'I was a survivor and I LOVED my life': Young mother writes heartbreaking obituary for herself before she passes away after long battle with cancer
- Beth O'Rourke, 44, of Paxton, Massachusetts, has spent the past 7 years fighting stage four biliary cancer
- She passed away on April 16, and wrote her own obituary
- The mother of Courtney, 11, and Seamus, 8, called herself a 'survivor' and said she 'loved' life
- A page has now been created to raise money for her children's educations
A young mother wrote a heartbreaking obituary for herself before she passed away after a years long battle with cancer.
Beth O'Rourke, 44, of Paxton, Massachusetts, has spent the past 7 years fighting stage four biliary cancer, and on April 16, the mother of Courtney, 11, and Seamus, 8, lost that fight.
But as she stated in her obituary; 'I was a survivor.'
Beth O'Rourke (above with husband Brendan and children Courtney and Seamus), 44, has spent the past 7 years fighting stage four biliary cancer and passed away April 16
Beth (above with Brendan) wrote her own obituary
'I died Thursday, April 16, 2015 surrounded by family, in the arms of my husband and 'anam cara', Brendan Patrick O'Rourke,' she wrote in the obituary.
Anam cara means soul mate in Gaelic.
She then went on to acknowledge all those she loved so much in her life, and then express just how happy she was, even though she was gone.
'I LOVED my life. I loved a long run, to sit quietly by the lake, to read and dance and sing and be silly with our children,' she wrote.
'We loved watching summer storms blow across the water. I loved to chat and laugh with my sisters and friends, until tears ran down our legs!'
In the end though, she focused on her two children and her husband.
'Of all the things I did in this life, nothing compared to being with Brendan and our children. I fought every day to stay alive and to be with them. No person could ever ask for a more loving and supportive husband, always my champion, always,' she said.
'I enjoyed every moment we shared; the great ones, the sad ones, the easy and the hard. I pray they have learned to feel the deep sense of faith that I shared. No matter where this journey brings me next, I will forever carry their love with me, as I am sure there is a piece of me that will forever remain with them.'
As for her own life, she said she hoped to be remembered 'with laughter, love and a good pint.'
Beth and Brendan are seen above on their wedding day
Beth dancing with her father in an old family photo
Jim Heald, the owner of the Heald & Chiampa funeral home and a longtime friend of Beth, says he was not surprised at all she wrote her own obituary.
'She was a planner, and it was in her best efforts to prepare herself and her family for what was coming,' he told ABC News.
'Being in the first person is very different. I write them for the family and she did it firsthand. It's absolutely magnificent.'
He then added; 'In that obituary she was teaching. She so eloquently says, "Cancer loses grace and love wins." It was so profound and so true
Brendan also thought his wife's message was magnificent.
'It's pretty amazing to think that someone could write that before passing away. It's pretty amazing,' he said.
'Beth was amazing.'
'Beth was amazing,' said Brendan of his wife
Beth is seen getting her nursing degree above
In an interview with Today, Brendan once again praised his wife.
'She was so powerful,' he said.
'Most people, up until very recently, didn't even know she was sick, even though she'd been through multiple surgeries and [chemotherapy] treatments. She always had a positive outlook. She always cared more for everybody else first.'
He also said that in addition to writing her obituary she planned the entire funeral so no one else would have to worry about anything after she was gone.
Now family members have set up a GoFundMe page to try and fund her children's education, and help out Brendan, who met his wife when the two were just 14-years-old.
Already $30,000 has been raised, with the hopes of making it to $100,000 from Brendan and the children.
'This is a story about a love that will live forever and will never fade or waver,' the page says of Beth.
'Her love is like the wind, we can't see it but we can feel it every single day.'
BETH O'ROURKE OBITUARY
I died Thursday, April 16, 2015 surrounded by family, in the arms of my husband and anam cara, Brendan Patrick O'Rourke. I was 44 years old. I was a survivor. I was blessed in this life with two amazing children; Courtney Elizabeth age 11 and Seamus Brendan aged 8.
I was a Burncoat girl, raised by my mother, Eileen (Courtney) Rafferty now of Holden, and my very dear uncle, George 'David' Rafferty who predeceased me. Henry J Rafferty was my father who also predeceased me. I also leave my brother Sean P. Rafferty, sisters: Noreen Erickson and her husband Robert, Ellen R Harrity and Megan Rafferty, all of Worcester. I leave a most loving mother and father in law, James G. and Hannah 'Joan' O'Rourke; a sister, Colleen and her husband, Martin Dyer all of Worcester; a brother-in-law, James O'Rourke and his wife, Michelle (Holden) and lifelong friends Carrie Ann Buccaglia (Worcester), Maureen Grenier (Dudley), Patricia Flagg (Millbury), and many nieces and nephews.
I'd like to thank my colleague, physician and dear friend Venu Bathini MD, for his care and support in this battle. You always saw me as a person and not a statistic. In addition I thank my PCP Elizabeth Murphy MD, nurses Beth and Faith and all those who cared for me during this journey. It was not easy for me to be a care receiver, but we forged a path for me that brought me further than most would have imagined.
I attended Burncoat High School, Worcester State University obtaining my masters in nursing. As a 'roaming' catholic I attended Mass in various parishes. We are members of St Columba but attended St. Johns, Our Lady of the Angels and the Abbey in Spencer.
Nursing was my calling, during my career I had the honor and privilege, to care for patients who were amazing people; they often gave me the strength and courage to get through my journey and the desire to return to the work of caring for others. I hope I was able to give them a fraction of what they gave me. I LOVED my life. I loved a long run, to sit quietly by the lake, to read and dance and sing and be silly with our children. We loved watching summer storms blow across the water. I loved to chat and laugh with my sisters and friends, until tears ran down our legs! Brendan and I enjoyed many trips together, most enjoyable were those to Ireland, visiting family to share a pint and some good 'craic'. And of course sitting quietly on the porch with Brendan (listening to the Red Sox). I enjoyed working for a cause, among them, the Pancreatic Cancer Alliance, whose members' spirit and dedication amazed me.
Of all the things I did in this life, nothing compared to being with Brendan and our children. I fought every day to stay alive and to be with them. No person could ever ask for a more loving and supportive husband, always my champion, always. I enjoyed every moment we shared; the great ones, the sad ones, the easy and the hard. I pray they have learned to feel the deep sense of faith that I shared. No matter where this journey brings me next, I will forever carry their love with me, as I am sure there is a piece of me that will forever remain with them.
But cancer does not care who it takes, who it hurts, or honor or love. It comes into your life and starts to break the threads that hold you and you are left to see pieces of yourself slip away and dreams fade. We were clung only to each other with pure love and faith binding us, in the end is when the most amazing thing happens, cancer loses its strength and grace appears. We need to see it. We accept it, and go with it. Grace and love win, not cancer. I hope to be remembered, with laughter, love and a good pint. And for my children to know "No Momma ever did and no Momma ever will….."
Family and friends will gather to honor and remember my life at calling hours on Tuesday, April 21, 2015 from 4:00 to 8:00 pm at Heald & Chiampa Funeral Directors – The Sumner House, 5 Church Road, On the Common, Shrewsbury Center. My Funeral Mass will be celebrated in Saint John's Church, 44 Temple Street, Worcester on Wednesday, April 22nd at 10 a.m. Burial will follow in Mooreland Cemetery, Paxton.
Honor my legacy and love for my children with a donation to Our Story of Love or become involved and help fight cancer in any way you can. Forgive someone today and fill that spot with love.