My favorite part of the holidays is spending time with my family, but it's also so easy for me to get wrapped up in the commercial part of the season. Thankfully, there are people like Hannah Summers to remind all of us about what's truly important. Hannah, 18, lost her mom, Peggy, on October 31 to stage 4 kidney cancer. Peggy was only 55.
As hard as the holidays will be this year for Hannah and her siblings, Peggy did one last thing to remind her children of her unconditional love — she wrote them all letters.
"It was really hard to read, but at the same time, it brought me a lot of comfort because it helped me realize she's always gonna be here with me," Hannah said to TODAY. "I think she wanted to write it to make sure we all knew that she's with us and to give us some closure."
Peggy wrote the letters back in June when she had surgery that she thought she might not survive.
"Hannah," her letter begins. "If you are reading this, then the surgery did not go well. I'm sorry, I tried my best to beat this terrible disease, but I guess God had other things for me to do. Please don't be mad, bad things happen in life and we have to learn to deal with it no matter how much it hurts."
The letter continues by warning Hannah about parties, boys, and studying hard in school — the typical things every mother worries about. Hannah said she was initially not going to share the letter on social media, but after reading it, she thought people could learn from her mother's wise words. Since posting the message on November 1 on Twitter, Hannah has received support from people everywhere.
"I've had so many people from all over the world message me saying they're praying for me or sharing their own stories of losing a parent," Hannah wrote on Twitter. "Thank you, thank you, thank you. My heart is so full. It's amazing to see how many lives mom's words have touched."
Before she was diagnosed with cancer in 2016, Peggy was a special education teacher's aide at a local high school. She continued to be the selfless person she had always been, even through the heartbreaking journey of fighting cancer. "She just always put others before herself. I don't think I ever heard her complain one time during her diagnosis even though she was going through so much pain and suffering," Hannah told TODAY. "She would always say, 'There's people who have it much worse than me, so what do I have to complain about?'"
Hannah doesn't have her mom with her this holiday season, or for the holidays to come, but she'll always have her mother's lasting words. They're words we can all remember to live by. "Enjoy each day as if it is your last because none of us know today if it will be the last. And most of all, remember that I Love You more than you will ever know! Mom."
This post originally appeared on our sister site, Woman's World.