HOOROO, HOLLY: Family and friends say goodbye
A LOVING, athletic, funny, bright and smart woman was how Holly Butcher's family and friends described her when hundreds of people came to her funeral at the Grafton Showgrounds.
Holly always had her tongue sticking out of her mouth and a smile on her face, according to her brother Dean, who gave an emotional eulogy about a woman who touched the lives of so many with her sage words of wisdom.
"Your 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 shit go... I swear you will not be thinking of those things when it is your turn to go," the 27-year-old wrote in a letter to her friends and family before her death.
Those words of wisdom went viral on the internet in the days following her death.
Holly died of Ewing's sarcoma on Thursday morning last week after battling the disease since November 2016.
Dean said it would be no surprise to anyone that Holly was born with her tongue out.
"As a child Holly was playful, adventurous and independent... she loved jumping on the trampoline with the sprinkler on underneath, playing hide and seek and climbing in the trees," he said.
"She liked watching The Sound of Music, listening to music and hanging with her friends."
Dean said, whenever they had the chance, the whole family was outside "taking a freaking big breath of what Holly called great Aussie air".
"Holly was the apple of her parents' eyes, everything you could ask for in a child - she possessed within her qualities that capture your attention and engage you. When I closed my eyes to write these words, I pictured her natural beauty and elegance, in particular her larger-than-life smile, those big pearly whites and her long tongue poking out to the side.
"That was Holly in a nutshell."
Dean described her as a budding sports star who could have gone further if she'd wanted, starting with the Sailors Hockey Club at age seven, before making it into the state hockey team.
Her skills on the squash court were as impressive. She became a state-ranked player and represented the state squash team.
"Regardless of the sport, she always played with commitment, she never defended a half-arsed go and, even more importantly, she never threw her hockey stick or threw her squash racquet on the ground.
"She was always the true embodiment of sportsmanship. She was someone the younger kids could, and did, idolise."
Dean said Holly was just as talented in school as she was in sport, and was well-respected by her teachers and peers.
This continued into her time at university and, despite not enjoying her first course, she thrived in nutrition and dietetics.
Dean spoke of Holly meeting her partner, Luke, who she first came across on a trip to Heron Island with the school.
Running into each other a few times after that, the two finally went on their first official date years later when he filled in on her touch football team.
On their first date, Luke's dog Oscar went missing and the two had to find him. Dean said Luke used the power of his dog to woo Holly.
"Oscar, her fur baby and most loyal companion, he made sure he stayed close-by when Holly was out of hospital and Holly told me he became increasingly protective of her, barking at people nearby, particularly when she was sick.
"I think he knew what was going on the whole time; he could just tell," he said.
Dean said those who knew Holly were fortunate to have her in their lives and the light she brought to the world would be greatly missed.