Dame Deborah James wrote a heartwarming letter to her family in her final days before succumbing to bowel cancer at the age of 40.
The popular British media personality, mother-of-two and podcaster who raised millions of dollars for charity passed away “peacefully” on June 28.
In a section of a book titled How To Live When You Could Be Dead, Dame Deborah penned the final letter which her family would be left with.
“I am currently sitting here next to the love of my life, Sebastien,” the letter began.
“I never quite knew if you could really have a love of your life, but I now know what the very core of unquestioned love is between two people.
“I have always loved my husband. I fancied him from when I first met him, and I knew I would marry him after our third date. It was clear to me that, while he wasn’t perfect, there was something about him that was right for me.”
She then reflected on their time together and said it was so important to take time for the marriage and how sometimes you forget your loved one is there when life gets busy.
“It’s easy to forget that the person you love is still there in front of you when things are clouded by the annoyance of childcare logistics, money pressures and living like ships in the night,” her letter continued.
“I wish I had learned at a young age that making time for your marriage to work should be as much a part of your timetable as going to the gym or cleaning your teeth.
“It’s important that you don’t allow the big arguments to build up, when all you really want is to forget about everything and cuddle the one person who you love.”
Dame Deborah then got candid about her feelings following her diagnosis with cancer, confessing that she felt “robbed” for not being able to be herself.
“As cancer brings my life to an end, I feel this cruel realisation that I’m not fully able to be myself with the one person I have adored and needed in my life more than anyone else,” she wrote.
“I feel robbed of the freedom of a body without pain to kiss with, the freedom for us to make whimsical plans for our future and retirement together.
“Our goals and dreams have had to be adjusted week by week and day by day, depending on my cancer.”
The media personality then reached a part for her children Hugo and Eloise as she recalled precious memories she had while raising them.
“I’ve learned that there are many ways to parent — nothing is right or wrong as long as there is love,” she wrote.
“There are mental snapshots of being a parent that will never leave you. But the beautifully etched memories that will come to you in your death are not necessarily the ones you might expect.
“One of my first is of Hugo when he was four days old. He was lying next to me in our double bed in our flat, and he was looking for my breast to feed on — he was yellow and had a big conehead.
“I remember looking at this little 6lb ball cradled against my tummy and thinking that it was only at this point that I had begun to understand what love was.
“I now look at that same 14-year-old boy, who still takes the time to cuddle up next to me on the sofa, and I would give anything to continue being able to protect him in the way I did when he was just four days old.”
Dame Deborah then ended with a reminder, telling readers that it is okay to relax and take time for yourself.
“Take time out. Relaxing isn’t an indulgence — it’s a form of refilling ourselves. None of us can drink from empty cups.
“Each day, do things that make you happy — build them into your life and never criticise others for the things that make them happy.
“Every day we wake not knowing if we will see the full 24 hours of the day, so as the sun comes up on a new day, we should feel blessed.
“We are given 86,400 seconds every day, and we each choose how to use them.
“It is only as they begin to slip away from us that we understand the value of each and every one of those seconds.”
You can read the entire letter from Dame Deborah James from How To Live When You Could Be Dead, by Deborah James out on August 18, 2022.
This article first appeared on OverSixty.