6-year-old Elena Desserich was like any other girl her age. She loved to draw and read. She dreamed of becoming a mother one day. And she wanted to be a teacher when she grew up.
But one day, everything changed.
Elena’s doctor had terrible news for the little girl’s parents, Keith and Brooke Desserich. Their daughter had a rare brain cancer. Surgery was not possible and the doctors said their daughter had about 135 days left to live.
Both parents promised each other not to tell Elena that she probably wouldn’t survive the disease. They wanted her to enjoy her last days.
Instead, Keith and Brooke tried to make every day special for Elena and her little sister, Grace. They did everything Elena wanted to do.
But they also worried that little Grace wouldn’t remember her older sister when she grew up. So the parents began to write a diary about six-year-old Elena.
But at the same time Elena’s condition worsened. She could no longer speak, and her body became very weak.
Then in August 2007, she left the world.
But what no one knew was that Elena was preparing for the end.
A few days after she passed away, the family found some papers on which she wrote to her dear family.
Elena wanted them to know how happy she was with them.
At first the parents didn’t think too much of it, but after a while, notes started popping up in more and more places around the house.
They found notes inside books, inside socks, inside closets, winter clothes, CD covers, and even bags of holiday decorations. Elena wrote to everyone while she was fighting the damn disease.
Some of the notes had ‘I love you’ written on them, and on others she drew hearts and flowers.
“She was a very smart girl for her age. I hate to think she knew she was dying, but I think she did”,
said Elena’s father, Keith.
In the end, Elena’s family and relatives found hundreds of notes and messages, which filled three large boxes. They were wonderful reminders of the girl they loved so much.
“I think the notes were her way of telling us everything was going to be okay. It feels like a hug from her every time we find a new note”, said Brooke, Elena’s mother.
Two years after Elena’s death, Keith and Brooke decided to publish a book with all the notes as a tribute to their daughter and also as a way for Grace to remember her older sister.
All profits were donated to cancer research. The book contains all but two of Elena’s notes. Each of the parents has a note that is with them everywhere they go.
“It’s our way of saving the last note”, Brooke said.
Watch a video about the book: