Dying Mum’s Cheeky Letter to Her Daughter Reminds Us to Celebrate Life

You might recall Heather McManamy caught the world’s attention when the greeting cards she wrote for her daughter went public.

The Wisconsin mum was diagnosed with stage 2 breast cancer in April 2013. Just over a year later, doctors gave her the word that it was terminal. Knowing that she didn’t have much time left, McManamy began penning notes to her then-toddler daughter Brianna.

Sadly, McManamy passed away in mid-December.

During her too-short life the mum of one spent her final days enjoy family time and writing a series of greeting cards to her daughter. The notes include her thoughts, words and encouragements for both major milestones as well as the everyday issues that life serves up.  Read more about it here.


Following her passing, McManamy’s husband Jeff posted a last letter on his wife’s Facebook page which had been written by Heather earlier, with this intention in mind. The letter reads:

“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.”

McManamy goes on to ask that nobody tell her daughter, Brianna that she has gone to “heaven.” Saying in her last letter, “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.”


Instead of focussing on the tragedy of the situation, the young mum asked to put the pity aside. She asks,

“Please tell Brianna stories, so she knows 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.”

Along with the love for her daughter, McManamy also wrote about the love that she had for her husband,

“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 the greeting cards and notes that McManamy has left behind, her daughter will get the chance to experience her mum’s love and her husband will have the opportunity to see how his wife can live on – in his daughter’s thoughts and love.

Despite the seriousness of the situation, McManamy adds some levity to her letter writing,

“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 that 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).”

She goes on to urge her family and friends to,

“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).”

With more than 88,000 likes and over 23,000 shares, this final message from Heather McManamy has reached her friends, family, fans and caring souls worldwide. Leaving behind a legacy in letters and words to not be forgotten, the mum concludes her final note with,

“Don’t ever forget: every day matters.”

Heather’s post below:

Hello all,I am posting this on behalf of the love of my life. These are her words. Much love to all. – Jeff…

Posted by Heather McManamy on Tuesday, 15 December 2015


True words for mums, dads and everyone to follow – regardless of your situation.

If you’d like to read more about this special mum, her book, Cards for Brianna: A Lifetime of Lessons and Love from a Dying Mother to Her Daughter, is set for an April 2016 release.

Avatar of Belinda Jennings

Belinda's a passionate advocate for community and connection. As the founder of the Mum Central Network she’s committed to celebrating the journey that is Australian parenthood. Mum to two cheeky boys, and wife to her superstar husband, they live a busy but crazy lifestyle in Adelaide. Great conversation, close friends and good chocolate are her chosen weapons for daily survival. Oh, and bubbles. Champagne is key.

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