Nova Scotia

'Damn it was good': N.S. woman made most of life after cancer diagnosis

A 35-year-old Nova Scotia woman who died of cancer last week summed up her life in her self-written obituary by saying '35 years may not seem long, but damn it was good!'

In a self-penned obituary, Bailey Matheson urged people to 'live a little'

Bailey Matheson of Lakeside, N.S., died April 5, 2019. (Bailey Matheson/Facebook)

A 35-year-old Nova Scotia woman who died of cancer last week summed up her life in her self-written obituary by saying "35 years may not seem long, but damn it was good!"

Bailey Matheson grew up in Cape Breton, but lived in Lakeside, and was diagnosed with incurable cancer two years ago.

In her obituary, Matheson thanked her family and friends for their love and support, especially after she decided to forego chemotherapy.

"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," she wrote.

Bailey Matheson and her parents. (Submitted by Jennifer Irvine)

Close friend Jenn Irvine said Matheson didn't want chemotherapy to reduce the quality of the time she had left.

"Bailey didn't fear death," said Irvine. "She feared more of an unlived life and leaving us behind."

Bucket objectives

Irvine said Matheson took some time to deal with her prognosis, and then set out to enjoy the time she had left.

"How many of us go through day to day working and not living life or taking a moment to enjoy every little aspect of life?" said Irvine.

She said Matheson worked on her bucket list, which included taking a number of trips with family and friends, and an "epic" girl trip with 13 friends to Chicago.

Matheson and her friends took a trip to Chicago. (Submitted by Jennifer Irvine)

"And all of us on that trip got a tattoo of a heart that Bailey drew, so that we could forever carry her heart with us," said Irvine.

In her obituary, Matheson thanked her friends for their "unconditional love and support" in making "something that is so hard, more bearable and peaceful."

Not holding back

But Irvine said it was Matheson who often offered that comfort to others, by talking openly about her diagnosis, death and embracing life.

"She somehow made it OK and peaceful, and somehow made us see the collateral beauty in it," said Irvine.

Matheson also thanked her boyfriend, Brent, whom she met just three months before her 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," her obituary read.

Bailey Matheson thanked her boyfriend, Brent Andrews, for being by her side through her illness. (Submitted by Jennifer Irvine)

Matheson's message to others

Matheson closed her obituary with a few words of advice: "Don't take the small stuff so seriously and live a little." 

Irvine said Matheson "forever changed" those around her.

"She would love if people would just live a little," said Irvine. "None of us know how long we're here, so you might as well enjoy it. Enjoy the ride."

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About the Author

Wendy Martin

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Wendy Martin has been a reporter for nearly 30 years. Her first job in radio was at the age of three, on a show called Wendy's House on CFCB Radio in Corner Brook, N.L. Get in touch at wendy.martin@cbc.ca

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