Twenty-seven-year-old Australian-born Holly Butcher died after a battle with Ewing’s sarcoma.
Before her death, she wrote a note that detailed all the things in her life that she wished she would have done more of — or would have been better at.
She hoped that her note would inspire others to learn from her shortcomings and make a change in their own life.
At her request, Butcher’s family shared the letter on Facebook after she passed away. So far, it has touched over 92,000 people.
The letter began with Butcher admitting that it’s a “strange thing to realize and accept your mortality at 26 years young.” She wrote:
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.
Butcher continued by writing that she wants people to stop “worrying so much about the small, meaningless stresses in life.” Time is better spent on doing “what you can to make your time feel worthy and great, minus the bulls**t.”
The 27-year-old then shared some of the thoughts she had during the last few months of her life.
She began by asking people to stop “whingeing.” She wrote:
Those times you are whingeing about ridiculous things (something I have noticed so much these past few months), just think about someone who is really facing a problem. […]
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.
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.
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. […]
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.
Butcher encouraged others to give, and to enjoy the precious moments of life:
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. […] Value other people’s time. Don’t keep them waiting because you are shit at being on time. […] Use your money on experiences, or at least don’t miss out on experiences because you spent all your money on material sh*t. […]
Try just enjoying and being in moments rather than capturing them through the screen of your phone. […]
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.
Butcher asked others to stop making themselves so miserable, and reminded them that it’s up to them. The only thing they need to have is the “guts to change,” she insisted, because there is no point to wasting your life being unhappy.
She ended her letter by saying:
Oh, and one last thing, 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 three lives! That is a massive impact each person can have and the process really is so simple.
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.
Given the gift of time and life, what’s one thing you would like to change about the way you live?