Jane “Nightbirde” Marczewski’s family posted one of the last videos that the America’s Got Talent star had taken before her death on Instagram on Tuesday February 22. The video featured Nightbirde laying in bed and talking about how important it is to embrace feelings of sadness and loss shortly before her tragic passing at age 31 on February 20, following a battle with breast cancer.
In the clip, Nightbirde gave a touching talk about how important it is to allow yourself to feel sadness, and it doesn’t discount attempts to get better. “Just because you’re sad or grieving doesn’t mean that you’re not grateful, and it doesn’t mean that you’re not hopeful. It doesn’t mean that you aren’t still fighting for your life, that you still don’t have it in you to keep going,” she said. “Sadness and grief and mourning and lamenting and crying and screaming and being angry, these are ways that we honor what was lost.”
The AGT season 16 favorite encouraged her fans to face tough times head on, and fully embrace how difficult some of those can be. “I think grieving and feeling through all the emotions that you feel: the sadness and the grief and the injustice and the anger and the loss and the bargaining. I think its wholly work. It’s scary to go down those dark roads, but you know what? Those feelings don’t leave you. You have to feel it,” she said.
Nightbirde went on to tell people that they don’t need to try to force themselves to be happy if they’re not feeling it. While she said that life can be great, it can also be incredibly difficult. “I used to believe that if I was sad, it meant that I wasn’t fighting hard enough or I wasn’t grateful enough, and that’s not true. Be sad and be grateful and look at the twinkly lights and feel your feelings. It’s all real: the joy and the pain. It’s all real, and you don’t have to pick one or the other: life is beautiful or life is garbage. It’s kind of both sometimes,” she said, before thanking fans for watching.
In the video’s description, the contestant’s family wrote about how the video was a fitting farewell to the late singer and hoped that it provided comfort to fans mourning her tragic loss. Her family also paid tribute to her in a statement. “Those who knew her, enjoyed her larger-than-life personality and sense of humor. She had a witty joke for every occasion—even if the joke was on her,” they wrote in the video description. “Her lasting legacy will be the gift of hope she gave to so many through her music and the strength she found in Jesus.”