*** NOTE: These are my PERSONAL feelings/thoughts on the topic. I am entitled to them, you are equally entitled to your own. I’m completely happy for a sharing of ideas, comment or email me all you want. But attacking me for sharing MY thoughts on MY blog, is just going to end up with them being deleted. So that’s a waste of your energy, go do something like eat cake. Cake is awesome. Go eat some cake.
Oh and I think it goes without saying, but I will say it anyway because some people may be concerned: I feel deeply for Holly’s family, I’m still struggling with grief myself and I can only imagine how they are feeling. I am not writing this to attack Holly or to muddy her memory. Simply something that has been on my mind.***
So this farewell note by Holly Butcher has been popping up over the last few days.
Holly lost her battle with Ewing’s Sarcoma on January 4th 2018. She was 27.
27 is too young. Too young to lose a life, because, whatever that decides who dies and who doesn’t*, she was given the heaviest burden.
64 is also too young. My mum was too young when she died. She was too young. Anyone who asks about her and find out she was only 64, every single fucking time ‘wow that’s young’. Yes, it is. Thanks for the reminder.
Now I’m going to critique Holly’s farewell message. She got the chance to write one, not everyone does.
It’s probably best if you go read it for yourself (link above) rather than me reposting it and poking and prodding it.
But to TL:DR it: life is too short. Don’t worry about the little things, enjoy the important things. Great advice sure. But I have a couple issues with some things she said.
‘Random rhetorical question. Are those several hours you spend doing your hair and make up each day or to go out for one night really worth it? I’ve never understood this about females’
Earlier in her letter she touches on not caring about your body not looking perfect and appreciating the body you gave, not desperately trying to attain that which you don’t have. Cool. But then this comment comes up. She talks throughout the piece about being true to yourself and doing what makes you happy. Well, what if that hour I spend doing my makeup and selecting my outfit DOES make me happy? What if it helps me be true to myself? To me, it is worth it. If I look good on the outside 9/10 times I will feel good on the inside. And that other time (the 1/10) is when I’m feeling utter shite but I dress nice because I can help me feel better.
‘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 sure. I agree with this statement, for the most part. Except the little bit where it says ‘might want a mediocre life’. Cause that’s saying to me ‘if what you want in life is not the same as other people (say earn a lot of money, own a big house + have a family etc) then THAT’S OKAY but it will mean your life is not as fulfilling. Because it doesn’t look the same as other people’s‘. But the way it’s phrased makes it look like the end bit (in italics) is hidden behind the THAT’S OKAY bit. Like, shouldn’t a person be allowed to live whatever life they desire (so long as no one is being hurt) and it still be just as fulfilling as anyone else? Why does the word ‘mediocre’ even need to come up?
‘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.’
Okay now this one is really the one I wanted to talk about.
Okay so I have a huge photo library on my phone, computer and an external drive. I have 3 Instagram accounts and 2 Facebook accounts. I take photos multiple times a day. Often the subject matter is different, sometimes the same. Currently I am running my phone battery down so quickly because of the amount of times I take a photo or video. Do you want to know why? Because I need a record. I want to remember.
Bear isn’t going to be around much longer. He has less than a week left. I want as many possible photos or videos or recordings of him that I can possibly get. The chances are high that a portion will be lost because we all know that technology is GREAT but it can also be SHITE sometimes and lose things.
I have photos, voicemails and other images of my Mum for the same reason. I want to remember. I want to remember what her voice sounded like, her laugh. See her smile, remember the way her hands moved.
I am not preserving these events or moments for other people, but for myself. And I share them with others (on any one of my social media platforms) in case they want to remember too. And I don’t see what is wrong with that.
I agree with pretty much all of what Holly wrote: let go of the small things. But there is one last thing I want to address (not a quote just a general theme or her message).
Yes, cancer is beyond terrifying. And to be told at 27 that you’re going to die, I can’t imagine. But she speaks about the small things in life, like not enjoying your job or fights with friends or similar. And while I agree there are things that shouldn’t be even something you worry about. But I don’t want people to feel that their lives and issues/difficulties/concerns/problems, aren’t important purely because they aren’t about ‘serious things’. You can not compare one person’s life to another. Even identical twins. Whatever two people experience are their individual experiences and shouldn’t be invalidated because it doesn’t fit into a specific category.
I don’t want someone to feel that their depression or other mental illness isn’t important because it’s ‘not cancer’.
Certainly I should be ‘grateful’ that I lived to be 28, that I lived beyond the times I almost didn’t, that I don’t have cancer and don’t have a prognosis of months, weeks or days. That, provided I continue the correct treatment, I can expect to live many, many more years. And in a way I am ‘grateful’ for that. But that shouldn’t make my issues and my illnesses – that impact my daily living – of lesser importance, nor should it mean I should just ‘let them go’.
Anyway, those are my thoughts. I’m not going to do the thing that I hate people doing to me (‘sending my condolences’), to Holly’s family. I will say that what you’ve all been through, what Holly went through: it fucking sucks and there is no other way to look at it sometimes. It fucking sucks and I’m sorry.