Before breast cancer took her life last week, 36-year-old Wisconsin mom Heather McManamy asked her husband Jeff to post a goodbye letter on her Facebook page that is bubbling with life and humor. Her funny but often heartbreaking reflections on life and death have since been shared tens of thousands of times.
The letter 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). 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.
McManamy, whose book of letters to her young daughter, "Cards for Brianna: A Lifetime of Lessons and Love from a Dying Mother to Her Daughter," comes out next April, wrote that her daughter and husband were the joys of her life. The letters are for Brianna whenever she reaches milestones in her life, such as her first day of school and her wedding day.
In the Facebook post, she urged friends and family to focus on the happy times:
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 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. Nothing. Every moment with her was a happiness I couldn't even imagine until she came crashing into our world.
The young mother, who was diagnosed with stage 2 breast cancer in 2013, insisted she didn't want people saying she "lost" to cancer. "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," she wrote.
McManamy noted that they were not a religious family, and asked that others respect her beliefs and not try to comfort her daughter with talk of heaven:
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.
"Go Google Physicist's Eulogy and know that it is a scientific fact I will always be with you both in some way," she adds.
Her passionate message even drops a healthy share of colorful curse words along with words of deep love for her family and friends.
She tells everyone to "dance on the bar for me" at her funeral, and said she's looking forward to haunting them. She signs off saying:
This isn't so much a goodbye as it is see you later. Please do me a favor and take a few minutes each day to acknowledge the fragile adventure that is this crazy life. Don't ever forget: every day matters.