Days after her death at the age of 27 from a rare form of bone cancer, Australian woman Holly Butcher’s final message has gone viral after it was shared on social media by her family, per her dying request.
According to the Daily Mail, the open letter Butcher wrote in the days leading to her death on Thursday was addressed to the world in general, encouraging her readers to value each day of their lives, and not to concern themselves with superficial problems and material comforts that shouldn’t matter when one’s death is impending. In a summary of the letter originally posted on Butcher’s Facebook earlier this week, the Daily Mail wrote that the New South Wales woman prefaced her piece by explaining that she never expected her days to be numbered at the young age of 26.
“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,” Holly Butcher wrote.
“That’s the thing about life; It is fragile, precious and unpredictable and each day is a gift, not a given right.”
Moving on to one of her main points in the letter, Butcher said that she hopes people would stop worrying about the “small, meaningless stresses in life,” and take stock of the fact that those things wouldn’t mean much when one is confronted by their mortality.
“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 [behind] and your belly is wobbling. Let all that s**t go.. I swear you will not be thinking of those things when it is your turn to go.”
Adding that stresses such as the ones mentioned above are “so insignificant” when considering life in general, Holly Butcher said that her only wish in her dying days was to spend one more birthday or Christmas with her loved ones. She also encouraged people to stop complaining about work or exercise, as both are “trivial things” that may be missed once one is unable to do either of them due to unavoidable factors.
Before being diagnosed with Ewing’s sarcoma, Holly Butcher’s “major passion” may have been her desire to live a healthy life, as she explained in her letter. With that in mind, she advised people to be thankful for their healthy bodies, regardless of size, and stressed the importance of eating fresh food and getting enough exercise, but not to the point of obsessing over having an ideal figure. She also commented on what she saw as a general focus on materialism, suggesting that her readers should buy “something kind” for their friends and family, or take them out for a meal or coffee, instead of buying flashy and expensive items.
“Use your money on experiences.. Or at least don’t miss out on experiences because you spent all your money on material s**t. 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.”
Regarding social media, Butcher’s advice was for her readers to take in the precious moments in their lives, without having to capture them for posterity or to show them off to others. This added to an earlier point, where she suggested that social media contacts who make people feel bad about themselves should be “deleted.”
“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.”
Toward the end of her open letter, Holly Butcher asked her readers to “do a good deed for humanity” and donate blood on a regular basis, as blood donations allowed her to live an extra year following her cancer diagnosis. According to Australia’s ABC News, this was an important takeaway, as the bulk of the continent’s blood donations goes to cancer patients, and not road trauma victims, as many mistakenly believe.
“While they use a lot of blood, road trauma victims only count for around 2 to 3 percent overall versus cancer patients who are around 34 percent,” said Australian Red Cross Blood Service representative Shaun Inguanzo.
“So, without donated blood many cancer patients wouldn’t be able to make it through that rigorous chemotherapy treatment.”
As of this writing, Holly Butcher’s open letter has been shared over 46,000 times, with commenters from around the world largely praising her for hitting close to home with her message to make the most out of life.