After being diagnosed in her early thirties with terminal breast cancer, Heather McManamy’s normal turned into a fight for her life. Like so many other women, she endured multiple surgeries and dozens of chemo treatments that briefly extended her life, but would not save it.
Before Heather passed away, she wrote a final goodbye to her family and friends that she asked her husband to post on Facebook. It’s both heartbreaking and funny, and filled with advice for how she’d like people to discuss her death with her 4-year-old daughter, Brianna.
Here are a few excerpts, be prepared to laugh and cry…
The good news and the bad news…
So…I have some good news and some bad news. The bad news is, apparently, I’m dead. Good news, if you’re reading this, is that you are most definitely not (unless they have wifi in the afterlife). Yes, this sucks. It sucks beyond words, but I’m just so damn glad I lived a life so full of love, joy and amazing friends. I am lucky to honestly say that I have zero regrets and I spent every ounce of energy I had living life to the fullest. I love you all and thank you for this awesome life.
On comforting Brianna…
Whatever religion brings you comfort, I am happy that you have that. However, respect that we are not religious. Please, please, please do not tell Brianna that I am in heaven. In her mind, that means that I chose to be somewhere else and left her. In reality, I did everything I could to be here with her, as there is nowhere, NOWHERE, I would rather be than with her and Jeff. Please don’t confuse her and let her think for one second that is not true. Because, I am not in heaven. I’m here. But no longer in the crappy body that turned against me. My energy, my love, my laughter, those incredible memories, it’s all here with you. Please don’t think of me with pity or sadness. Smile, knowing that we had a blast together and that time was AMAZING. I fucking hate making people sad. More than anything, I love making people laugh and smile, so please, rather than dwelling on the tragic Terms of Endearment end of my story, laugh at the memories we made and the fun we had.
Time is the most precious thing in this world and to have shared my life for so long with Jeff is something I am incredibly grateful for. I love you, Jeff. I believe that the awesomeness that is Brianna is our love brought to life, which is pretty beautiful. It absolutely breaks my heart to have to say goodbye. If it’s half as sad for you as it is for me, it breaks my heart over again because the last thing I ever want to do is make you sad. I hope that with time, you can think of me and smile and laugh, because, holy shit did we have a breathtaking life.
If you go to my funeral, please run up a bar tab that would make me proud. Heck, blast “Keg on My Coffin” and dance on the bar for me (because there had better be a dance party at some point). Celebrate the beauty of life with a kickass party because you know that’s what I want and I believe that in a weird way, I will find a way to be there too (you know how much I hate missing out on fun). I look forward to haunting each one of you, so this isn’t so much a goodbye as it is see you later.
You can read the entire letter here:
But wait, there’s more.
In addition to writing this incredible letter, Heather also pondered her daughter’s future journey without her mother, and prepared for it.
In the final six weeks of her life, Heather began to write greeting cards to Brianna. Cards for her first day of school, her sixteenth birthday, her wedding day. Cards for when things were going right and when they were going wrong. Cards for when Brianna would need her mother-whether in five years or in fifty years-and Heather wouldn’t be able to be there for her.
And now they are being compiled into a book.
“Cards for Brianna is the story of one mother’s powerful love for her young daughter and Heather’s unmatched experiences, laced with laughter and charm, are a reminder to never take a single day for granted.”
The book will be released in April 2016.
Lead image via Facebook