Heather McManamy, a mother and cancer patient, is determined to remain in her daughter’s memory. She’s so determined, she’s filling out greeting cards for the 4-year-old’s future milestones.
“I did them from when she’s older or younger — random encouragement, bad day, wedding, driver license, even first breakup,” McManamy, 35, of McFarland, Wisconsin, told ABC News. “Every one of these that I get to hand out in person will be an accomplishment.”
McManamy was diagnosed with stage two breast cancer in April 2013. It wasn’t until her terminal diagnosis in August 2014 that she began thinking about her loved ones’ lives without her in the picture, she said.
“It’s in my liver, my bones, my skull, it’s everywhere,” she said. “I’m in my fourth round of chemo — nine in total.
“I will do anything and everything to be here for my daughter and my husband,” McManamy added. “I guess I still have hope. I’m just not ready to say goodbye yet. It’s really painful to know that they’re going to be sad and I won’t be there to comfort them.”
Knowing her life could be cut short, McManamy decided she wanted to leave something behind for her toddler, Brianna.
For the last few months, McManamy said she’s raided stores for greeting cards to celebrate each significant moment life has to offer.
“They’re like this physical representation of ‘this is all of the stuff I’m going to miss,'” she said. “I’m going to miss everything and I never like missing anything. I’m always the last one to leave the party.”
McManamy said she offers her daughter advice, shares jokes and laughs and wishes her all the happiness in the world inside more than 40 different cards.
“My husband and I have been together for 13 years and we have a really special relationship,” she said. “I see Bri’s awesomeness as a personification of our love. She grew up with mommy having cancer as normal, but she’s so happy and hilarious. That kid loves to dance and shake her butt. She’s a special, empathetic kid and she really cares for other people.
“I don’t care what she does in her life,” she added. “I just want her to find her happiness. Life it short. If she’s true to herself, everything will be OK.”
McManamy has also created an arsenal of videos for Brianna to watch as she gets older in addition to the cards. She hopes her story motivates parents to leave something physical behind for their children after they’re gone.