There was something about this girl that was special. Something further and bigger than her own means. She was important, and I didn’t know why.
We laughed and hung out for several hours and as we exchanged phone numbers we plotted our majestic reunion at Lollapalooza later that summer. When she left, I felt connected, like I had known this amazing girl for longer than the few hours we spent together.
Several days later, we received news that Anna had gone home to be with the Lord. It shook me to the core. Soon after that, we were asked to come be a part of the celebration of Anna’s life in Dallas. At first, I was frightened that I would not be able to handle my emotions but knew that it was the right thing to do to go. What we found when we got to Dallas was more than I could have imagined. This young woman had affected people in the most amazing ways and we somehow played a part in her life.
There is a song that I penned in 2006 called “I Can Feel Your Pain”. Sometimes as a songwriter, you write things that have no obvious or immediate meaning. I found out through getting to know her family that this song was Anna’s favorite. It helped her get through the tremendous pain she was experiencing. When I examined the lyrics to this song, I realized something incredible. It was about Anna. Word for word explaining the entire scenario I had experienced getting to know her. From lyrics talking about meeting a family at a funeral, to how beautiful this young woman was, it was ALL there. To make it even more obvious that this song was somehow about her, I was told that we both grew up in the same city, Alpharetta, GA, some 1000 miles away from where we eventually met. I truly believe Anna was somewhere in spirit when I wrote it and God gave this song to her. I had the privilege to play this song to her in front of the crowd in Dallas on that night we met.
I think of her often, the picture on my fridge, the relationships with her family that has grown so strong. I will know her forever. Anna’s memory is more than a memory to me. It is a reminder that there is a God working at all times, everywhere. It has shown me that there is so little we understand and so much happening that we never see. I was fortunate enough to write a song that touched someone deeply. But Anna was able to live her life and touch me deeper than she could ever know. I know she watches us, I know she loves that her parents are now my parents, I know she’s embarrassed when she sees her dad tell me that she had a crush on me, and I know she can see how much her short amount of time here on earth will affect and help people for so many years to come.
Anna meeting Manchester Orchestra
“The best night of her life”
I Can Feel Your Pain