Holly Butcher's farewell letter

Holly Butcher's farewell letter

She passed away on 4 January 2018 - an aggressive form of cancer had burned the girl out in just over a year. The day before her death, Holly Butcher shared her thoughts with 'Those Who Remain', revealing what it hurt the most to say goodbye to and what is truly the most precious thing in life. Here it is, Holly Butcher's farewell letter.

«It is very strange to understand and accept the fact that you are mortal, at the age of 26. It's only 26. Death is one of those things we try not to think about. Day goes by day after day, and we think it will always be like this... But then one day something happens that you're not ready for. Not ready at all.

I was always sure that someday I would grow old. That one day my skin would become flabby, my hair would turn grey, and my waistline would become an extra centimetre. And all of these changes would be related to my family - taking care of the man I loved, our children. I imagined that I would have many babies. I would be singing lullabies to them, not getting enough sleep, getting tired... Now I realize that I wanted and wanted it so badly that the very thought of that family (the family I would never have!) caused me incredible pain.

This is life. So fragile, so precious, so unpredictable... Every day is a precious gift, not a given.

I'm 27 now. I don't want to die. I love life very much. I am immensely happy in it, and every moment I am ready to thank my loved ones for that happiness. But alas, nothing else depends on me.

I am not writing this letter because I am scared. As long as we are alive, we don't realise what death is and how close it is. And I like that. Except when we want to talk about it for some reason, we pretend that death doesn't exist. That it won't happen to any of us. It's such a taboo. You don't talk about it. It's hard for me, too. It's too hard. Too... confusing.

Holly Butcher's farewell letter
Holly Butcher

I wish people would stop worrying so much about their problems. In the face of death, these problems, these stressful situations seem like little things. Just trust me. All of us - me very soon, and you (perhaps many, many years from now) - will share the same fate. We will all disappear.

In recent months, I have had a lot of time to think about these things. Mostly these thoughts came to me at night, and I was able to analyse them properly in silence. And so.

Every time you feel like fretting over the little things, complaining about your life, just think of those who have faced a real problem. One that cannot be overcome. The one you can't escape. The one that undoes everything. Think of me. And thank life that your problems are nothing. They, unlike death, can be overcome. Remember that.

Yes, life's difficulties can be annoying. But at least try not to vent your negativity on other people. You are alive, and you are happy. You can go outside and breathe in the fresh air. You can see how blue the sky is and how green the trees are. You can, but I won't be able to anytime soon. You're lucky. Really lucky.

Maybe you got stuck in traffic tonight, or you didn't get enough sleep because your beautiful children woke you up all night. Maybe your hairdresser made a mistake and cut your hair shorter than you asked for. Or a false fingernail broke. Or your breasts are too small, your ass has cellulite, and your stomach looks like flabby jelly.

For God's sake, stop thinking about it! I swear you'll forget all about these things when it's your turn! It's all nonsense when you look at life as a whole.

I look at my body as it melts before my eyes and there's nothing I can do about it... All I'd like is not a perfect shape, but another birthday or Christmas spent with my family. Or another day (just a day!) alone with my beloved and our dog.

Sometimes I hear people complain about the work too hard or the exercises too hard given to them by the trainer at the gym. Ha! Be thankful you can do them at all! Work or exercise seems like such mundane, boring things. As long as your body allows you to do them at all.

I tried to lead a healthy lifestyle. I guess you could even call it my passion. But none of that matters anymore. Appreciate your health and your own hard-working body, even if it's not the perfect size. Take care of it, love it - just for the fact that it doesn't let you down and it's great. Keep it moving and eat healthy. But don't get hung up on it.

Good health is not just about the physical body. Try to find mental, emotional and spiritual happiness.

Then you will realise how unimportant the "perfect body" that the media and social media impose on us is. Remove from your feed any account that makes you doubt the beauty of your body. It doesn't matter if it's someone else's or a friend's. Be ruthless in the struggle for your own happiness.

Also be thankful for every day you don't have any pain. Say thank you even for the days when you don't feel well because of the flu, a sore back or a sprained ankle, for example. Yes, it's unpleasant, but it's not life-threatening and it will go away soon.

Less complaining, people! And more support each other.

Holly Butcher's letter
Holly Butcher and her older brother

Give back, give back, give back. It's a holy truth: you will feel happier if you help someone. I wish I had done it more often...

Since I became ill, I have met a lot of incredibly helpful, generous and kind people. I have heard many kind words from them. I have received a sea of support from family, friends and even strangers. This is so much more than I can give in return. I will never forget it and I will remain grateful to these people to the end.

You know, it would be very strange to have money and start spending it at the end, before you die. At this time, you don't want to go to the shop and buy, for example, a new dress (although I used to love shopping a lot). Dresses have lost their meaning. At the end, you are absolutely clear: it is stupid to spend money on new clothes or other things.

Instead of dresses, cosmetics or jewellery, buy something nice for your friend. Something to make them happy. Treat your friends to lunch. Cook something for them yourself. Get them a pretty houseplant, a massage subscription, a nice candle. It doesn't matter what it is. The important thing is that the gift communicates, "I love and appreciate you.

Learn to value other people's time. Even if you tend to be late - well, just make a habit of getting ready to leave home early. Appreciate that the other person is willing to give you an hour or half an hour just to talk to you. Don't keep him or her waiting, staring at the phone. This will earn you respect.

This year my family decided not to give the traditional Christmas presents or even decorate the tree. You should have known how upset I was! I almost ruined everyone's holiday! But it turned out to be very special and nice. Since no one had to run to the crowded shops, my loved ones took the time to write each other greeting cards.

It was probably the right thing to do: imagine if my family had decided to give me a present, I wouldn't have been able to use it anyway and it would have stayed with them - strange, isn't it? And cards... you know, they mean a lot more to me than spontaneously bought gifts. The moral of the story: you don't have to spend money to make a holiday meaningful.

If you want to spend money, spend it on experiences. Or at least don't force yourself to give up the experience by spending it all on material, essentially unnecessary nonsense.

Take a day to finally go to the beach - get out on a trip you've been putting off for a long time. Take a dip in the water, bury your fingers in the sand. Feel the salt water on your face. Feel part of nature.

Feel the moment, enjoy it, rather than trying to catch it on your smartphone camera. It's silly to live life through a smartphone screen, it's silly to waste time looking for the perfect shot! Just enjoy the moment. On your own! Don't try to capture it for someone else.

Yes, here's a rhetorical question. The time you spend daily on make-up and styling - is it really worth it? I've never understood that about women.

Holly Butcher's farewell letter. Unanswered questions

Wake up early, listen to the birds sing, enjoy the first colours of the sunrise.

Listen to music. Listen to it! Music is medicine. The old one is better.

Give your pet a hug. I will miss my dog desperately.

Talk to your friends. Not on the phone. How are they doing for real?

Travel if you want to. Don't travel if you don't want to.

Work to live, but don't live to work.

Seriously: only do things that make your heart beat faster and make you feel happy.

Would you like some cake? Eat it - and no guilt!

Say no to something you don't want.

Stop thinking about what others will think of you and your life. Yes, they may have different ideas about what is right and proper. But you can wish for a life that is as ordinary as it gets, but full of happiness - and you would be absolutely right!

Tell your loved ones that you love them, as often as you can. And love them sincerely, with all your heart.

If something is making you feel unhappy, whether it's work or your personal life... Just strain yourself and change it! None of us knows how much time we have. You can't waste that precious time being miserable. Yes, I know, it is often repeated. But it's true!

In any case, this is just advice from a young girl. You can follow it or not - I don't insist.

One last thing. If possible, do a good deed for humanity (and me) by becoming a blood donor. It will save someone's life and also make you feel better. Each blood donation can save three lives! It is an enormous contribution that is available to everyone.

Donated blood (and I've lost count of the number of transfusions already) has given me the opportunity to live another year. A year for which I will always be grateful, because I spent it here on Earth with my family, friends and dog. It has been the most wonderful year of my life. Thank you.

And see you later..."

Holly Butcher

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