Honouring my sister

Personal Stories | December 9, 2022 | Erin Gorrie

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A photo of Erin and her sister Robyn

My sister was a gift. Born on my first birthday, 12 months apart, we always had each other growing up. We wore the same outfits, sometimes a different colour and we called ourselves twins. When I was 10 years old and my sister was 9, our mother was diagnosed with chronic, progressive Multiple Sclerosis. Back in those days, the mid 80’s, no one knew what M.S. was and we thought she was dying. M.S. changed our family’s life forever when my sister, in her early 20’s, was diagnosed with the same disease. After she was slowly robbed of her body, our mother passed away suddenly when she was 56 years old.  

My sister Robyn was beautiful, strong, loving and had the best sarcastic humour. Her loyalty to her friends and family was admirable. Her proudest moment was welcoming her daughter into the world in 2003 on our birthday – an amazing gift. Robyn was a fighter and did so fighting painful, chronic, progressive M.S. for most of her adult life. The disease took her functioning body away slowly over the years until she could no longer walk, feed and dress herself. All this happened by the time she was 43 years old. She described her life as ‘existing not living’. With pure courage and grace, Robyn was able to choose to end this fight. She chose to have a medically assisted death on the anniversary of our mother’s passing. 

Although difficult for those she left behind, this was her choice, her life, her battle that she had endured daily. We all miss her dearly. It’s been two years since she chose to end the suffering. 

My hope is that we are all fortunate enough to make this decision for our own lives, with dignity and grace, just as she did. 

This needs to be a human right for all Canadians. 

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