This past July, we were misty-eyed over the story of Heather McManamy of McFarland, Wisconsin. Heather had been diagnosed in April of 2013 with terminal breast cancer, and despite her long battle, the cancer had spread — so she embarked on the arduous and heartbreaking task of writing her four-year-old daughter, Brianna, letters for every single stage of her life.
Tragically, Heather passed away earlier this week. But she had a message she wanted to share not only with Brianna, but with all of her loved ones — a message that she told her husband, Jeff, he could only share on Facebook after she had passed. “I am posting this on behalf of the love of my life,” Jeff wrote in a status on Heather’s Facebook account. “These are her words. Much love to all.”
The letter was filled with Heather’s personality and started off immediately with a joke. “So. . . I have some good news and some bad news,” she wrote. “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).”
She then thanked her loved ones for everything they’ve given her. “It sucks beyond words, but I’m just so damn glad I lived a life so full of love, joy and amazing friends,” she wrote. “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.”
She then told her loved ones to respect the fact that her family is not religious and to not tell Brianna that Heather went to heaven. “In her mind, that means that I chose to be somewhere else and left her,” she explained. “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.”
So often, we focus on the tragic end of a battle with cancer, but Heather implored her loved ones to focus on her life, not her death. “Smile, knowing that we had a blast together and that time was AMAZING,” she wrote. “I f**ing hate making people sad. . . 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.”
She expressed her love for her husband in a poetic, gorgeous way:
And finally, she thanked her friends and her doctors, expressing an important wish for the attendees of her funeral:
Her husband also announced that Heather wrote Cards for Brianna, a book filled with the cards she had written for her daughter.
If you want to help the McManamy family during their time of grief — and, as Heather would have wanted, celebration of her life — you can donate to the family’s GoFundMe here. Rest in peace, Heather, and thank you for inspiring us all to acknowledge the fragile adventure that is this crazy life.
(Image via Twitter.)