Even though we all know that death is something that we can’t run away from, it is still pretty shocking how early some have to face death compared to others.
At the age of 26, Holly received the terrible news that she had Ewing’s sarcoma—a rare form of cancer that forms in and around the bones and mainly affects young people.
It was a complete shocker to then 26-year-old Holly.
“It’s a strange thing to realize and accept your mortality at 26 years young. It’s just one of those things you ignore. The days tick by and you expect they will keep on coming; until the unexpected happens,” she wrote at the start of her ‘Note Before I Die.’
Holly’s family had a hard time believing the news, especially that since she was a very active person and looked like a person with good health. So the doctor saying that it was already in the late stages of cancer was something very hard to swallow for the family.
“She embodied good health,” Holly’s brother, Dean, explained. “As a dietitian, she ate all the right foods, she exercised regularly and didn’t drink much alcohol. But that’s the thing about cancer. . . it’s non-discriminatory.”
Instead of wallowing in self-pity after she found out about her cancer, Holly lived her life to the fullest and made sure that she would leave this world satisfied and with no regrets. She had accepted that the healing that she will receive will not be in this world anymore, so she bravely faced her death head-on. But before completely leaving her physical body, she had not missed the chance to leave a note to her family and to everyone. It’s a very inspiring piece and here are the key takeaways from the note:
- Life is a gift:“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.”
- Don’t sweat the small stuff:“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.”
- Focus on the positive and let go of the rest:“Those times you are whining about ridiculous things, just think about someone who is really facing a problem. Be grateful for your minor issue 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.”
- Appreciate and take care of what you DO have:“I hear people complaining about how terrible work is or about how hard it is to exercise – Be grateful you are physically able to. . . 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.”
- Live generously:“Give, give, give. It is true that you gain more happiness doing things for others than doing them for yourself. . . Buy your friend something kind. . . Use your money on experiences. . . Or at least don’t miss out on experiences because you spent all your money on material [things].”
- Live in the moment and be present:“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.”
- Don’t stay stuck:“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.”
May this note that Holly left serve its purpose as she intended and inspire many people to live their life to the fullest and not focus on regrets and stress, but appreciate God’s precious gift called life.