35-Year-Old's Self-Penned Obituary Reminding Others to 'Live a Little' Is Making Everyone Ugly Cry

A close-up of Bailey Jean Matheson before her diagnosis.
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It's easy to get caught up in a cycle of anxiety, thanks to that never-ending list of things to do and places to be and people to please. When you're a parent, this only intensifies, as tiny humans are literally pulling at you left and right. Which is why many of us often need a gentle reminder to stop in the middle of all the chaos and appreciate just how incredible it is that we're alive and surrounded by people we love. Well, this week that reminder comes in the form of an obituary penned by 35-year-old Bailey Jean Matheson, who recently died from cancer. She left behind an important message for the living that should be required reading for us all. 

(Fair warning: If you're anything like me, it will have you ugly-crying on your couch within minutes.)

  • Matheson, who was born in Canada on January 23, 1984, was diagnosed with cancer in 2017, and made the difficult decision to forego chemotherapy. 

    According to CTV News, Matheson was diagnosed with leiomyosarcoma, a soft tissue cancer in the abdomen, and was given just 12 months to live.

    Amazingly, she defied their wildest expectations, and went on to live 2 1/2 years.

    And what an incredible 2 1/2 years it was.

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  • According to Matheson's obituary, her decision not to pursue chemo was so she could "live the rest of my life the way I believed it should be."

    That life included trips to exotic locales and some of the world's most beautiful places, with family, friends, and her boyfriend, Brent Andrews.

    Still, she admits this couldn't have been easy for her parents -- especially her mother, who she remembers as once saying "losing a child would be the hardest loss a parent could go through."

    Considering Matheson was an only child, this must have been even more excruciating. But their respect and acceptance for their daughter's decision only deepened her love for them, wrote Matheson.

    "My parents gave me the greatest gift of supporting my decisions," she wrote, admitting that she knew "how hard that must have been watching me stop treatment and letting nature take its course." 

  • Matheson also thanked her friends, who were more like siblings to her, as well as Brent, who met her just three months before her diagnosis.

    "You had no idea what you were getting yourself into when you swiped right that day," wrote Matheson. "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."

    (If that doesn't pull at the heart strings, and leave you rushing to grab a tissue, then I don't know what will.)

  • In the end, Matheson had one important bit of wisdom to impart on the rest of us: "Don’t take the small stuff so seriously and live a little."

    It's a simple reminder, but perhaps a necessary one, for all of us left in the land of the living who often forget just how lucky we truly are -- on good days, and even bad.

    The obituary, which asks that in lieu of flowers, donations be made to Melanie's Way or Young Adults Cancer Canada, has been going viral since it was first posted. And as it's been making its way around social media, it's been touching hearts around the world.

    Hearts that no doubt feel a renewed zest for life, and for leaving this world the way that Bailey Jean Matheson did -- grateful for every moment spent on Earth, and ready for whatever comes next.

    "35 years may not seem long, but damn it was good!"  Matheson wrote.

    I don't know about you, but I sure hope whenever it's my time, I can say the same.