Mother's Message to Her Young Daughter Lives On in New Memoir

Wisconsin Woman Faced Dying with a Lifetime of Love, Lessons, and Laughter

Dec 21, 2015, 12:33 ET from Sourcebooks

NAPERVILLE, Ill., Dec. 21, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Heather McManamy, a Wisconsin mother and terminal cancer patient who first captured headlines this summer for writing dozens of greeting cards for her young daughter's future life milestones, has died.

"So…I have some good news and some bad news," McManamy wrote in a note her husband, Jeff, posted on Facebook. "The bad news is, apparently, I'm dead. Good news, if you're reading this, is that you are most definitely not (unless they have Wi-Fi in the afterlife). 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."

The thirty-six-year-old, who was originally diagnosed with stage 2 cancer in April 2013, was told the following year that her diagnosis was terminal. She began writing greeting cards to her four-year-old daughter Brianna to share advice and celebrate all of the significant moments she would experience in her life: first day of school, birthdays, wedding day, and even her first child.

McManamy had just finished writing the first draft of her upcoming memoir, Cards for Brianna: A Lifetime of Lessons and Love from a Dying Mother to Her Daughter (Sourcebooks, April 2016), with coauthor William Croyle.

"I think Heather initially saw Cards for Brianna as simply something fun to do, but the more we got into it, the more she was able to understand what an awesome impact it could have on the world," Croyle said. "Everything glorious about her—the love, energy, compassion, honesty, resiliency, humor, humbleness—shines through this book." 

Sourcebooks received the book proposal in mid-November and, within a week, had moved the project through acquisitions and made an offer. Editor Anna Michels drafted the contract over the Thanksgiving weekend, and because of the urgency of the situation, Heather and Bill worked to finish the first draft in just two weeks. The publication will coincide with Brianna's fifth birthday in April.

"Shortly after signing the contract for Cards for Brianna, Heather emailed to me, 'I can't express how thrilled I am to spend my final days/months/who knows working on this,'" Michels said. "She passed away ten days later, the night after her coauthor submitted the final manuscript. Every author puts their heart and soul into their writing, but Heather literally worked on this book up to the end of her life. It's an incredible honor to get to publish her memoir and to help tell the world her story."

Cards for Brianna is a celebration of Heather's love for her daughter, as well as her unwillingness to let death stand in the way of their relationship. Her humorous voice brings readers inside the reality of a life being cut short too soon, and how her family found a way to live to the fullest in the short time they had together.

Heather posted about the publication on Facebook less than a week ago, and shared her enthusiasm for the book, "Seriously, thank you to everyone who convinced me that this was one of those YOLO! opportunities I simply had to go for. The timing couldn't have been crazier, but talk about an amazing alignment of the stars to have something so positive and fun to focus on."


SOURCE Sourcebooks