These Secret Notes This Little Girl Wrote Before Her Death Will Melt Your Heart!
By Bridget AlbrightAmazing
eventFebruary 21, 2017
Five-year-old Elena Desserich was like most girls her age. Pink was a color she could never wear enough and headbands were a necessary accessory. But before her tragic death, Elena wanted to ensure her family always knew how much she loved them. So, she taught them a lesson they'd never forget by hiding secret notes around the house.
The Sweetest Little Angel
Elena was a teacher. She was an artist, she was a little lady who crossed her legs when she sat, and all she ever wanted was to love her own children someday as much as her parents loved her. She never deserved to hear the news doctors were about to tell her.
Their Nightmare Became Reality
Just before she turned six, Elena's parents - Brooke and Keith - received heartbreaking news that their little darling had been diagnosed with brain cancer that couldn't be cured. Even worse was that Elena would only have 135 days to live.
Wise Beyond Her Years
Though her parents tried for as long as they could to protect their daughter from the reality of her terrible illness, Elena was quick to realize what would soon happen. And she knew there was something she had to do.
Pen And Paper To The Rescue
As her treatments went on, sweet Elena began to lose her physical capabilities. She soon became bound to a wheelchair and was even unable to speak. But Elena wasn't about to let her treatments get the best of her. Luckily, she still had her pen and paper!
The Secret Begins
Elena knew her death would be devastating to her family, and she wanted to do as much as she could to shine a light on their darkest days. So, she began drawing pictures for her parents and younger sister, Gracie.
Using Whatever She Could Find
Sticky notes, printer paper, scraps, colored paper - Elena used whatever she could find to create secret messages for her family. But instead of handing her notes over, she hid them around her home and never let anyone know.
An Unforgettable "I Love You"
Many of her secret messages included drawings of hearts, a simple "I love you," Elena's favorite hobbies, and her name spelled backwards, just because she liked the way it looked. She never lost her creativity! One message was particularly heartbreaking...
She Even Apologized
In one of her notes, Elena even apologized to her dad for being so sick. This sweet little girl didn't want anyone to think she chose this tragic path! Soon after her diagnosis, Elena passed away on August 11, 2007. Just days later, her parents began learning a lesson they'd never forget...
The Secret Unfolds
The first note was found when Elena's dad pulled a book off their bookshelf. At first, he thought it was just something his little angel had brought home from school. And he certainly never expected to find what else Elena had done.
Hidden Where They Least Expected
Brooke and Keith soon began finding Elena's secret notes all over their home - between stacks of CDs and tucked away in all sorts of nooks and crannies.
Anywhere Was A Possibility
"We were finding them in our books. We were finding them in our dresser drawers. We started finding them in Christmas ornament bags," her father said. Elena even addressed some of her notes to her dog!
A Search They Never Wanted To End
At first, Brooke and Keith began searching everywhere in hopes of finding Elena's notes, referring to them as "hugs" from their daughter. They soon decided to stop, as they never wanted to find the last one.
Keeping The Mystery Alive
Elena's parents even kept some notes unopened. Unknowingly, both Brooke and Keith kept an unopened message in their briefcases to keep for years to come.
A Message Bigger Than They Thought
"It wasn’t just a random collection of notes," Keith said. "She was actually hiding these notes for us. It was her way of letting us know that everything would be okay."
A Diary Unlike Any Other
Since Gracie was too young to fully understand what had happened to her big sis, Brooke and Keith decided to keep a journal during Elena's treatments to pass on to Gracie so that she could always remember her. Soon, the project became even bigger...
A Story About Love
"It’s not a story about cancer," Elena's dad said. "We’re also trying to pass on a story about love, about compassion, about really capturing the minutes of life rather than necessarily the milestones." Soon, the journal became a blog. And it only grew from there...
Notes Left Behind
Brooke and Keith knew Elena's story would touch the hearts of not only them, but everyone. They soon created a book with their angel's secret notes. In just a matter of weeks, they sold thousands of copies of Notes Left Behind. They even donated their profits!
Mommy And Daddy's Little Teacher
"She loved reading, she loved artwork," Keith said. "She frankly was a teacher not only to us, but hopefully to many more beyond that." So in honor of their little teacher, Elena's parents founded the charity The Cure Starts Now. All the proceeds they receive from Notes Left Behind go straight to the cancer foundation.
A Love That Never Ends
Though Elena may be gone, she still lives on in her notes. And her parents plan to keep at least one unopened for as long as they can. "I know there’s something very special in that note — but there’s some sort of comfort that it will never come to an end," her mom said.