Doreen Cassar with her midwife colleagues. Photo: Facebook
There was an emotional twist at the funeral of Maltese midwife Doreen Cassar yesterday, as the parish priest read out a farewell letter the 43-year-old had written moments before her death.
Cassar, who leaves behind a husband and three children, had continued working even after she was diagnosed with cancer. Her farewell message was one of hope and encouragement to her relatives and friends to enjoy life till the very end and indeed, at her request, mourners were asked not to wear black for her funeral.
Below is Cassar’s full final message, translated from Maltese.
“Don’t be sad and don’t cry. Remember Doreen!”
I must say that Hal Balzan has never seen this many people in such a celebration of life. I would have liked to live longer than I did but I was taken over by a sickness that everybody is scared of contracting. However, I am proud that although I died young, I managed to live a fulfilling life in which I had everything I needed. Because it isn’t the years in your life that count, but the life in your years.
I had a great childhood, I became a midwife, I got married, I had three children with whom I will always be present, and above all I had Jesus to accompany me throughout my journey and in Him I found true peace. Nobody could have predicted that after five years taking care of Valerie [another midwife], I was also going to get cancer. However, God’s plans for us aren’t always easy to understand.
Doreen Cassar with her husband Silvio. Photo: Facebook
Don’t waste your lives obsessing over what other people are doing. Live happy lives… live your lives to the full. Excess stress doesn’t help anyone. Don’t be the sort of parents who only care about school, but encourage your children to take part in sports or cultural activities.
We only have one life, so enjoy it together and appreciate each other. Get rid of your long faces and, when you leave this place, put on a smile for me. Life goes on, and you should live every second possible with a smile on your face. I passed through horrible moments in my life during which I thought ‘why me?’.
“Don’t waste your lives obsessing over what other people are doing. Live happy lives.”
Your heart stops beating and you can no longer feel your feet the moment you realize there is no cure for your illness. You feel stuck inside a dream, a bad dream which is hard to describe. I had two choices: to stay at home and wait for death to take me or to continue fighting and hoping. Life is a continuous struggle and when you have health problems, don’t you dare not fight them! Take care of your health, take care of each other, remain united in Jesus and have fun for me.
Don’t be sad and don’t cry. Remember Doreen! I thank my family, my priests, my friends, neighbours, mothers I was with during their childbirth, colleagues, doctors, basketball friends, school-friends, Facebook friends and everyone who knows me for the courage you always gave me.