This article originally appeared on ABC News and was reprinted with permission.
Heather McManamy, a cancer patient and mom, is determined to remain in her daughter’s memory — so determined that 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 2 breast cancer in April 2013, but it was her terminal diagnosis in August 2014 that had her thinking about her family members’ lives without her, 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’d leave a little something behind for her toddler, Brianna.
For a few months now, McManamy said she’s been raiding the store for greeting cards celebrating all the significant moments 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.”
Inside more than 40 different cards, McManamy said, she offers her daughter advice, shares jokes and wishes her all the happiness in the world.
“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.”
In addition to the cards, McManamy said, she has created videos for Brianna to watch when she’s older.
She hopes her story motivates parents to leave something physical behind for their children after they’re gone.More On