Butcher tells Facebook users to practice feeling grateful. “Be grateful for each day you don’t have pain and even the days where you are unwell with man flu, a sore back or a sprained ankle, accept it is sh-t but be thankful it isn’t life threatening and will go away,” wrote Butcher. “Whinge less, people! And help each other more.”
Aside from feeling grateful, Holly stresses the importance of being more generous. “Give, give, give. It is true that you gain more happiness doing things for others than doing them for yourself. I wish I did this more. Since I have been sick, I have met the most incredibly giving and kind people and been the receiver of the most thoughtful and loving words and support from my family, friends and strangers; More than I could I ever give in return. I will never forget this and will be forever grateful to all of these people.”
On the topic of money, Butcher says, “It is a weird thing having money to spend at the end.. when you’re dying. It’s not a time you go out and buy material things that you usually would, like a new dress. It makes you think how silly it is that we think it is worth spending so much money on new clothes and ‘things’ in our lives.” She shares how trivial material things seem and how quickly you realize, at the end of your life, that the pursuit of tangible things like money is meaningless. “Buy your friend something kind instead of another dress, beauty product or jewelry for that next wedding. 1. No-one cares if you wear the same thing twice 2. It feels good. Take them out for a meal, or better yet, cook them a meal. Shout their coffee. Give/buy them a plant, a massage or a candle and tell them you love them when you give it to them.”
Butcher advises to “Use your money on experiences. Or at least don’t miss out on experiences because you spent all your money on material sh-t.” And of course, Butcher stresses the importance of time. “Value other people’s time. Don’t keep them waiting because you are sh-t at being on time. Get ready earlier if you are one of those people and appreciate that your friends want to share their time with you, not sit by themselves, waiting on a mate,” penned Butcher. “Put in the effort to do that day trip to the beach you keep putting off. Dip your feet in the water and dig your toes in the sand. Wet your face with salt water. Get amongst nature.”
On the topic of social media and technology, Butcher writes, “Try just enjoying and being in moments rather than capturing them through the screen of your phone. Life isn’t meant to be lived through a screen nor is it about getting the perfect photo…enjoy the bloody moment, people! Stop trying to capture it for everyone else.”
What else does Holly advise? “Get up early sometimes and listen to the birds while you watch the beautiful colors the sun makes as it rises. Listen to music, really listen. Music is therapy. Old is best. Cuddle your dog. Far out, I will miss that. Talk to your friends. Put down your phone. Are they doing okay? Travel if it’s your desire, don’t if it’s not. Work to live, don’t live to work. Seriously, do what makes your heart feel happy. Eat the cake. Zero guilt. Say no to things you really don’t want to do. Don’t feel pressured to do what other people might think is a fulfilling life, you might want a mediocre life and that is so okay. Tell your loved ones you love them every time you get the chance and love them with everything you have. Also, remember if something is making you miserable, you do have the power to change it – in work or love or whatever it may be. Have the guts to change. You don’t know how much time you’ve got on this earth so don’t waste it being miserable. I know that is said all the time but it couldn’t be more true.”
Butcher finishes off her open letter by stressing the importance of donating blood: “If you can, do a good deed for humanity (and myself) and start regularly donating blood. It will make you feel good with the added bonus of saving lives. I feel like it is something that is so overlooked considering every donation can save 3 lives! That is a massive impact each person can have and the process really is so simple,” wrote Butcher. “Blood donation (more bags than I could keep up with counting) helped keep me alive for an extra year – a year I will be forever grateful that I got to spend it here on Earth with my family, friends and dog. A year I had some of the greatest times of my life.”
The dying cancer patient ended off the open letter with “…’Til we meet again. Hol.” The brave 27-year-old has touched the lives of thousands of people who read and shared her advice with friends and loved ones, and the open letter continues to go viral on social media.
Over 13,000 Facebook users who read Holly’s honest letter said their goodbyes to Butcher, thanking her for her post. Those who knew Holly shared their memories of the 27-year-old and shared how much she will be missed. “Holly was the most amazing kind selfless person I have ever met!” a family friend wrote in the comments. “Her smile lit up every room she entered! She lit up my life I will miss her incredibly.”
Another user shared that Holly’s words had reached and touched the lives of another all the way in the South West of France. “Thank you for your inspirational words Holly. You’ve already inspired a lot of people you didn’t even know,” wrote another commenter. Some even shared their own experience of losing people they loved to cancer: “I lost one of my best friends to cancer five years ago, the pain has never gone away there will always be an emptiness in my heart for her. This letter was a very good reminder about things that really matter in life,” Facebook user Tami Bishop Sampson wrote.
Others commended Holly for her open letter: “What a strong young girl. To have the strength to write down words of advice in the midst of a battle with death. I’m speechless and committed to following her pieces of advice,” another Facebook user Jeremias Goldberg wrote. According to the Ewings Cancer Foundation of Canada, Ewing sarcoma is an aggressive type of cancer that affects bones or soft tissue. The cancer is mostly found in children, teens and young adults under 20, and sadly Holly became a victim of this terrible disease. Holly wrote, “That’s the thing about life; It is fragile, precious and unpredictable and each day is a gift, not a given right.
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