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Dying with Dignity & MAiD

Posted 12/11/2021

It’s Saturday, December 11, a week after I posted that this blog topic will be up this month, realizing I’m still subtly and, purposely avoiding sharing…. Perhaps it’s for melancholy reasons, Holiday season, my kids are on their way home and dying just all occurs as a bit too much 

I’ll begin with, for me, the hardest part then, I’ll finish with where my intention lies; with love, light and celebration  

The absolute hardest part of “designing my own death” is the vision I canNOT seem to find full peace around, scared that when this vision becomes my reality it will be exactly as I imagine it to be;

On THE DAY; I will have my siblings and my kids by my side with their father for the kids support. My kids… PAUSE…after 4 years this vision stillCHOKES me up even as write… 

 Ralston on one side holding my hand, Emmaskye on the other, I just don’t want to close my eyes, I don’t want to say good bye. Their tears, their pain of watching this as I close my eyes for the last time. They are so young to be without me yet, after watching them both evolve with such resilience and strength since this journey living with ALS all began, combined with knowing they’re in good hands after my transition, this is all I have to trust, I let go too and hold onto at the same time. For those of you who know what my two heart beats mean to me, THIS is the HARDEST experience I wouldn’t even wish in my enemy!

 

Moving forward, it was both of my kids that supported and encouraged me through this medical assistance process because like them, I choose not to live how this disease (ALS), physically takes the body into its fatal and tragic demise. 

 

I take a quick break from Blog-writing and wheel myself out to sit by a window and finish my share. As I settle into this comfy, high back old fashion chair, I watch and tear up as these two individuals collect and load up the remaining furniture from their loved ones room, after they’ve passed, realizing, very well, this will be my family doing the same thing, after I am no longer here  #hearthurts

 Family and transitionFamily and transition

 

I digressed…. 

 

A little background for awareness and educationextracted from a CBC article I read for Assisted Suicide;

August 2014: Gillian Bennett, a B.C. woman diagnosed with dementia three years ago, kills herself by ingesting drugs. Before her death, she posted on her blog that she feared she would become a burden on her family and did not want to spend "an indefinite number of years of being a vegetable in a hospital setting." Bennett also hoped to reopen the debate about assisted suicide.

 

March 2013:  The B.C. Court of Appea‚Äčl, in a split decision, affirms the law against assisted suicide, in a controversial and historic right-to-die case brought on by  ALS patient Gloria Taylor of Kelowna and the B.C. Civil Liberties Association, which vowed to appeal the ruling and did. The Taylor case is one of three that went to the Supreme Court.

October 2012:  Gloria Taylor, the ALS patient who spearheaded the movement to change Canada's right-to-die laws, dies from an infection.

June 2012B.C. Supreme Court Justice Lynn Smith, in a case that includes ALS patient Gloria Taylor, declares Canada's laws against physician-assisted suicide unconstitutional because they discriminate against the physically disabled. In a 395-page ruling, Smith noted suicide itself is not illegal, and therefore the law against assisted suicide contravenes Section 15 of the Charter, which guarantees equality, because it denies physically disabled people like Taylor the same rights as able-bodied people who can take their own lives. Smith also said the law deprives both people like Taylor and those who try to help them of the right to life and liberty guaranteed under Section 7 of the charter. The federal government appeals the ruling to the B.C. Court of Appeals.

MAiD became legal in Canada in June 2016. 

All of these very humbling details of hero-ing personal stories and the fight for rights of how we want to live or die, the direct physical, mental and emotional toll it MUST have took for every individual uniquely suffering or a loved one witnessing, to have to endure such political rhetoric against humanity and human lives is both admiring and profoundly unfathomable

 

The process of registering to administering started for me, at education and assessment. I, along with MaiD and my palliative team undergo my own education along with their assessment for eligibility to both determine a conclusion to proceed or not, Once conclusion is finalizedfamily is respectfully brought in for education, sharing and support, along with substitute decision makers, in my case, my POA, my sister. On-site on the day, there is a waiver of consent including DNR (Do Not Resuscitate), for final dispensing of drugs.thenby IV, two medications are administered;; one is anxiolytic, a local anaesthetic (coma-inducing) then a neuromuscular blocking agent that will stop my heart beat is the last to dispense. Apparently (from both education and a lot of YouTube videos), the observing is a peaceful experience for everyone involved. 

After I have transitioned, a death certificate is registered and my body will be taken away for cremation. I won’t have a funeral but will hold a celebration of life service in my beaches home-town church in Toronto with my Pastor, Lucy leading my service. I’m  grateful to Lucy because she is retiring before 2022 and has promised me that she will lead my service even after she retires. Lucy is an integral part of mine and my children’s lives and I feel blessed she will be with me in this important beginning and celebration forward. Lucy also led my Mom’s service, asignificant and meaningful alignment.

 

In closing, I have been able to find some peace, compassion and grace in the many shared stories found on YouTube of families and individuals sharing their journey into death and dying with dignity like; The Brittany Maynard” story

As for “when”… I’m often asked how “the day” gets chosen. Back in my first year since diagnosis in 2019 with a prognosis of 2-5 years given, I proclaimed November 30, 2021 as “the day” with a moveable option clause. Today is December 11th 2021 I’m still alive and well, frankly, about to eat my lunch, grateful I can still eat in the face of losing 100% vocals and walking. I play life literally day by day with my next moveable “day” being my birthday, May 12, 2022! If my vision stands tall as coming true, I will be sure to cause a miracle in either healing or reversing my symptoms or living long enough into seeing a cure for ALS!! 

 

For now, I have this day as my gift to be alive, happy, laughing and in-love with knowing I’m son to see my two heart-beats; Emmaskye and Ralston .  

The BEST Christmas gift EVER!!

 

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year to you all!

I wish only the simplest of the purest quality in moments for you and your loved ones. 

Love, 

Charmaine