Hannah Summers shared the touching letter her mom wrote her before dying of kidney cancer on Oct. 31

By Jason Duaine Hahn
November 03, 2017 06:45 PM

Before dying from cancer, a 55-year-old mother wrote letters to her children to assure them everything would be okay even after she was gone.

Margaret “Peggy” Summers was diagnosed with Stage 4 kidney cancer in June 2016, and died on Oct. 31 at Parkview Memorial Hospital in Fort Wayne, Indiana. Just hours after her passing, Peggy’s daughter, Hannah Summers—along with her three siblings—discovered touching letters addressed to each of them on a dresser in their mother’s home.

“My mom was the most selfless, compassionate person I have ever known and she meant the world to me. She was my best friend,” Hannah, 18, a nursing student at Indiana University-Purdue University, tells PEOPLE. “Her whole life she strived to help other people… She never put her needs before the needs of others.”

Peggy’s letters were a surprise to each of her children, but reading their mother’s loving words so soon after she had passed was a sentimental and comforting experience for each of them.

“The letter was very hard to read. It was very emotional and I think all of us cried when we read ours,” Hannah says. “But it was also very comforting in a way because it helped me realize that she will always be here with me. I think the letters are definitely helping to give us a little bit of closure during this difficult time.”

Hannah posted her letter to Twitter on Nov. 1, and it quickly went viral and garnered more than 290,000 likes and 90,000 retweets.

“If you are reading this then the surgery did not go well,’’ Peggy wrote. “I’m sorry, I tried my best to beat this terrible disease but I guess God had other things for me to do. Please don’t be mad, bad things happen in life and we have to learn to deal with it no matter how much it hurts.”

Watching her mother go through kidney cancer was a difficult experience, Hannah says, and the months after her diagnosis were filled with many painful moments.

“There were some nights she would be up all night just groaning in pain or vomiting,” she says. “She probably spent about 10 out of the 15 months she was diagnosed in the hospital – either because of an infection or for physical therapy because the infections made her so weak.”

But through it all, Hannah says her mother never complained once, largely relying on her faith in God. This courage to persevere and remain optimistic was evident in her letters.

“Hang on to those good memories and tell everyone you love them as often as you can,” Peggy’s letter reads. “Enjoy life and live each day as if it is your last because none of us know if today with be the last. And most of all remember that I love you more than you will ever know!”

Hannah wants everyone who reads her mother’s words to remember to hold their family close, and cherish the time they have with them.

“I hope the letters help people realize just how much of an amazing person my mom was and that people can learn from her example,” she says. “I also hope they help people realize that life is precious and we need to appreciate all our loved ones because you never know when they could be gone.”

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