What you are about to read was not written by me but the words have touched my heart in a way that I will never forget.
The letter, shared by her family on social media, was written by 27 year old Holly Butcher from NSW, who penned the words before losing a well-fought battle with a rare form of cancer. Her words are honest, brave and emotional.
It doesn't matter what we go through, there is always someone worse off. Braver. Unfairly being deprived of their dreams.
Holly's words deserve to be shared, read and really digested. Every single one is written with so much passion, quietly underlining the unfairness of life but with the kindness of intent. Highlighting what really matters. Her words are a perfect example of why I want people to be kind. Why we should focus our energy on making someone smile, rather than making them sad. Why we should realise that going to bed angry is silly. We should stay up, fight and then make up.
To Holly's family, I thank you for sharing her words in a situation full of indescribable pain. I hope you find comfort in knowing that her words will touch many lives.
"It's a strange thing to realise and accept your mortality at 26 years young. It's just one of those things that 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.
That's the thing about life; It is fragile, precious and unpredictable and each day is a gift, not a given right. I'm 27 now. I don't want to go. I love my life. I am happy. I owe that to my loved ones. But the control is out of my hands.
Those times you are whining about ridiculous things (something I have noticed so much these past few months), just think about someone who is facing a real problem. Be grateful for your minor issues and get over it. It's okay to acknowledge that something is annoying but try not to carry on about it and negatively affect other people's days.
Once you do that, get out there are take a freaking big breath of fresh Aussie air deep in your lungs, look at how blue the sky is and how green the trees are. It is so beautiful. Think how lucky you are to be able to do just that - breathe.
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 arse and your belly is wobbling. Let all that shit 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.
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.
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, it 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. While on this topic, delete any account that pops up on your news feeds that gives you any sense of feeling shit about yourself. Friend or not. Be ruthless for your own well-being.
Be grateful for each day you don't have pain and even the days where you are unwell with man flu, a sore back or a sprained ankle, accept it is shit but be thankful it isn't life threatening and will go away. Whinge less, people!... And help each other more.
Give, give, give. It is true that you gain more happiness doing things for others than doing them for yourself. I wish I did this more.
Since I have been sick, I have met the incredibly giving and kind people and been the receiver of the most thoughtful and loving words and support from my family, friends and strangers. More than I could ever give in return. I will never forget this and will be forever grateful to all of these people.
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 like 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 for that next wedding. 1. No-one cares if you wear the same thing twice. 2. It feels good. 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. Value other people's time. Don't keep them waiting because you are shit at being on time. Get ready earlier if you are one of those people and appreciate that your friends want to share their time with you, not sit by themselves, waiting on a mate. You will gain respect too! Amen sister.
This year, our family agreed to do no presents, and despite the tree looking sad and empty (I nearly cracked Christmas Eve!), it was so nice because people didn't have the pressure of shopping and the effort went into writing a nice card for each other. Plus imagine my family trying to buy me a present knowing they would probably end up with it themselves... strange! It might seem lame but those cards mean more to me than any impulse purchase could.
Use your money on experiences. Or at least don't miss out on experiences because you spend all your money on shit. Put in the effort to do that trip to the beach you keep putting off. Dip your feet in the sand. Wet your face with salt water. Get amongst nature. Listen to music... really listen. Music is therapy. Old is best. Cuddle your dog. Far out, I will miss that. 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. Don't feel pressured to do what other people might think is a fulfilling life... you might want a mediocre life and that is okay. Tell your loved ones you love them every time you get the chance and love them with everything you have.
Also, remember if something is making you miserable, you have the power to change it - in work or love or whatever it might be. Have the guts to change. You don't know how much time you've got on this earth so don't waste it being miserable. I know that is said all the time but it couldn't be more true.
Anyway, that's just this one young gals life advice. Take it or leave it. I don't mind!
Oh and one last thing, if you can, do a good deed for humanity (and myself). You could start regularly donating blood. It will make you feel good with the added bonus of saving lives. I feel like it is something that is so overlooked considering every donation can save 3 lives! That is a massive impact each person can have and the process really is so simple. Blood donation (more bags that I could keep up with counting) helped keep me alive for an extra year - a year I will be forever grateful that I got to spend on Earth with my family, friends and dog. A year I had some of the greatest times of my life...
...Till we meet again.