Parenting, Relationships, What's On Our Mind

The most beautiful goodbye letter from a mum who lost her battle with cancer

Melissa Imbesi by Melissa Imbesi
December 22nd, 2015

Heather McManamy is probably not a name you’re familiar with. She was not an actor, a singer or even a reality TV star. She was so much more; she was a remarkably brave wife, mother, daughter, friend and colleague who passed away last week after being diagnosed with breast cancer in 2013.

She was just 36 years old.

Heather made her husband Jeff promise to share her goodbye letter on her Facebook page after she had passed away and honouring his promise, Jeff did exactly that at 10.44am on December 15.

Her words are gut-wrenchingly honest, heartbreakingly sad and exquisitely beautiful, as well as maintaining the humour that she was surely known for. It’s a letter that everyone on the planet should read.

Here are Heather’s final, and incredible, words:

“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.

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.”

Heather and her beloved daughter

Heather and her beloved daughter

“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 i 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 f*cking 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.

Please tell Brianna stories, so she know how much I love her and how proud of her I will always be (and make me sound waaay cooler than I am). Because I love nothing more than being her mommy. Every moment with her was a happiness I couldn’t even imagine until she came crashing into our world.”

Heather and Brianna

Heather and Brianna

“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 job.”

“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.

Most importantly, I was unbelievably lucky to spend over a decade with the love of my life and my best friend, Jeff. True love and soulmates do exist. Every day was full of hilarity and love with Jeff by my side. He is genuinely the best husband in the universe. Through all my cancer crap, he never wavered when so many people would want to run. Even on the worst days you could imagine, we found a way to laugh together. I love him more than life itself, and I truly believe that a love like that is so special, it will live forever. Time is the most precious thing in the 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 awesome this 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 sh*t, did we have a breathtaking life. Go Google ‘Physicist’s Eulogy’ and know that it is a scientific fact I will always be with you both in some way. I know that if you just stop and look hard enough, I’ll be withthere (in as non-creepy way as possible).

You’re my world and I loved every second we had together more than words.

Heather, her husband Jeff and daughter Brianna

Heather, her husband Jeff and daughter Brianna

Friends, I love you all, and thank you for the most wonderfully awe-inspiring life. And thank you  to all of my amazing doctors and nurses who have taken such incredible care of me. I don’t doubt that my team gave me every possible good day that they could. From the bottom of my heart, I wish all my friends long, healthy lives and I hope you can experience the same appreciation for the gift of each day as I did.

“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 kick*ss party you know that’s what I want and I believe that in a weird way, I will find a way 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 goodby as it is see you later.

Please do me a favour and take a few minutes each day to acknowledge the fragile adventure that is this crazy life. Don’t ever forget: every day matters.”

In addition to her beautiful farewell letter, Heather had also been writing letters to her daughter Brianna to mark every special occasion that she will miss out on. Here’s a look at her story from a local news station:

Rest in Peace you glorious woman.