Monday, December 21, 2015

#435 One Cool Woman


Two Metsters

Yes, it is Mets Monday and today's blog will be dedicated and written by my friend, Heather McManamy.  Her husband shared her last post on Facebook and today it will be shared here so everyone (those of you not on FB) will be aware of Heather's unbelievable coolness factor.  Screaming for more funding is too late for Heather and the others who died last week, but it isn't too late for those of us still hanging around.  Let's not let one more succumb to this disease.  Be a part of the solution and donate to Let's find a cure today.

From Heather's Facebook page:
Wow, just wow. I can't believe the outpouring of support from all around the world. Thank you all so much! It's easy to forget sometimes, but seeing all of these posts and messages show how much good there is in the world. I am posting Heather's obituary and celebration information. 
Jeff McManamy
I have some good news and some bad news. The bad news is, apparently, I'm dead. The good news is that if you're reading this, you are most definitely not (unless they have wifi in the afterlife). Yes, this sucks. It sucks beyond words, but I'm just so beyond grateful that I lived a life so full of love, joy and amazing friends. I've never written an obituary before, so bear with me...
I was born in West Allis, Wisconsin (Stallis!) on Nov. 30, 1979, to Roman and Carla Sikorski, wonderful people who raised me surrounded by unconditional love and unwavering support. I grew up and had a blast with my brother, Ryan Sikorski, and those memories were ones I always held close. He's an awesome dude. My amazing aunts and uncles, Lauree, Chuck, Don and Pat also made sure we weren't short on fond memories of childhood. After graduating from Milwaukee Pius XI in 1998, I moved to Madison to attend the UW, where my diploma tells me I earned a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and Sociology in between visits to State Street Brats and the Terrace. Most importantly, that was where I met the love of my life, Jeffrey McManamy, on a Badger Saturday and my life truly began.
Jeff and I were inseparable from the moment we met and every day was full of love and laughter. We moved to Jeff's hometown of McFarland and were married May 20, 2006. After years of fun, binge drinking, irresponsibility and countless awesome adventures, we welcomed our daughter, Brianna Noelle McManamy, into our family on April 22, 2011 (the happiest day of our lives). That is when the fun really began. I loved every second of being Bri's mommy and will love her with my whole heart and be proud of her for all eternity.
With my stage four cancer diagnosis in 2014, we made the decision to live life, rather than focus on the unfairness of the universe. And live, we did. I was unbelievably lucky to live life the way I did, in the moment and appreciating every day. I retired from my research specialist position at UW-Madison SMPH to focus on what's important in life: my family. And we created memories that are so incredible; I often have to pinch myself to make sure it was reality. My life was a dream and, despite cancer, often too good to be true. From our magical Disney trip to Mommy Mondays to our Badger Football excitement, to simply snuggling and having dance parties at home, every moment was cherished. I love nothing more than being Brianna's mommy. And I truly believe that the laughter and love we shared will live on forever. It's all still here. My love and support will embrace Brianna eternally and I will always, always be proud of her. Brianna, if you close your eyes, I will always be right by your side. I'll whisper I love you in the wind that blows your curls and as you keep moving on, my love for you will never die, it will always stay strong.
Most importantly, I was unbelievably lucky to spend over a decade with the love of my life and my best friend. True love and soulmates do exist. Every day was full of laughter and love with Jeff by my side. He is genuinely the best husband in the universe. Even on the worst days you could imagine, we found a way to laugh together. I love him more than life itself and I believe that a love like ours is so special it will live forever. Time is the most precious thing in this world and to have shared my life for so long with Jeff is something I am incredibly grateful for. I love you, Jeff. I believe that the awesomeness that is Brianna is our love brought to life, which is pretty beautiful. It absolutely breaks my heart to have to say goodbye. If it's half as sad for you as it is for me, it breaks my heart over again because the last thing I ever want to do is make you sad. I hope that with time, you can think of me and smile and laugh, because, wow, did we have a magnificent life. Go google Physicist's Eulogy and know that it is a scientific fact I will always be with you and Bri in some way.
I hate making people sad, so please don't think of me with pity or sadness. Smile, friends, knowing that we had a blast together and that time was amazing. Please laugh at the memories we made and the fun we had and tell Bri stories so she always knows how much I love her and how I wanted nothing more than to be here with her (and make me sound waaay cooler than I am please). And don't say I lost to cancer. Because cancer may have taken almost everything from me, but it never took my love or my hope or my joy. It wasn't a "battle" it was just life, which is often brutally and randomly unfair, and that's simply how it goes sometimes. I didn't lose. The way I lived for years with cancer is something I consider a pretty big victory.
I came to discover that as you age, your family includes all those you love and ours is far too extensive to list here. But, you know who you are. Thank you for making our life so full of happiness, hilarity and love. Next time you open a bottle of wine to soak in a sunset, please think of me and smile.
I want to especially thank Dr. Sanyal, Dr. MacKay, Dr. Moore, and the AMAZING team of nurses at Dean Oncology and Agrace Hospice. You were there on the worst days of my life and I couldn't have done this without you all. I was able to enjoy life knowing with full confidence that I was getting the best care possible and you were fighting for as much time as I could get with Bri and Jeff. Thank you for taking such great care of me while respecting our priorities.
I love you all, friends, and thank you for the most wonderfully awe-inspiring life. From the bottom of my heart, I wish you long, healthy lives and I hope you can experience the same appreciation for the gift of each day that I did. If you go to my funeral, please run up a bar tab that would make me proud. And there had better be a dance party at some point. Celebrate the beauty of life because you know that's what I want and I believe that in a weird way, I will be there too (you know how much I hate missing out on fun). Know that I want you to wear whatever makes you happy (yes, I mean those ridiculously cute shoes that you never have the occasion to wear). The service should be a celebration. I look forward to haunting each one of you, so this isn't so much a goodbye as it is see you later. And please remember to take a moment now and then during this crazy life to remind yourself that every day matters. And, lastly, a book: Cards for Brianna: A Lifetime of Lessons and Love From a Dying Mother to Her Daughter, written with multiple inspiration book author William Croyle. 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.

Thanks for reading # 435 of 7777.


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  2. Thanks, Mary, for all your support of Heather. The cause of research was so important to her and you gave her so many opportunities: your swims, the die-in, media interviews. Thank you.

  3. This news came the day I got biopsy results telling me I have a new cancer in side of my chest that already has undergone mastectomy 7 years ago. This amazing young woman's words will inspire me as I go through treatment in the months to come, and the Physicist's Eulogy will be read at the celebration of my life when my time comes. For now, I am blessed to look up at the stars every night and thank the universe that there are spirits like Heathers.