Extracts from Nirvana's final message to all

Unfortunately work and family commitments are leaving me with little time to work on my website and post my work but busy or not busy I felt I wanted to share an excerpt of Nirvana's, or Niri as she was known by those close to her, with you all. These are the words of a strong positive woman who fought so hard to overcome her illness in order to continue to live on to see her children grow up, one of many reasons of course, someone who learnt a lot about life while facing her death. Please read and share these words if possible.

Having cancer doesn't come with many perks. However, there are a few. One is the chance to tell people you care about that you love them and that you are grateful for their presence in your life. Another is the huge learning curve you go through. Being faced with your own mortality gives you perspective, lots of it. It aligns life and sets about creating order in the 'what matters and what doesn't' department. Yet another perk is that people really listen to you because every word you utter could be your last one, I guess! So I have taken these three advantages and used them to write this letter to all the people who care enough about me to be here today. A letter to thank you and give you some advice.

And because these ARE actually my last words, I really hope that you will listen!

The first words of advice I'd like to share with you is not to wait till you are sick to tell the people you love that you love them. Even better than telling them, show them. Spend time with them. Write them little notes, buy them little thoughtful presents, surprise them, shower them with hugs and kisses and try and be there for them, no matter what it is they need.

Forgive. If there are people who have wronged you, and there always are, even if they have not shown remorse, forgive them anyway. Someone once told me that holding on to anger is like holding on to a hot piece of coal, waiting to throw it at someone. In the meantime it's you who's getting burnt. Let go. Forgive.

Put work in perspective. Yes we all need to work to earn a living, but not all of us need to work so hard. Work to live; don't live to work. It's not worth it. And it's when you get sick that you realize how insignificant that 'important' report was. How further from 'life or death' that deal actually was.

Stop smoking. There is NOTHING good that we get from smoking. Only disease, bad breath, yellow fingers and a suppressed immune system. Quit. Today. When you leave this church. No excuses.

Love yourself. Love your self sick. Feed your body good stuff. Take exercise. Find time to do the things you enjoy. Every day. Try to dedicate 20 minutes a day to yourself, doing what you enjoy. Make yourself a cup of tea, put your feet up and read a magazine. Have a relaxing bath. Do some gardening. Go for a walk. Spend time with your pets. 20 minutes a day. It's not a lot, really.

Do not stress. Yes you can do it. Stress is how we choose to react to the problems in our lives. I went through a period of extended stress before I got sick. I am sure, beyond any doubt, that this stress was a major contributor towards my illness. It's just not worth it. No matter who does what to you or your family, don't let it stress you. It will just make matters worse.

Trust your instinct. You know better. If you ever sense that something is wrong, make your doctors rule out your fears with tests, not opinions. Had I done that I would probably not be writing this letter and you would not be here bidding me farewell.

Connect with God. Now. Not when you need a miracle. Have faith. Believe in Him. Believe that even though you might not understand it, the universe is unfolding the way it should. He's got it under control.

Count your blessings. Daily. I found so much more to be grateful for after I got struck with a terminal illness, it's quite sad really. I always tell my children, life is not about what you have, but how much you appreciate it.

For you parents out there. There is nothing you will do in this life that is more important than bringing up your kids. They are the future, your legacy. Put that phone down. That message can be sent after they go to sleep. Close your laptop. Playing with your child is more important than seeing what rubbish everyone is posting on Facebook today. Enjoy them to the full, give them time, take in their beauty, learn from them, make beautiful memories with them. That is what will matter in the end. Tell them they are wonderful and special and show them that they are loved and valued.

This past year was not easy for me in a number of ways. But during this time I have come to realize how important and precious life is to each and everyone of us and how we should never ever take anything or anyone for granted. I keep posting, repeating the same words on FB telling all to live, love, appreciate all you have and forgive to the fullest. To smile, even when times are hard. For yourself, for those around you. Nothing is guaranteed to us in our lives. We are all human, we all make mistakes, get upset, hurt or angry sometimes. In our own ways we are all beautiful from the outside and from within. I am thankful for all I have, my family, beautiful sister and her family, my numerous close friends, those who stood by me even in the hardest of times, my colleagues, past and present. Please do not treat life badly because it is not ours forever. stef