'I'll be watching over you': Mother, 27, who wrote mummy's manual to help four-year-old daughter live without her loses battle with cancer
12:45 GMT, 18 April 2012
A young mother has died of cancer after completing a 'mummy's manual' to leave to her husband and four-year-old daughter.
Terminally ill Christabel Clarke, 27, spent the last year of her life writing the the manual advising chef Darren and little Jasmin on how to look after each other after her death.
Amongst the entries were which uniform to wear for Jason's first day at Bollinbrook primary school in Macclesfield, Cheshire where she is due to start in September.
What I want to tell you: Christabel Clark, 27, who died on April 5 at East Cheshire Hospice after battling cancer, has left her daughter and husband a guide to help them with their future without her
The youngster was also given a guide to what she could face when she grows up.
Christabel had been told in March last year she had less than a year to live after being diagnosed with Hodgkins Lymphoma. But she immediately began writing the special books and carried on whilst enduring six rounds of chemotherapy.
In one section called What I want To Tell You, Christabel wrote: 'The thing I'm going to miss most is that I'll never get to be your best friend when you're older and that's all I ever wanted to be.
'But I know you'll be okay and your dad will be there and you can talk about all those things with your auntie. I'll be watching over you and keep an eye on your dad!'
In another entry she tells Darren: 'Jasmin really wants the red checked school dress but make sure you don't get her that one – Bollinbrook School uniform is the blue one. Don't let her persuade you!'
Christabel died earlier this month at a hospice near her home in Macclesfield, Cheshire.
Brave: Christabel, with husband Darren and daughter Jasmin, was keen to prepare for her daughter's future
Today, Darren, 36, who married Christabel in August, said: 'Doctors said she probably wouldn't see Christmas so she did so well, she never stopped fighting, she never gave up.
'She accepted the diagnosis but always had a glimmer of hope. And before she died she said to me 'remember what you have had and remember you still have Jasmin.
'When I go don't cry in front of her and do the best you can for her. I love you both.'
And those words and Jasmin are the only things keeping me going.
'As she gets older we'll read the manual together.'
Christabel first went to the doctor in November 2009 with pain and pins and needles in her arm and was found to have a lump in her neck.
She was diagnosed with Hodgkin's lymphoma and had a six-month course of chemotherapy at Macclesfield Hospital where doctors removed the tumour in her neck – but failed to control a tumour in her chest.
'She cared so much about everyone else first, that was how she was,' Darren says of his late wife. 'Christabel so wanted to be there on Jasmin's first day at school to see her in her uniform but she just didn't make it'
The manual is in three parts – things Jasmine likes to do, what she'd like to say to Jasmin when she's older, and tips about life. She also made a diary to record her thoughts each day.
Darren gave up his job as a chef to care for Christabel at home and when she was moved to the hospice he stayed with her.
Darren said: 'She hugged me so tightly on the night before she died. I think she knew.
'She cared so much about everyone else first, that was how she was.'
'We didn't know if we would have time to marry but last July Christabel said she wanted to and three weeks later we did.
'That was a great day, we were happy and Jasmin was a beautiful bridesmaid. Christabel so wanted to be there on Jasmin's first day at school to see her in her uniform but she just didn't make it.'
'As Jasmine gets older we will read the manual together,' says Darren
'Since her death Jasmin came to me with a picture of Christabel and said 'I want mummy back now' and started crying. But she believes her mum us with the angels and fairies – that's what we have told her – and every night she blows her a kiss.
'It was so hard seeing Christabel and Jasmin play together knowing there were only months left. We will read the diaries and manuals together.'
Christabel's mum Annette, 43, dad John, 44, and her two sisters and four brothers will support Darren as he brings up Jasmin.
In an interview before she died Christabel said: 'I never dreamed it would be cancer but then the doctor spotted a lump in my neck I'd never even noticed. When I was diagnosed it was horrendous. I immediately thought of Jasmin.
'But now at least I can leave her lots of things to remember me, know what I was like and how much I love her. They've got me through this. I'm so lucky to have them. They mean the world to me.'
The couple married in August last year. 'We didn't know if we would have time to marry but last July Christabel said she wanted to and three weeks later we did,' said Darren