27-Year-Old Wrote “Note Before I Die” And Her Words Went Viral – Here’s Why

Ashton August
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We’re all going to die someday. We know this – we all share the same end. This part is guaranteed. The part that’s never known is when and how we’ll die.

Perhaps this not knowing is a gift. It allows us, for the most part, to live – and enjoy – our lives on a day-to-day basis. Mortality. It’s a mystery, and an easy one to ignore because let’s face it – who wants to come face to face with their own mortality?

In her letter written the night before she died, Holly Butcher acknowledges the way most of us approach mortality. Mortality, she explains, is “just one of those things you ignore. The days tick by and you just expect they will keep on coming.”

The Now-Famous “Note Before I Die”

Holly Butcher, the author of this now famous letter, was diagnosed with terminal cancer at age 26. She died within the year. Having time to sit with this diagnosis, she penned her life advice based on knowing her time was limited:
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 sh*t 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. . .
Delete any account that pops up on your news feeds that gives you any sense of feeling sh*t about yourself. Friend or not. Be ruthless for your own well-being. . .
Whine 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. . .
Value other people’s time. Don’t keep them waiting because you are sh*t at being on time. . .
Use your money on experiences. Or at least don’t miss out on experiences because you spent all your money on material sh*t. . .
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.
Get up early sometimes and listen to the birds while you watch the beautiful colors the sun makes as it rises.
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 so 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 do have the power to change it – in work or love or whatever it may 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.

You can read her full letter, which she originally posted to her Facebook page the night before she died.

Death Makes You Question Everything

Is our mortality something to ignore? Is not knowing when we’re going to die a gift? Honestly, the way we as a society spend our days, I’d argue it’s not a gift. We live as if each day is guaranteed, as if tomorrow promises another chance.
But what if it doesn’t? What if tomorrow doesn’t come? How would that change your perception of today? Would you act differently, treat the people you care about differently, prioritize differently?

“That’s the thing about life; it is fragile, precious and unpredictable and each day is a gift, not a given right.” -Holly Butcher

Holly’s words are not groundbreaking. Holly shares the wisdom, the life advice, and the reminders that we’ve all heard before.
But here’s why her message is so incredibly piercing and impactful: Holly shared this wisdom hours before she died. Through her words, we feel the emotion, the yearning, the deep sense of loss and of a beautiful life cut short.
We can hear these sentiments all day long, but it’s not until we feel the importance – and the reality – behind those words that they really stick. Holly made us feel that. She made the words stick.
Holly made us stop and truly become aware of how precious these things are – the tiny miracles throughout our days, our loved ones, our pets, our experiences and memories that not only define us, but color every moment of our entire lives.

How Will You Move Forward In Your Life?

I ugly cried after reading Holly’s letter. Then I sat quietly and really contemplated my life – where I’m spending my energy, what I’m placing too much value on, or not enough . . .
This letter helped me put a lot of things into perspective – what stresses me out or intimidates me that shouldn’t, and what is truly important to me in life. Immediately parts of this letter jumped out as if they were written directly to me. And in that sense, they were – it was exactly what I needed to hear.
What parts stuck out for you? What realizations did you have? What are your takeaways? Are you inspired to live differently – big or small? Whether you answer rhetorically or in the comments below, consider these things.
Honor the legacy that Holly Butcher left through her powerful message. Don’t wait to live, and don’t spend your life focusing on things that don’t really matter.

This article has been read 7K+ times. Feelin’ the love!


wonderful comments!

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Ashton August

Ashton is the founder and Content Director of YogiApproved.com and YA Classes (we plant a food-producing tree for every class a member completes!). As a motivational author and speaker, distinguished yoga instructor and wellness entrepreneur, she believes that cultivating empowering self-talk and a healthy mindset opens the door to living an abundantly fulfilling life! Ashton lives in sunny Tucson, Arizona with her husband and their two rescue dogs.


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