A terminally ill mum’s heartbreaking note penned shortly before her death has gone viral.
Heather McManamy died on Monday, aged 36, after living with cancer for more than two years.
A former research specialist at University of Wisconsin, Madison, she left behind husband of nine years, Jeff, and their daughter, Brianna.
Jeff posted the note on Heather’s Facebook page on Tuesday, “on behalf of the love of my life".
The tear-jerking message begins: “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).”
Heather was diagnosed with stage 2b breast cancer in April 2013. Despite major surgery and several rounds of chemo, the cancer spread to her liver and bones.
Heartbreaking: Heather’s words have touched thousands of people worldwide (Facebook/Heather McManamy)
In her note, Heather says “I’m just so damn glad I lived a life so full of love… I am lucky to honestly say that I have zero regrets and I spent every ounce of energy I had living live to the fullest.”
She goes on to urge friends and family not to tell Brianna her mum is in heaven, saying, “In her mind, that means that I chose to be somewhere else and left her… I am not in heaven. I’m here. But no longer in the crappy body that turned against me.”
Heather continues: “Please don’t think of me with pity or sadness. Smile, knowing that we had a blast together and that time was AMAZING.”
She urges friends to tell Brianna stories “so she knows how much I love her and how proud of her I will always be”, adding that she loves “nothing more than being her mommy. Nothing. Every moment with her was a happiness I couldn’t even imagine until she came crashing into our world.
“And don’t say I lost to cancer. Because cancer may have taken almost everything from me, but it never took my love or my hope or my joy. It wasn’t a ‘battle’ it was just life, which is often brutally random and unfair, and that’s simply how it goes sometimes. I didn’t lose, dammit. The way I lived for years with cancer is something I consider a pretty big victory. Please remember that.”
The post has received more than 5,000 likes, with many people touched by her words.
Katrina Mauk-Henschel said, “Just beautiful. At a loss for words. I promise to make each day a bit more meaningful in your honor! What a soulful gal she was!!!”
Jennifer Beres-Dart agreed, saying: “I don’t know Heather or Jeff, but I’m a hot mess of tears over here! What a beautiful testament of true love and a life cherished! This woman is amazing!”
Jeff has been overwhelmed by the amount of support his wife’s post has received, writing on his Facebook page: “Wow, just wow. I can’t believe the outpouring of support from all around the world.
"Thank you all so much! It’s easy to forget sometimes, but seeing all of these posts and messages show how much good there is in the world.”
Heather went to great lengths to make sure Brianna would have her support throughout life, writing letters to be delivered at future milestones such as the loss of her first lost tooth, her first wedding anniversary, and her first baby.
Heather said: “It makes me really happy because I’m lucky to have the opportunity to do this stuff.”
Heather announced on Facebook on Sunday that the touching cards will be made into a book, Cards for Brianna: A Lifetime of Lessons and Love from a Dying Mother to Her Daughter.
Written with author William Croyle, it will be published early in 2016.
Heather’s funeral will take place on Saturday, and she made her views on this clear, saying: “If you go to my funeral, please run up a bar tab that would make me proud.
“And there had better be a dance party at some point. Celebrate the beauty of life because you know that’s what I want and I believe that in a weird way, I will be there too (you know how much I hate missing out on fun).”
Anyone wishing to help the McManamy family can do so through their Go Fund Me page.