On September 2, Rowena Kincaid sadly passed away after a seven-year battle with cancer. She was 40 years old. The Brit’s name might sound familiar—she made headlines when she created a documentary for the BBC in 2015 entitled Before I Kick The Bucket. Kincaid, a BBC picture editor, was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2009 and secondary breast cancer in 2013. Her documentary captures what it’s like knowing you only have months left to live. This February, Kincaid made headlines again when she wrote a painfully honest “letter to her cancer”.
At her funeral last Tuesday, Kincaid’s sister read a final letter that Rowena wrote, specifically to be read at her funeral. According to the BBC, the letter began with Kincaid saying how “surreal” it was to write this letter: “I will miss this world. 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.” She said goodbye to her family and friends, and thanked them for the laughter and love they brought to her life. Known to approach her situation with humor, she even joked that she wishes she wasn’t missing out on the current gathering. “Seriously, if I can, I’ll see you at my wake…..I’m not one to miss out on a good party!! So, please do not say RIP instead, know I’m merely sleeping tight.”
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And she left her family, friends, and the world with one final gift: A list of the life lessons she’s learned. Here, her empowering words:
- 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 what ever 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.
Kincaid’s farewell letter ended with her wishing the best for those in her life: “Goodbye everyone, promise me you’ll live your lives to the max and when you’re done, I’ll see you on the other side!” Our thoughts are with the individuals lucky enough to know the brilliant, inspiring, and brave Rowena Kincaid.
SELF – Culture