Heather McManamy is proving that one can have a positive impact on others even if they have a terminal illness. Since 2013, McManamy has been fighting breast cancer, but that isn't all she's been doing. Rather than dwelling on these circumstances, the admirable woman has been thinking of ways to help her family heal when she passes away. “It was beyond heartbreaking to know that my daughter and husband would be sad when I passed and there was nothing I could do to comfort them,” she told BuzzFeed.
To ensure that she would be there for them during this difficult time, Heather decided to create a letter-filled memory box for her daughter Brianna. The handwritten notes are meant to celebrate all of the milestones that Brianna will experience in the future. Thus far, she's gathered over 40 letters, videos, cards, recordable books, and memorable trinkets. While it was difficult for her to start this project, it became therapeutic as time went on. “It gives me a feeling of control over something that none of us have control over,” she said.
Based on what Heather has written thus far, it seems that she's always going to be a part of her daughter's life. There are cards to celebrate Brianna's birthdays, engagement, first baby, Mother's Day, her anniversary, and there's even one for when she gets her driver's license. What about when Brianna has a rough day? Loses a pet? Needs a hug? Or simply needs to be told that her mother is proud of her? There are cards for all of that, too.
Not only is Heather preparing for the future, she's also choosing to live in the moment. “Most people just die and that's it,” said the inspiring woman. “I have been given the gift of time to prepare. To do whatever I can to make this easier on my family. Everyone mourns differently. But, if there is some way that I can provide comfort, I want it to be there. That brings me comfort and peace of mind beyond words.” Most importantly, Heather hopes that her story will encourage other parents to live in the moment as well.
All images via Heather McManamy.