“Thank you, Momma.”

These were the last words that Holly’s daughter, Brittany, spoke before slipping into unconsciousness and eventually passing away. Holly clings to these words, even now, almost three years after Brittany’s death. For 20 years, Holly had been at Brittany’s side through her long, complex medical journey, never even spending 24 hours away from her.

However, Holly questioned herself despite her diligence as Brittany’s primary caregiver. First, she questioned the decisions that she made when treating Brittany. Did she make her do too much? Could she have eased her pain and suffering? In Brittany’s last days, Holly’s questions changed. Did she allow Brittany to ‘give up’ too early? Is there more that she should have done?

Throughout Brittany’s life, she faced many battles. First of all, Brittany was a brilliant young woman with autism. Her mind functioned at a level that blew her mother and others away. In addition to her autism, however, Brittany struggled with a yet unnamed disease that battled her organs throughout her life. After a life-saving surgery in her teens, Brittany began to write a book about her journey meant to help other children suffering from life-threatening illnesses.

After completing the book, Holly and Brittany decided to table the book until her 21st birthday. At that time, Brittany planned to write more of her story and complete the book. Unfortunately, it became clear in the end that Brittany would not be able to finish the book. She asked her mother to complete it for her. Holly honored Brittany by finalizing the book she titled, ‘Well, Actually …. Thank you, Momma’ (available on Amazon or their website, wellactuallythankyoumomma.com).

Despite Holly’s doubts, Brittany’s own words tell the final story. Holly did everything she could to give Brittany the best life she could. That’s what we all hope for, isn’t it? We work to do everything that we can for our children. And even though most of our children don’t say ‘thank you, momma’ in their last moments with us, we hope and pray that they are thinking these words as we part.