It was music that introduced singer songwriter Kirsty Lee Akers to Mount Vincent teenager Hannah Rye.
Hannah was a young woman interested in singing lessons with the local country music artist.
But before she could even start, Hannah’s doctor told her she had Ewing’s sarcoma – a rare form of cancer – and needed urgent treatment.
While the lessons didn’t arise, the friendship between Hannah and Kirsty grew, with Hannah even appearing in one of the country star’s music videos – Ain’t That Kinda Girl – after receiving the all clear from doctors.
Sadly, just a couple of months later Hannah found out the disease had returned.
Her death in August prompted a heartfelt tribute from her friend.
On July 20, Kirsty will release her latest album Under My Skin at East Cessnock Bowling Club, which includes a moving tribute to her late friend, titled House Full of Flowers (Hannah’s Song).
The singer’s journey with the piece began while Hannah was alive.
“After the last time I saw Hannah I went home and I started writing the song,” she said.
“I tried to finish it in the one sitting while she was still alive but I felt like if I finished the song it was kind of like I was coming to terms with the fact that she was actually going to go.
“I guess when you’re told a friend is going to pass away you don’t want to come to terms with it, and I just let it sit in limbo a little bit.”
Kirsty hopes that what started as a way to express her emotion could help others going through similar grief.
“That’s how I’ve always dealt with anything in my life,” she said.
“Instead of going to therapy I just write a song.
“In my life, in happy or sad times, I always tend to write a song about it and that normally helps me get through it. If anyone else can relate to it then that’s a bonus.”
The song is written from the perspective of Hannah, sharing reassuring words to her loved ones. Now, through House Full of Flowers, Hannah and Kirsty will be forever connected through what originally brought them together – music.
House Full Of Flowers (Hannah’s Song)
Written by Kirsty Lee Akers and Jerry Salley
The house is full of flowers
Mum and dad are at the church
Today I get to wear my white dress
But I’m arriving in a hearse
I did my best to get to see 16
But that damn cancer got the best of me
Don’t you cry now
Remember all the good times
And somehow, find the strength
To smile and know that I’ll be looking down
Watching over everything you do
Even when the roses aren’t in bloom
The house is full of flowers
Soon they all will start fading
And the sweet fragrance won’t fill every room
Don’t feel bad if you forget me for a moment
It just means times doing what its suppose to do
It doesn’t mean you love me any less
If the hurt stops long enough to catch your breath
Its been a year now since I left you
But don’t you think that I don’t know
If you wonder if there’s tears in heaven
You should see the happy one’s up here that flow
I know you felt me there today
Gathered round to celebrate
The house was full of flowers