Julia Ann (Jill) Bailey
I once asked my daughter, Julia Ann Bailey (Jill), why she thought she was so loved by so many. She thought for a moment and then said, “I’m like a basket full of puppies.” And that’s just who she was. My daughter was playful, joyful, energetic, loving, caring, and intelligent. And then she became constipated for two weeks, and had a side pain. When she went to the doctor to seek advice, he had her do a colonoscopy and she was diagnosed with stage 4 colon cancer.
That was 10 months before she died, August 7, 2019.
So who was this “basket of puppies”?
Well, in 3rd grade, the choir director chose her to be one of four angels at midnight mass, and she had the honor of carrying baby Jesus to place him in the crib. And because she had the sweetest singing voice, she was to turn, after placing the baby, and sing Silent Night…all by herself. Being her mother, I just knew she had to be nervous, so I went back to the sacristy before mass began, and told her, “Don’t focus on the people in church, look at the back of church and sing for God.” She looked at me and said, “I’m fine, mom.” And she was. As she carried the statue of baby Jesus up the aisle, she looked at me with a big smile and such pride. And after she placed the baby, she turned and sang Silent Night, to a packed church, and you could hear a pin drop when she was finished.
Jill and her brother, who is four years younger than her, were inseparable. Best friends from birth. Although she thought more of him as a play toy than a person sometimes. At about 10, Jill dressed him up in a cape and had him jump off the garage roof. And to my horror I found her sliding down a rope string that was attached to our backyard tree on one end and the swing set on the other….and getting her little brother to do the same!
She was the founder, and she and her brother were the only members, of the Happy Day Detective Agency. Their only claim to fame was catching the neighbor spray painting the garage doors of other neighbors with bad words. When other neighbors asked if we knew anything about it, she stepped right up and said, “It was, Mr. _____!”
Jill and her brother would watch movies into their adult years, movies like the Three Amigos and memorize lines from them. Anything could trigger one or the other to start a line from the movie and the other would finish it. And then both would laugh, living in their own private jokes. And this continued way into adult and parenthood.
My daughter would be proud to say her greatest achievement was having her daughter, Madison Ann, who is now 10 years old. Jill loved being a mom. She and Maddie did everything together. Shopping, vacationing, amusement parks, museums -- they loved just being together hanging out cuddling on the couch. Jill often ran 5K’s and even introduced Maddie to running. They ran the Mother’s Day Run in Forest Park together, and joined Girls on the Run.
Smart. Ambitious. Pretty. Jill was excellent in school from St. Gabriel’s grade school, to Ursuline Academy, to Truman University, to Webster University for her Masters degree in Marketing and Business Management.
She was also very adept at her job, and last year became a vice president of the company she worked for, Equifax. People there told me that she had the uncanny ability to look at a problem, dissect it, come up with a solution and put a team of people together to do just that. She was loved for her sense of humor, her ability to focus in, and her ability to make everyone feel good about themselves.
She had a soft heart for every animal. She once rescued a baby bunny from her back yard from the neighborhood cat. She loved birds and you’d find birds’ nests on her front porch. A few weeks before she died, she almost adopted another dog because he was cute and cuddly, but she said it wasn’t a good time for that. She and Maddie had one dog, Ellie, and two birds, Snow and Flake.
Another joy in her life were her many friends. They often socialized and took trips to the lake together. Every chemo she had was attended by at least one of her friends, and they were often admonished for laughing too loudly in the infusion center.
Colon cancer robbed not only Jill of her life, but all of us as well-- of this wonderful, happy, joyful, funny, intelligent young woman. She is missed terribly by all of us. There is a huge hole in our hearts. We love you, Jill.
Help us stop this cancer from taking the life of another person.