Growing numbers of Canadians are choosing MAID, particularly in Saskatchewan. With greater awareness and acceptance, and possible expansion of criteria to include mental illness, medical experts say that trend will continue.
“Some people think that they have to live until their illness takes them away. They have a right to that,” Jeanette said. “But sometimes I think people would want to go home. They aren’t aware a person can have control and dignity when they die, control over how they die.”
Why did Jeanette choose assisted death? How did it feel to know the exact moment she would die? How did she spend those last weeks, hours, minutes?
The option of assisted death had already occurred to Phyllis. Jeanette’s sister received MAID a couple of years earlier. But Phyllis didn’t want her mother to feel like a burden, so she didn’t mention it.
“For months, it was all about keeping her alive, even though she was in pain. All we did was take pills and go to appointments. That’s what we did together,” Phyllis said.
“That day, we decided to do whatever was going to make Mom happy. So I said, ‘I’m not going to make you take your pills. I’m not gonna make you do all of these things. You tell me what you need now.’”
Jeanette, who had tears running down her cheek as Phyllis told the story, said she felt an immense “release” through her entire body after making the decision.
“I thought, thank you. Thank you. I’ve had enough. I’ve had a long life. I’m 87 years old. I’ve had a wonderful family who support me and I love dearly forever,” she said. “It was such a release to know that I didn’t have to suffer anymore, and that it was OK to go.”