Alison Piepmeier with her husband, Brian McGee, and daughter Maybelle. Credit: Courtesy Brian McGee


"Thank you for my beautiful life." That is the title of Alison Piepmeier’s final column for the Charleston City Paper. 

The 43-year-old — who has been battling a brain tumor for seven years — penned the heartbreaking farewell letter from her South Carolina hospice bed with help from her mother.

“I am awake while everyone else is asleep, asleep while everyone else is awake. I am now slurring my words when tired. The right side of my body only rarely obeys my commands. I have limited vision in my right eye. I can only leave my bed because I have a wheelchair,” Piepmeier wrote on July 20. “In a future that may only be days away, I will lose the ability to communicate before losing the ability to live.”

The mom of Maybelle, 7, continued: “Little by little, I’m learning that who I thought I was is sliding away. I’m sitting at the table holding coffee someone else made for me. Someone else is feeding Maybelle, putting her lunch together, getting her dressed and ready for summer camp. I’m just sitting there, no longer the mother helping Maybelle prepare for her day.”

Piepmeier went on to reveal that she had been planning to take Maybelle to Walt Disney World in July. “When it became evident that I wasn’t going to be able to make the trip, we cancelled it,” she wrote. “What my friends did instead was create their own Disney Princess Party for Maybelle. While I was sleeping, because I was so tired, those friends prepared our house. A dozen adults and kids had tiaras, make-up, wigs, costumes, glitter.”

But the celebration was bittersweet for the director of women’s and gender studies at the College of Charleston. “On that day, I didn’t say a single negative thing about princes, princesses or Disney movies,” she joked. “I am happy, so happy, to have experienced a princess party. I am so sorry there won’t be more of them for me, if only because I would never turn down the chance to experience the pure joy of my daughter singing ‘Let It Go’ over and over.”

Piepmeier’s husband of two months, Brian McGee, told Us Weekly via email that his wife’s physical condition continues to decline. “Alison is having more trouble communicating this week,” he says. “All of this is sad and troubling, but expected. Still, Alison can have messages read to her, and she is able to continue with some correspondence.”

“Alison and I, and all the members of our family, are deeply appreciative of the messages of love and support she has received from the across the nation.”

Piepmeier blogs at Every Little Thing.

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