A 40-year-old woman who recently died of breast cancer left a heartbreaking farewell letter reminding those left behind not to take life for granted.
Rowena Kincaid was originally diagnosed with breast cancer in 2009, but was given a terminal diagnosis with six months to live back in 2013.
Defying doctors, she fought for three whole years, but sadly passed away on September 2 in her home city of Cardiff.
Determined to make the most of each and every second, BBC picture editor Rowena made two documentaries called Before I Kick The Bucket, where she discussed all the things she wanted to do before she died.
Top of her list was to reach her 40th birthday, which she did with a costumed ball at Cardiff Castle.
In a world where many people dread milestone birthdays, it’s pretty sobering to remember that some people won’t be lucky enough to reach those birthdays.
A farewell letter written by Rowena was read out by her sister at her funeral last week, in which she urged people not to take life for granted.
‘I will miss this world,’ she wrote. ‘To not be able to wake and see the sun in the sky, feel the wind and the rain on my face, taking the air deep into my lungs.’
‘Listening to music, or all the sounds I love to hear. To touch all the things around me, simple things; stroking a pet and hugging a loved one, tasting food or kisses. The world has much beauty to offer, much we take for granted. I learned not to in the end.’
She also left a list of things she’d learned at the end of her life.
- Be forever kind to yourself. Know your body and listen to your gut instincts at all times.
- Follow what it tells you and have faith in what you feel from it, it’s there to protect you. I listened well and it looked after me for as much as it could.
- Acknowledge your weaknesses, as to do so is also a strength. To fight them or focus on them is a waste of time. So concentrate on the positives, then more positivity and strength will come your way.
- Remember a problem is only as big as you make it, no matter how bad it seems there are always solutions, and can always be overcome. It will only last as long as you allow it to.
- You can do whatever you dream. Don’t stop yourself from living it, as it will only be you that does – You are the boss of your life, you have more control than you realise.
- Slow down sometimes and look around. Life does move fast and time is not your friend.
- Make time for the small things, the things we take for granted, as you will be surprised how good that feels. Do that thing you’ve always wanted to do, why wait?
- Love, but don’t fall in love with the idea of love.
- Everyone you meet in your life will teach you something, whether they are in it for a short time, or forever. What they teach you, in time, you will see is a gift.
- Always and never forget; to believe in yourself.
Read more about Rowena’s efforts to bring an end to cancer at Metro.