'Don't take the small stuff so seriously and live a little': 35-year-old woman leaves words of wisdom in her own obituary

A 35-year-old woman who died of cancer left behind inspiring words in the obituary she wrote for herself.

“35 years may not seem long, but damn it was good!,” Bailey Jean Matheson beganher April 9 obituary.

“Don’t take the small stuff so seriously and live a little,” Matheson, of Nova Scotia, concluded.

Matheson, who worked in the beauty industry, was diagnosed in 2017 with leiomyosarcoma, a type of cancer that affects smooth muscle tissue. When doctors told her chemotherapy had only a small chance of success, Matheson decided to not get the treatment, according to her friend, Julie Carrigan.

“She was thinking quality over quantity, that’s what she kept saying,” Carrigan told “Good Morning America.” “She was very open about it and I think would have done [chemotherapy] if her friends and family wanted her to. That’s just who she was, so selfless.”

Matheson used her remaining years of life to visit 13 countries with her friends and her boyfriend, whom she met three months before she was diagnosed, according to Carrigan, who visited seven countries with Matheson.

“Her friends always said that he was her angel on Earth,” Carrigan said of Matheson’s boyfriend, Brent Andrews. “He stuck around for the whole thing.”

Matheson wrote her own obituary because she wanted to thank Andrews, her parents and all the people in her life who made a difference, Carrigan recalled.

“She said to me a few times that she didn’t want it to be boring and didn’t want it to be a typical obituary,” she said. “She wanted it to be something to say thank you to everyone and to tell them that she really did love her life.”

Matheson wrote her obituary in the month before her April 5 death. She had a notebook where she would write down thoughts as they came to her and Carrigan helped her type them out in Matheson’s final days.

“A few days before she passed away she wanted to make sure we added [a line] about her nurses and doctors and care team,” Carrigan said. “Anyone who had been in her life she wanted to make sure they knew they were appreciated by her. It was all from the heart.”

Carrigan added of her friend, “She had said that the hardest part about getting cancer isn’t that she had cancer, the hardest part for her was how she knew it was hurting everybody around her and there was nothing she could do to stop it.”

Carrigan said although Matheson never sought attention and would probably be “mortified” by her obituary going viral, she would also be hopeful that others find it inspiring.

“She would be so humbled, especially if it reaches people that it inspires, maybe someone else going through treatment,” Carrigan said. “She always said that cancer is different for everybody and everybody is different.”

Bailey Jean Matheson’s obituary as published April 9th in The Chronicle Herald

January 23, 1984 – April 5, 2019.

“35 years may not seem long, but damn it was good!” To my parents, thank you for supporting me and my decisions throughout my life. I always remember my mom saying losing a child would be the hardest loss a parent could go through. My parents gave me the greatest gift of supporting my decisions with not going through chemo and just letting me live the rest of my life the way I believed it should be. I know how hard that must have been watching me stop treatment and letting nature take its course. I love you both even more for this. To my friends, being an only child I’ve always cherished my friendships more than anything because I’ve never had siblings of my own. I never thought I could love my friends more than I did but going through this and having your unconditional love and support you have made something that is normally so hard, more bearable and peaceful. Thank you and I love you all so much. To my Brent, you came into my life just three months before my diagnosis. You had no idea what you were getting yourself into when you swiped right that day. I couldn’t have asked for a better man to be by my side for all the adventures, appointments, laughs, cries and breakdowns. You are an amazing person and anyone in your life is so fortunate to know you. I love you beyond words. I am survived by my loving parents, Wendy (Foxwell) and Sandy (John Alexander) Matheson; my amazing and caring boyfriend, Brent Andrews and family; my wonderful pets, Rosella, Cat, Peyton (Boo Boo) and Harley; my great group of friends; my Aunt Sharon MacIntyre and family; my Aunt Paulette Novacco and family, and my Uncle Ted Foxwell and family. I was predeceased by my maternal grandmother, Lillian Clark; paternal grandparents, Elsie (Matheson) MacKenzie and Alex Matheson. Thank you for all the support, donations, fundraisers, food, messages and calls over the past two years. It means the world to me. A special thank you to my aunts, Sharon and Paulette, for being supportive and thank you to all my doctors, my palliative care team, all my VONs, my social worker, and East Coast Naturolpathic. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Melanies Way or Young Adults Cancer Canada. Details regarding the Celebration of Life will follow at a later date. “Don’t take the small stuff so seriously and live a little.”

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