27-Year-Old Dying Of Cancer's Final Letter Sums Up What Matters In Life

by Christina Marfice
Originally Published: 
Image via Holly Butcher / Facebook

Holly Butcher died Jan. 4, but her legacy lives on through her inspiring wisdom

A 27-year-old Australian woman with terminal cancer is giving perspective on making every day count through a heartbreaking letter she wrote before she died.

Holly Butcher, who lived in New South Wales, Australia, passed away on Jan. 4 after a battle with Ewing’s sarcoma, a rare type of bone cancer. According to Buzzfeed, the young woman was surrounded by her family in her final moments.

Just one day before, she wrote a gutwrenching, inspiring letter than her family posted to Facebook on her behalf. In it, she offers her advice for life, peppered with the wisdom of a woman who has had to come to terms with hers ending far, far too soon.

“It’s a strange thing to realise and accept your mortality at 26 years young,” Butcher 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.”

She wrote, “That’s the thing about life; It is fragile, precious and unpredictable and each day is a gift, not a given right.”

Butcher’s letter has been shared thousands of times on Facebook, and it’s well worth taking the time to read in its entirety. Settle in, though, because it’s a long — and emotional — ride.

Here’s some of the advice Butcher has to offer:

“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. ”

“I tried to live a healthy life, in fact, that was probably my major passion. 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.”

“Use your money on experiences.. Or at least don’t miss out on experiences because you spent all your money on material shit.”

“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.”

“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.”

Butcher’s advice is full of lessons we could all stand to learn. But most important might be this piece: “Tell your loved ones you love them every time you get the chance and love them with everything you have.”

That’s the real message hidden in Butcher’s letter — that every day is a gift, and eventually, there won’t be any more days left.

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