The parents of a little girl who passed away from a form of childhood cancer have revealed how she left behind hundreds of heartbreaking notes for them to find after her death.
Wyoming-based parents Brooke and Keith Desserich found hundreds of the little notes written by their daughter around their home after she tragically died passed away at just five years old.
Diagnosed with inoperable brain cancer, Elena Desserich was never told explicitly that she might not make it. Dad Keith explains, ‘We didn’t want to focus on the cancer, we wanted to focus on being a family and doing all the things that Elena wanted to do.
‘We wanted to protect her so we never told her she might not make it.’
Keith Desserich added a new photo.
But her parents believe she was ‘wise beyond her years’, and there’s evidence to suggest she knew what was happening to her.
Despite being given just 135 days to live, and undergoing radiation therapy for 30 of those, Elena fought her illness for nine months before losing her battle in August 2007. It was during this time that she started writing little love notes to her parents and younger sister Grace, and hiding them in obscure places around the house.
‘We found the first ones a few days after she died,’ said Keith. ‘But then they kept on showing up everywhere and now we have three large boxes full of them. We even found them in the bags of Christmas decorations.’
‘Only after discovering many notes, and receiving a call from my mother, telling us she’d found a note in Elena’s dresser at her house, did we finally understand what Elena intended,’ he added.
Each year Brooke and I start this day hoping that the other will forget. Still hasn’t happened yet. It took me nine years to realize that I really don’t want to. What Elena left us with nine years…
The notes have turned up between the pages of books, drawers and cupboards, in boxes of old clothes – and even at neighbours’ and relatives’ homes.
Keith says, ‘We don’t ever want to find the last note, I hope we keep on finding them for years to come,’ and reveals that he and his wife each carry one unopened note around with them to ‘save the last note’.
Whilst Elena was writing the notes, unbeknownst to her parents, they were also writing their own love letters of sorts – memoirs, full of touching stories of Elena so that her little sister Grace could remember her as she grew up.
Now, the Desserichs have published a book of Elena’s notes alongside their own diary entries from the time, touchingly titled ‘Notes Left Behind.’