As a parent, it’s natural to to get caught up in everything that needs to be done –from caring for your kids and household upkeep to fulfilling career obligations.
Though you try your very best to manage your time, there will be times when you will feel like there aren’t enough hours in the day.
As they say, you tend to get so busy building a life that you forget to truly live it.
So it’s always a welcome reminder to come across stories that, however bittersweet, inspire us to cherish each day we are given.
I came across a heartbreaking letter written by a 27-year-old woman named Holly Butcher, who sadly passed away due to cancer shortly after the world rung in the new year.
Butcher, of Brisbane, Australia, shared the letter on Facebook, and it’s inspiring many to appreciate the simple things and to value life.
Less than a week since it was posted, Holly’s letter has been shared over 105,000 times on Facebook. Over 23,000 comments poured in. While most were messages of condolences to Holly’s loved ones, thousands also commended Holly for her beautiful and powerful words.
“That’s the thing about life; It is fragile, precious and unpredictable and each day is a gift, not a given right,” she writes.
screenshot: Holly Butcher facebook page
This heartbreaking letter has touched our hearts
The heartbreaking letter will truly resonate with each and everyone who reads it. Here are just some of the beautiful thoughts each person who reads it should take to heart.
1. Enjoy the little things. (Put your phone away.)
Holly learned the beauty of enjoying moments rather than capturing them through a phone screen.
“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,” she urges.
“Listen to music.. really listen. Music is therapy. Old is best,” she continues. “Cuddle your dog. Far out, I will miss that.”
She also wants us to appreciate nature.
“Get up early sometimes and listen to the birds while you watch the beautiful colours the sun makes as it rises,” she writes.
2. Be a good friend
“Talk to your friends. Put down your phone. Are they doing okay?” she continues, emphasising the importance of valuing their time and effort.
“Get ready earlier if you are one of those people and appreciate that your friends want to share their time with you,” she continues, adding that valuing friends gains you more respect, too.
3. “Work to live, don’t live to work”
In her 27 years of life, she’s learned the value of not worrying so much about the “small, meaningless stresses in life,” which are made even more insignificant when we think about mortality.
“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,” she writes.
“Work to live, don’t live to work. Seriously, do what makes your heart feel happy,” she stresses.
She also wants people to realise the importance of spending more on experiences instead of material things – a wonderful lesson to teach our kids too.
4. Learn to say no
“Say no to things you really don’t want to do,” she urges.
It’s easy to forget that we are free to say “no” to what makes you feel uncomfortable, overextended, or undervalued.
“Travel if it’s your desire, don’t if it’s not. Eat the cake. Zero guilt,” advises Holly.
There should be a balance between saving, dieting, and savouring the joys of life, like good food and travel, or simply staying home to unwind and bond with your family.
6. Appreciate your health
“Remember there are more aspects to good health than the physical body,” she clarifies, “work just as hard on finding your mental, emotional and spiritual happiness too.”
She confesses that she did try to live a healthy life, but some things are just beyond our control.
“I’m 27 now. I don’t want to go. But the control is out of my hands,” she writes at the beginning of her letter. “I love my life. I am happy.”
So we must appreciate our good health, and we should also be grateful for days when we’re not feeling so great because we get to go on breathing despite the pain.
7. Write your own rules
“Don’t feel pressured to do what other people might think is a fulfilling life,” writes Holly in the heartbreaking letter. “You might want a mediocre life and that is so okay.”
This rings true for any mum or dad that’s been pressured to keep up with other parents, or what tradition says is the measure of success.
8. Strive to be positive
Letting go of life’s little annoyances is important to Holly, because none of it matters in the long run.
“I swear you will not be thinking of those things when it is your turn to go,” she writes.
9. Let those you love know
It’s important to let those we love know that we love them. No one knows when our time is up.
“Tell your loved ones you love them every time you get the chance and love them with everything you have,” writes Holly.
10. Give, give, give
“Give, give, give. It is true that you gain more happiness doing things for others than doing them for yourself,” she emphasises in the heartbreaking letter, urging people to complain less and help each other more.
Our hearts go out to Holly Butcher’s family and friends. May you find strength and inspiration during this difficult time.
We also hope this heartbreaking letter has given you food for thought on how you live your life and spend time with your family.
Cherish every moment, mums and dads. You’re never going to get them back.
You can read Holly’s amazing letter in full here.
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