‘Love Every Moment’: Wisconsin mom inspires nation in final days of her life
A western Wisconsin mother has inspired the country in the final days of her battle with breast cancer.
5 EYEWITNESS NEWS first shared Michelle Eral’s story on Thanksgiving, highlighting her year-long bucket list and inspiring message to “love every moment.”
Then on Sunday, ABC’s “World News Tonight” featured the Erals in their “America Strong” segment, showcasing the family’s spirit of gratitude and giving back, even in the face of terminal cancer.
Michelle died just two days after the national news story aired.
“There’s my wife on the national news because of her strength and courage. It was a pretty surreal moment, for sure,” Michelle’s husband, Joe Eral, said.
The Erals have now heard from people all over the world who were uplifted by Michelle’s message.
“Cancer, as horrible as it is, if you can’t beat it, you’ve got to find another way to live,” Joe Eral said.
The family said “being on the news” was never part of their original bucket list, but they believe it was a beautiful way to end Michelle’s story.
“For her to see that just a couple days before she passed was unbelievable,” said Michelle’s 21-year-old son, Cooper Eral.
Family, friends and neighbors are now finding special ways to support the Erals through the loss of Michelle.
Dozens of households in Willow River Bluffs, the neighborhood where the family lives in New Richmond, Wisconsin, have put up pink porch lights in honor of Michelle and all those battling breast cancer.
“They want to show the impact she had on their lives, and that’s just amazing. She’s just continually giving light to everyone around her,” Cooper Eral said.
As part of her bucket list, Michelle wrote her own obituary, which includes these words of wisdom for others looking to “love every moment”:
“Do not wait for someday; make someday today.
“Laugh with others; but most importantly, laugh at yourself.
“Don’t be afraid to try something new, meet someone new, join something new, or learn something new.
“Don’t let your past define you, but let it instead prepare you.
“Be vulnerable in life and love.”
The Erals said they appreciate the outpouring of love they have received since Michelle’s story first aired and they hope it will help carry on her legacy.
“It shows how important the message is to love every moment and not waste time,” Joe Eral said. “Because you can’t get it back.”