In 2016, a 26-year-old woman named Holly Butcher was diagnosed with Ewing's sarcoma, a rare but aggressive form of cancer that affects the bones. She passed away in January 2018. But not before leaving behind some advice for the rest of us.
She wrote a Facebook post that has gone viral. You can read it here. It contains some language issues. If you are offended by that, maybe just avoid the link and keep reading here.
Her point about not whining about ridiculous things like traffic, a lack of sleep, a bad haircut, a chipped fingernail, or your body size hits home with me. I’ve complained about most of these things, save the bad haircut and chipped fingernails.
I’ve also complained about work being difficult and how hard it is to exercise. In fact, I’ve done both this week.
Here’s what Holly said: “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,” Holly continued. “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.”
Her comment about the way her family celebrated her last Christmas was so moving.
“This year, our family agreed to do no presents and despite the tree looking rather 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.”
We could all learn something from focusing more on cards than gifts, couldn’t we? Especially if we took the time to write something personal inside each one?
A couple of points later, she said what everyone needs to hear, myself included.
“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.”
I’m so guilty of this. I think it’s because I’m afraid I’ll forget the moment, but the thing is, there will always be another moment.
Maybe we’re not meant to relive moments over and over. Not that good memories are a bad thing. But maybe we’re not supposed to try to grasp them, protect them, and savor them in an attempt to recreate them. Maybe we’re just supposed to smile because they happened.
Ironically, I have a photo saved on my phone somewhere that was taken at the end of a sports era. It said, “Don’t cry because it’s over. Smile because it happened.” I don’t know who said that originally, but it rings true, doesn’t it?