He did not want to wait until it was too late, so he died too early
Personal Stories | December 22, 2023 | Lynn Daigneault
My husband, a strong, healthy and fit man, was diagnosed with a genetic mutation lung cancer in the spring of 2020. This was all happening during COVID, luckily his spirit and the medication kept him going. We were so isolated, except for nurses coming to the home to drain his chest cavity several times a week; family and friends, were not allowed into the house because of his compromised immune system. It was a very lonely and isolating time and the stress of getting COVID was enormous, “What if I got sick? Who would look after my husband? Who would look after me?” I was not allowed into the hospital when he went for consultations and tests. Dropping him off at the hospital door and watching him stand in line to be screened, by himself, with no assistance tore me apart. If we hadn’t had FaceTime and Zoom with friends and family, we both would have gone under.
In April of 2021, an MRI showed that the cancer had metastasized on his brain. After discussion with his oncologist, we decided to opt for five days of targeted radiation. an MRI several weeks later showed no change. His oncologist suspended all medications and referred him to palliative care. We met with the palliative care doctors in our home and during the discussions of what to expect with brain cancer, my husband suddenly said, “I want MAID.” I wasn’t surprised really; we had talked about this a lot over the years. But to hear him say this stopped my breath. A referral was arranged to MAID clinicians on a Monday. Wednesday, a very compassionate MAID assessor came to the house and approved my husband. Friday, a second one came and did the same.
A date was set for the Tuesday after the May long weekend at 11 a.m. Family came to say their goodbyes. Friends called and emailed. It was the hardest few days in the 40 years we had been married. Everything was ‘the last time.’ On Tuesday, May 25, 2021, at 11 a.m., my husband was helped to die. I was lying beside him and his son and his brother in the room, while our grandchildren waited downstairs. My husband’s last words to me were, “You are strong, you will be ok.”
If advance requests had been possible, we would have had more time together. Maybe we would have made it to our 41st anniversary. He would have had more time to be with family as everyone was now vaccinated against COVID and masking. Our grandchildren would have had their grandfather longer. As I write this, tomorrow would have been our 43rd anniversary. It’s two and a half years later and I still miss him every day. He was my rock. Life is not as hard as it was even a year ago, but it still has its very hard days.
Advance requests would be so much easier for everyone. My husband did not want to wait until it was too late, so he died too early. I know he did not want to burden me with his care once the brain cancer progressed. It’s a nasty disease. MAID gave him control over his illness and gave him a very peaceful death. He went too early, but I do want to let people know, it is quiet and peaceful, and it gives everyone a chance to say a proper goodbye.
Send a letter to your Member of Parliament and the Ministers of Health and Justice in support of advance requests for MAID using the tool on our website