Holly Butcher knew she was dying. She was fighting a rare kind of bone cancer, and at a young age of 26, she knew her time was limited. Edwing’s sarcoma was slowly taking her body with only blood transfusions keeping her alive, while her mind craved more years to fully enjoy life.
That extra year she received thanks to a stranger’s donation, she spent with family and friends doing what she loved. The last year, she wrote, included some of the best times of her life.
But knowing her time was running out, she also sat and wrote down inspiring bits of wisdom to leave behind for those who are still here, living every moment.
Her last message was to be shared after her death.
Holly died in the early morning hours of January 4 at the age of 27, surrounded by her loving family. Her message was posted shortly after for everyone to see, and it has already touched hundreds of thousands of lives (the full message can be read on her Facebook page).
Here is what she wanted us to know:
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CONTRIBUTING WRITER, HOLLY BUTCHER: Please stop whatever you are doing, and go and read Holly’s letter. Having left this earth far too soon, Holly’s words are her legacy, and what an incredible one to leave. Thank you and much respect to Holly’s family and loved ones who allowed us permission to publish Holly’s Letter. With are deepest condolences, respect and love. . – Samantha, Katie and TEAM SW Holly Butcher, 1990-2018
“Life is fragile.”
“The days tick by and you just expect they will keep on coming; until the unexpected happens. 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…But the control is out of my hands.”
“Be grateful for your minor issue and get over it.”
Dealing with a life-threatening illness, Holly quickly started noticing how much time we spent venting and focusing on small issues that will not affect our life in the long run. Not only does this behavior ruin our own mood, it also negatively affects the day of every person we meet. And there is no reason for that. Instead, she recommends going outside (in her hometown in Queensland, Australia or anywhere in the world), getting some fresh air, and looking at the sky to remind yourself how wonderful it is to just be alive.
“Be grateful you are physically able to…work and exercise.”
Having a body that is sick and is wasting away into nothingness is one of the worst feelings on Earth. Holly wrote that too many people complain about work being hard and how difficult it is to exercise, and she reminds us that we are taking it for granted that we are able to move and do all of these things that we “hate.”
One day (at old age if we are lucky), we will not have this luxury.
“Appreciate your good health and functioning body.”
Until the end, Holly tried to do the best she knew how for her body: eating fresh food, and finding happiness not just mentally, but emotionally and spiritually as well. All of these aspects have an effect on physical health. It’s not just about living long, it’s about feeling good while you’re here.
“Delete any account that pops up on your news feeds that gives you any sense of feeling [bad] about yourself.”
Be ruthless for your well-being, she wrote. If there is a page you follow online that posts negative things or non-helpful things about life or you, delete them or unfollow them. The same holds true for negative friends.
Money is not as important in the end as we think.
In the end of her life, Holly had money to spend but nothing to do with it. She wrote that it made her feel silly that we spend so much time thinking about money, when in the end it just sits there. A better use for it is to spend it on your friends and family: buy useful gifts, massage certificates they deserve, meals. Giving is the most important and fulfilling aspect of life, and Holly wished she gave even more when she was physically able to help others.
“Value other people’s time.”
Anyone dying will tell you just how valuable each minute is. Being late and keeping people waiting not only steals time from your life, but also from theirs. Respect yourself and others more to be on time.
In the end, Holly finished her message with a parade of final thoughts:
- Use your money on experiences.
- Get amongst nature.
- Try just enjoying and being in moments rather than capturing them through the screen of your phone.
- Listen to music…Music is therapy.
- Talk to your friends. Are they doing okay?
- Work to live, don’t live to work.
- 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.
- Tell your loved ones you love them every time you get the chance.
- If something is making you miserable, you do have the power to change it.
She ended her message with “…’Til we meet again.”
Holly’s full message:
A bit of life advice from Hol:It’s a strange thing to realise and accept your mortality at 26 years young. It’s just…