A Mom's Last Wishes

updated 05/16/2005 at 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 05/16/2005 01:00AM

Helen Harcombe loved the simple joys of motherhood: combing her daughter's hair, taking her shopping, filling her Christmas stocking. Then the worst happened. Diagnosed with breast cancer in 2002, the mom from Porth, Wales, was told last year she had six months to live. She died Dec. 28, leaving behind daughter Ffion, 7, husband Anthony, 31, and an unusual legacy—a three-page set of instructions, written on notepaper, telling her husband the little things he should know about raising their daughter. Once word of Harcombe's "mummy manual" hit the British press, expressions of sympathy poured in; Prince Charles met the bereaved father and daughter on May 2. Ffion's grandmother says the girl "enjoyed every second" of that meeting, and Anthony says the advice from Helen is a help already: "I tell Ffion she's looking after us, bossing us about, caring for us from heaven."

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