Holly Butcher, a 27-year-old cancer patient from New South Wales, shared an inspiring letter to Facebook the day before she lost her battle with cancer. The brave Australian penned an open letter, leaving behind some life advice for her friends and family. Her final gift to the world, the thoughtful woman’s farewell letter has gone viral, touching the lives of not just friends and family but people across the world. Holly offers insight on how to live life to the fullest, what she realized mattered most and what she quickly realized didn’t matter at all. The Independent reported that Holly had been fighting Ewing sarcoma before passing away on January 4. Ewing sarcoma is a rare form of bone cancer that affects mostly teenagers and young adults.
Holly shares advice after learning about the heart-wrenching task of facing her own mortality. The 27-year-old reminds others to think about how lucky they are, to place value on time, to not get distracted by the screens of their phones or what’s happening on social media, to do more for others and she finished off with a plea to donate blood. Her inspiring words resonated with Facebook users from around the globe and the post has been shared more than 57,000 times.
“A bit of life advice from Hol” is how Butcher started off her Facebook post. “It’s a strange thing to realize and accept your mortality at 26 years young. It’s just one of those things you ignore. The days tick by and you just expect they will keep on coming; Until the unexpected happens,” wrote the 27-year-old dying cancer patient. “I always imagined myself growing old, wrinkled and grey- most likely caused by the beautiful family (lots of kiddies) I planned on building with the love of my life. I want that so bad it hurts.”
Butcher painstakingly shares what it’s like to realize the future you imagined for yourself is no longer a possibility. “I’m 27 now. I don’t want to go. I love my life. I am happy. I owe that to my loved ones. But the control is out of my hands.” Butcher continued, “I haven’t started this ‘note before I die’ so that death is feared – I like the fact that we are mostly ignorant of its inevitability.” Butcher explains the frustrating part about death is how it’s treated like a “taboo topic” that will never happen. She explains this is a difficult obstacle for a dying cancer patient who knows death is a sure thing. “I just want people to stop worrying so much about the small, meaningless stresses in life and try to remember that we all have the same fate after it all so do what you can to make your time feel worthy and great, minus the bulls–t.”
Butcher wrote that she was penning the note in the middle of the night, when her thoughts on life would creep up on her the most. The 27-year-old explains that she’s had a lot of time to think about life: “Those times you are whinging about ridiculous things (something I have noticed so much these past few months), just think about someone who is really facing a problem. Be grateful for your minor issue and get over it. It’s okay to acknowledge that something is annoying but try not to carry on about it and negatively affect other people’s days,” said Butcher.
“Once you do that, get out there and take a freaking big breath of that fresh Aussie air deep in your lungs, look at how blue the sky is and how green the trees are; It is so beautiful. Think how lucky you are to be able to do just that – breathe.” Breathe, says Holly. Simple but beautiful advice from someone who understood the value of breathing, of how wonderful and fulfilling the simple act can be. “You might have got caught in bad traffic today, or had a bad sleep because your beautiful babies kept you awake, or your hairdresser cut your hair too short. Your new fake nails might have got a chip, your boobs are too small, or you have cellulite on your arse and your belly is wobbling.”
Butcher gives sound advice to appreciate all the stresses of everyday life, to embrace our imperfections and realize they’re not actually stresses or insecurities but insignificant details and a gift in disguise. Finding ourselves caught up in everyday stresses means we have the privilege of living our lives – something we should always be grateful for. “I hear people complaining about how terrible work is or about how hard it is to exercise – Be grateful you are physically able to. Work and exercise may seem like such trivial things … until your body doesn’t allow you to do either of them,” says Butcher.
“I tried to live a healthy life, in fact, that was probably my major passion. Appreciate your good health and functioning body- even if it isn’t your ideal size. Look after it and embrace how amazing it is. Move it and nourish it with fresh food. Don’t obsess over it.” When it comes to the trivial stuff, Butcher said, “Let all that sh-t go.. I swear you will not be thinking of those things when it is your turn to go. It is all SO insignificant when you look at life as a whole. I’m watching my body waste away right before my eyes with nothing I can do about it and all I wish for now is that I could have just one more Birthday or Christmas with my family, or just one more day with my partner and dog. Just one more.”
Butcher puts into perspective just how important those closest to us are. Butcher shares that it’s our family and close friends we’ll appreciate most when we realize we’re going to lose them, and lose time we could have been spending with them. Butcher also stresses how important it is to love ourselves: “Remember there are more aspects to good health than the physical body…work just as hard on finding your mental, emotional and spiritual happiness too. That way you might realize just how insignificant and unimportant having this stupidly portrayed perfect social media body really is. While on this topic, delete any account that pops up on your news feeds that gives you any sense of feeling sh-t about yourself. Friend or not.” Holly wisely wrote, “Be ruthless for your own well-being.”
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