She didn’t allow it to break her, but she broke it. They gave her only a year to live, but she lived two-and-a-half more and lived them to the fullest.

Bailey Jean Matheson from Lakeside, Nova Scotia, Canada was diagnosed with leiomyosarcoma, a soft tissue cancer which grew in her abdomen. She’d always lived a life of joy and happiness and decided not to deal with chemotherapy after a while. She wanted to enjoy the time she had left to the fullest, and she believed chemo would ruin the experience for her. It didn’t matter to her if she’d live that long with or without it.

After she received the heartbreaking diagnosis, she went to Chicago with 13 of her friends for a vacation. While they were there, they all got the same heart-shaped tattoo Matheson came up with, a tattoo that will always be a reminder of the beautiful soul she was.

Matheson was a beautician who ran her own business, named Age Defying Esthetics. She provided beauty treatments which included facials, body waxing, manicure, and pedicure. Five months after her diagnosis, she had to stop going to work.

A heartfelt obituary

She died on Tuesday, April 9, 2019. She wrote an obituary which was published on the Chronicle Herald that same day [1]. Matheson poured her heart out in gratitude to everyone who had been in her life at some point. She wanted them all to know how dear they had been to her, and how they’d all helped her live her best life.

“35 years may not seem long, but damn it was good!” She wrote. “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.”

Matheson said the greatest gift her parents gave her was supporting her decision to sidestep chemotherapy. It must have broken their hearts that she didn’t want to put up a fight, but they stood by her decision and gave her all the support they could.

“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.”

She said her friends had made the journey bearable for her. A condition that would have been devastatingly painful. She loved them more than ever for being there for her, with all their hearts brimming with love.

“To my Brent, you came into my life just three months before my diagnosis,” she wrote about her boyfriend. “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.”

She proceeded to thank everyone who had been a part of the Bailey Matheson team. Her parents, boyfriend, pets, friends, aunts, uncles, grandparents, doctors, palliative care team, social workers, and East Coast Naturopathic, a holistic and natural medicine center.

She ended her obituary with a little advice: “Don’t take the small stuff so seriously and live a little.” Words that would cut diamond anytime, any day.

She was loved by everyone around her

Speaking to CTV News, her friend, Julie Carrigan said Matheson had been full of life [2]. She took her friends on several trips with her, traveling around the world with a wild and free spirit. She wanted to connect on a deeper level with her soulmates.

“She made it so that we could talk to her about the cancer and that there would be a time she wouldn’t be here,” Carrigan said.

“She was the most caring, giving person. Everyone that met her fell in love with her. She always put everybody before herself.” Carrigan said Matheson didn’t want her family and friends to plan a funeral while they were still grieving, so she took care of all the details before she passed away.

Carrigan also talked about Brent Andrews, Matheson’s boyfriend. She said Brent was her primary caregiver, and he stood by her, loving her, watching her, sharing with her up until the very end. According to Brent, her decision to cut out chemotherapy gave her a chance to do whatever she wanted to do. Despite being initially terrifying, it turned out to be a “strange blessing”.

“We refer to him as an angel on earth. He was the one that really lifted her,” Carrigan said.

Acting like the heart full of gold she was, she requested that donations be made to two cancer support programs following her death.

“In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Melanie’s Way or Young Adults Cancer Canada.” 

Her obituary, as she’d planned it, will hold in July 2019.

May her soul rest in eternal bliss, and may the star that is her heart never fail to light up the sky.

References:

  1. Tribute. Bailey Jean Matheson. The Chronicle Herald. April 9, 2019.
  2. N.S. woman, 35, urges people to ‘live a little’ in her own obituary. Cillian Brien. CTV News.
  3. Leiomyosarcoma. Staff Writer. Mayo Clinic.
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