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December 20, 2015

Mom with breast cancer writes humorous and heartfelt letter to the world

Letter discusses science, heaven and why she wants people to party at her funeral

Health Cancer
Heather McManamy 1 Contributed Art/Heather McManamy GoFundMe page

Heather McManamy wrote a letter to the world before dying of breast cancer.

"I have some good news and some bad news. The bad news is, apparently, I'm dead."

Those are the first lines of an obituary that 36-year-old Heather McManamy wrote about herself, knowing that she would soon come to the end of a two-and-a-half-year battle with breast cancer.

"Good news, if you’re reading this, is that you are most definitely not (unless they have wifi in the afterlife)," the letter continued, with characteristic humor. "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."

McManamy's words, which have been shared nearly 16,000 times since her husband posted the letter on Tuesday, have touched a chord in people around the world. Her life story could be taken as a painful tragedy, especially as she leaves behind a 4-year-old daughter just weeks before Christmas. But her letter exudes, above all else, overwhelming joy.

"I f---g hate making people sad," she wrote. "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."

Heather McManamy 2
A book of McManamy's letters to her daughter will be published in April. (Contributed Art / Heather McNamamy GoFundMe) 

As a non-religious person, McManamy begged her readers not to tell her daughter Brianna that her mommy is in heaven. Instead, the former researcher pointed to the Physicist's Eulogy, which says that since energy can never be created or destroyed, no person is ever truly gone from the universe.

"It is a scientific fact I will always be with you both in some way," she told her daughter and husband.

She asked people to keep her memory alive by telling Brianna stories that "make me sound waaay cooler than I am" and to celebrate at her funeral by dancing on the bar.

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The family has also set up a GoFundMe page to support Brianna and Jeff McManamy, having previously raised $45,000 to pay for memory-making moments like a trip to Disney World.

These will not be McManamy's final words to the world. She wrote a book of letters to her daughter which will be published in April. Each letter is meant to be read at key moments in her daughter's life – like the first day of kindergarten, the day she has her first beer or the day she gets married.

"I look forward to haunting each one of you, so this isn’t so much a goodbye as it is see you later," she wrote at the end of her letter. "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."

Read the full Facebook post here.