We’ve all heard the term “famous last words.” Indeed many of us have even read or heard the final messages of some of history’s most famous individuals. But not all last words end up being famous. Many are left only for the family members of the deceased.
Every so often, and especially in the age of social media, these family members will find such strength in the words of their loved ones, that they need to share them with the world. This is one such story…
She came from New South Wales, Australia, a world away from many who will read this. Holly was a young woman in the prime of her life. She had a partner she loved, a family that cared deeply for her, and the world ahead of her. At 26 years old, she never expected that she might be living on borrowed time.
Like so many who find out about the unknown illnesses within themselves, Holly’s final journey began when she started feeling a little off. The sickness started small, innocuous pain growing into something she couldn’t bear any longer. By the time she got a chance to go to the doctor it was already too late…
Only the Good Die Young
The doctors performed a battery of tests on the girl and finally, after weeks of waiting, they had a diagnosis. Holly had Ewing’s sarcoma, a rare form of cancer that settles in and around the bones. Unfortunately for Holly and many like her, Ewing’s sarcoma usually affects young people more than anyone else.
Lost the Battle
Holly fought as best she could against the monstrous disease growing inside her, but the sarcoma proved to be stronger even than her prodigious resolve. Holly was just 27 years old when she finally lost her battle with cancer. But her end is merely the beginning of the story of her legacy…
Share her Message
Though her family was heartbroken at their loss, they soon learned that Holly Butcher was not quite done yet. Before she’d died, she’d written a note to her loved ones with advice and thoughts she wished to share with everyone she loved, and if they were willing to after that, with the whole world.
Holly asked her family to share her final message on Facebook. From there, the inspiring and heartbreaking note hit the Internet at large. Within just a few days, it had received more than 21,000 shares and 28,000 reactions. And it wasn’t about to stop there…
The moving letter that Holly had penned shortly before her death had gone viral within a week. It’s messages, which were many, resonated greatly with a good number of people and it was shared almost 60,000 times since it was originally posted. In it, Holly spoke about love, life, mortality, and making things count.
Mortality a Reality
The reality of Holly’s own mortality was obviously apparent to her, even as she fought back against the deadly cancer. “It’s a strange thing to realize and accept your mortality at 26 years young,” she wrote. It must have been difficult, to see the moments pass by, each one punctuated by pain and treatment…
Days go By
“The days tick by and you just expect they will keep on coming, until the unexpected happens…” she explained in the note. Holly was always one to love life and like so many people in their mid to late 20’s, she never thought she’d die so young. She assumed she would live a long, full life and raise a family of her own.
Still, she admitted that it was strange to finally come to accept that she would die so young. “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 life is a fragile thing, and in her last days, Holly came to understand that as well…
Holly went on to discuss how much she desired to create that life for herself and her partner. “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. I’m 27 now. I don’t want to go. I love my life.” Holly was truly a person who appreciated life’s little joys, especially when she found out she was dying.
The letter also urged others to forget about the trivial things that we often let bother us. “You might have got caught in bad traffic today, or had a bad sleep because your beautiful babies kept you awake, or your hairdresser cuts 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 it Go
“Let all that s*** 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.” she continued. And when one’s whole life is squeezed into a mere 27 years, it definitely behooves one to take stock of things and step back to see one’s life as a whole.
One of the things that she wished for, was to celebrate just one more birthday with her partner. “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…”
Look Past the Screen
Holly’s note also indicated that people should spend as much time as they can with friends and family and to learn to live life for themselves rather than spending time staring at a screen. “Life isn’t meant to be lived through a screen nor is it about getting the perfect photo…enjoy the bloody moment people!”
Everyone But You
She also warned people to stop seeing the world through a Snapchat filter or recording it on an Instagram wall. “Stop trying to capture it for everyone else.” Holly also spoke out against materialism and the dangers of missing out on experiences because they spend all their money on, as she put it, “material s***…”
“I tried to live a healthy life, in fact, that was probably my major passion…” she began. Holly had always tried to live as healthy as possible. She was a health-conscious person who took care of her body but she knew that becoming obsessive about it was taking it a bit too far.
“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.” She also added, using her trademark humor, “Eat the cake. Zero guilt.” When it was all over, she made sure to include one more bit of advice for folks…
Holly Butcher signed the note by asking everyone who read it to donate blood whenever possible. “Blood donation 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.” I don’t know about you, but it’s good enough for me to go out and want to give blood.
Regardless of the pain she went through and the suffering that she and her loved ones endured, Holly seemed to be glad that she got the chance to live through that last year. She closed the note by saying that, “In a year I had some of the greatest times of my life.” She will be greatly missed.