An Australian woman’s final words of wisdom are going viral after her family posthumously shared the letter with the world. Holly Butcher, 27, of Grafton, New South Wales, was diagnosed with Ewing’s sarcoma, a rare type of cancer that affects the bones and can spread quickly, roughly a year ago. She passed on Jan. 4, according to a Facebook announcement. Her plea, to not take life’s gifts for granted, struck a nerve, So far, her “note before I die” has been shared nearly 92,000 times since it was posted on Jan. 4.
“I’m 27 now. I don’t want to go…But the control is out of my hands,” Holly began. “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. 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,” she continued, “so do what you can to make your time feel worthy and great, minus the bad stuff.”
Holly’s heightened awareness about her mortality gave her a sense of clarity and perspective rarely seen in people in their twenties. Her note attempts to remind the reader of the just how trivial some of our biggest “problems” really are.
“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,” it continues. “Your new fake nails might have got a chip, your boobs are too small, or you have cellulite on your butt and your belly is wobbling.”
“Let all that go,” Holly wrote. “I swear you will not be thinking of those things when it is your turn to go.” Holly shared that the only she wanted in her final days was one more birthday or Christmas with her family, or even “just one more day” with her partner and dog. She asked that people not complain about work or needing to exercise, but be grateful that their able bodies allowed them to do so. In the end, vanity, appearance, and clothing—which she noticed other people spending so much time and money on—didn’t matter.
It is a weird thing having money to spend at the end…when you’re dying. It’s not a time you go out and buy material things that you usually would, like a new dress. It makes you think how silly it is that we think it is worth spending so much money on new clothes and ‘things’ in our lives. Buy your friend something kind instead of another dress, beauty product, or jewellery…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.
Although it’s been less than a week since Holly’s message posted, it is already creating positive change. The Australian Red Cross has used it as a launching point to call for blood donations. Holly closed her letter by asking people to do a “good deed for humanity” by donating blood—as so many did for her, a selfless gesture that sustained her life for an additional year. “[It was] a year I will be forever grateful that I got to spend it here on Earth with my family, friends and dog,” she wrote. “A year I had some of the greatest times of my life.”
Blood donations are especially crucial to cancer patients because chemotherapy destroys their ability to create blood cells, Shaun Inguanzo of the Australian Red Cross Blood Service told Australia’s ABC.
The letter, which is public on Facebook, has received more than 21,000 comments so far, with many commenters calling it “profound” and pledging to “do good deeds” in Holly’s name including “spread [her message of] love and joy.”