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Just before she died of cancer, a 27-year-old woman posted her thoughts on the meaning of life as a farewell to her loved ones.
But Holly Butcher's inspirational Jan. 3 Facebook message ended up going viral far beyond her native Australia — in what has turned out to be her final gift to the world.
Think of each day as a gift
"It’s a strange thing to (realize) and accept your mortality at 26 years young," began Butcher, who died last week after a year-long battle with Ewing's sarcoma, a rare bone cancer, according to news reports.
"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.
"That’s the thing about life; It is fragile, precious and unpredictable and each day is a gift, not a given right."
Stop worrying so much
From there, the Grafton, New South Wales, native shared wisdom from the perspective of someone forced to prematurely accept her own mortality:
"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 so do what you can to make your time feel worthy and great, minus the bull---," she wrote.
Hol, as she was known to family and friends, implored those reading to not get preoccupied over the little things and to appreciate every moment in a life that will lead to only one final fate.
"I swear you will not be thinking of those things when it is your turn to go," wrote Butcher. "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."
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Think about how lucky you are
"Whinge less, people!" she summed up more succinctly, using the Australian slang for "whine." "And help each other more."
She advised to tell loved ones that you love them every chance you get; to not be pressured into living a life based on others' expectations; to buy something for a cherished friend instead of a dress for yourself; to not obsess about "the perfect social media body"; to delete social media feeds that make you feel negative, even at the risk of hurting someone else's feelings.
"Be ruthless for your own well-being," she wrote.
Do things for others
Fittingly, Butcher closed her final post with one last message: A call to donate blood.
Her words clearly inspired many, with the post being shared more than 57,000 times by Monday.
"Holly was the most amazing kind selfless person I have ever met!" a family friend wrote in the comments. "Her smile lit up every room she entered! She lit up my life I will miss her incredibly."
"The fact you had this amazingly positive girl in your lives is the best memory you could have of her," a stranger wrote to Butcher's parents on Facebook.
"Thank you for your inspirational words Holly," wrote another one of the more than 13,000 commenters. "You've already inspired a lot of people you didn't even know. Like this girl in the South West of France."