Kailey Weiss said her mom, Karen Richardson, never gave up after she was diagnosed with terminal stomach cancer.
“She didn’t live in the fear of death and wasn’t sorry for herself as she was losing her life,” Weiss, the middle of three children, told TODAY Parents.
In a viral Humans of New York post, Weiss recounted her mother’s final days.
“She kept a photo album next to her bed. But instead of photos, she kept notecards with Bible verses. She said that her entire life she had thought she loved Jesus. But that now she really loved Jesus. I never once saw her depressed. There were sad moments, but even those were peaceful,” the post read.
But it’s Richardson’s final act — video recordings for her three children — that left HONY fans reeling.
“She recorded videos for the big moments in our lives: graduation, our 21st birthday, our wedding, our first child. Over the years those videos became so precious to me. They’re not very long — just a few minutes each. She opens each one with a greeting. She’ll congratulate me on the stage of life I just hit. And say how sad she is to not be there. Then she’ll give me some advice. It’s very personalized.”
Weiss shared that knowing the videos exist has helped her cope.
“My mom was a really wise woman and it was hard knowing that she wouldn’t be there for some really pivotal years as I grew into an adult and needed her wisdom,” she said. “It was so comforting knowing that she still had some wisdom for us for those seasons.”
The pre-recorded videos were just one way Richardson planned to help her children cope in her absence.
“She was very open about all the ways she was preparing for us,” Weiss told TODAY. “She put together a cookbook with all the family recipes, books that she really appreciated, gifts for our future children, and family heirlooms, including her rings, which my wedding ring is made out of.”
In becoming a mom herself, Weiss said she feels her mother’s role has come full circle.
“I’ve been so blown away by my mother's service to us,” she said. “In becoming a mom, I’ve learned it’s still easy to be selfish and hard to sacrifice for your kids. She was so sick and in pain, yet she set herself aside to prepare us for her passing. In her hope, she simply gave everything she had to us. I could never thank her enough for that.”