After a battle with a very rare bone cancer, Australian woman Holly Butcher lost her fight at the age of 27. She was surrounded by her family when she took her last breath and said her final farewells. Before her passing, Holly prepared her final words to share with her friends, family and followers on Facebook.
Holly’s letter is tinged with sadness as the Brisbane woman comes to terms with her impending death. However, she also shares some incredibly powerful advice for anyone willing to read it.
You can view the letter in full on Facebook but we’ve also summarised the 30 pieces of advice she shares below.
Holly’s final words
It’s a strange thing to realise and accept your mortality at 26 years young,” Holly starts. “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. 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. That’s the thing about life; It is fragile, precious and unpredictable and each day is a gift, not a given right.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. I haven’t started this ‘note before I die’ so that death is feared – I like the fact that we are mostly ignorant to it’s inevitability. Except when I want to talk about it and it is treated like a ‘taboo’ topic that will never happen to any of us.. That’s been a bit tough.I have dropped lots of my thoughts below as I have had a lot of time to ponder life these last few months. Of course it’s the middle of the night when these random things pop in my head most!”
A bit of life advice by Hol
1.”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 bullshit.”
2. “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.”
3. “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.
4. “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.”
5. “Let all that shit 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.”
6. “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.”
7. “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.”
8. “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 realise just how insignificant and unimportant having this stupidly portrayed perfect social media body really is.
9. “While on this topic, delete any account that pops up on your news feeds that gives you any sense of feeling shit about yourself.”
10. “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 shit but be thankful it isn’t life-threatening and will go away.”
11. “Whinge less, people! .. And help each other more.”
12. “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.”
13. “Buy your friend something kind instead of another dress, beauty product or jewellery 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.”
14. “Value other people’s time. Don’t keep them waiting because you are shit 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.”
15. “Use your money on experiences. Or at least don’t miss out on experiences because you spent all your money on material shit.
16. “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. 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.”
17.. “Get up early sometimes and listen to the birds while you watch the beautiful colours the sun makes as it rises.”
18. “Listen to music.. really listen. Music is therapy. Old is best.”
19. “Cuddle your dog. Far out, I will miss that.”
20. “Talk to your friends. Put down your phone. Are they doing okay?”
21. “Travel if it’s your desire, don’t if it’s not.”
22. “Work to live, don’t live to work.”
23. “Seriously, do what makes your heart feel happy. Eat the cake. Zero guilt.”
24. “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.”
25. “Tell your loved ones you love them every time you get the chance and love them with everything you have.”
29. “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.”
30. “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!
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.
Anyway, that’s just this one young gals life advice. Take it or leave it, I don’t mind!
’Til we meet again, Hol, Xoxo.”
What a beautiful letter and a powerful reminder to everyone. We’re not sure if Holly was expecting her final words to be shared around the world but they have reached thousands of people with nearly 500,000 likes and 200,000 shares.
We thank you, Holly, for giving us such a beautiful piece of writing and reminding us of what matters.