A woman from Wisconsin recently demonstrated to the world what it’s like to leave a true legacy. Heather McManamy was only 36 years old when she died of breast cancer. She left behind her husband and their very young daughter. As described below, she began taking action, soon after being told in 2014 that her cancer was terminal, to make sure her life would continue to have an impact on her loved ones even after she was gone.
As widely reported by nationwide media, Heather began reflecting on what the future lives of her friends and family would be like, after she passed away, and gained national popularity as the dying mother who had written cards for many of her daughter’s future milestones.
She particularly wanted to communicate life lessons and advice to her daughter, Brianna, who was only a toddler. So Heather decided to write greeting cards for big events in her daughter’s life, to be opened as each occasion took place.
The Wisconsin mom left over 40 different cards for events in her daughter’s life, including formal events such as birthdays and her wedding, as well as informal ones, such as advice for bad days and her first breakup.
Heather also prepared a note for her husband, Jeff, to post on her Facebook page, which he did after her death in December. Her note showed her love of life and for her friends and family. Heather’s announcement of her death, like her greeting card notes to her daughter, left wise advice for its readers:
“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. . . . 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.”
Heather’s memoirs will be published in book form in April 2016, “Cards for Brianna: A Lifetime of Lessons and Love from a Dying Mother to Her Daughter.”
Heather’s positive attitude and writings also serve as sage advice of something we too often forget. Preparing for and facing death openly and honestly is a gift to our loved ones because it allows us to leave behind what really matters, not just what we’ve accumulated financially, but our wisdom, our love and our leadership.
That’s why we build Family Wealth Legacy Interviews into our estate planning process, so we can ensure you leave behind what really matters. Give us a call today if you’d love to ensure you leave a legacy of love to the ones you care about most.
This article is a service of Marc J. Schwartz, Personal Family Lawyer®. One of the objectives of our law practice is to keep families out of court and out of conflict. Our lawyers can help you protect those you love using a Family Wealth Planning Session. Call our office today to schedule a time for us to sit down and identify the best strategies for you and your family.