It was MAID for Myra: A 93-year old as efficient in dying as she was in life
Personal Stories | February 11, 2022 | Lynne Cipin
When GTA resident Lynne Cipin left for her winter home in California in November 2021, the last thing she expected was to come back three weeks later to say her final goodbye to her mom, Myra Sadowski.
Myra had been suffering, Lynne explained, but the expectation was that she had many months to live and that the 93-year-old eventually would have to give up living independently as a result of an undiagnosed ailment that was hampering her ability to eat and drink.
When she was hospitalized, Myra discussed medical assistance in dying (MAID) with her palliative care team at Sunnybrook, and unbeknownst to her three children, proceeded to complete the paperwork and undergo assessment. Given her successful 40-year career in property management Myra was as efficient in preparing for her death as she had been in conducting her business affairs.
“Glad you’re back, I’ve been waiting for you. What are you doing Friday morning?” Lynne’s mother asked of her on a Wednesday.
“It was fast, unexpected,” Lynne said, especially since her mother had never discussed MAID in definitive terms with her family.
“We knew she didn’t want heroic measures, so although we were fully supportive, we felt numb,” Lynne said. All three siblings attended their mother’s procedure, forming a loving circle around her in death as they had in life.
“She was in full form right to the end. She was cracking jokes and never lost a beat. It was only when we were sitting shiva,” Lynne said, “that we realized what an incredible gift she had given us: to not have to watch her suffer, not to have to care for an ailing parent.”
That freed Lynne to remember her mother as she was. “She was an incredible woman. Anytime I visited, she was dressed immaculately, her hair and makeup done, her jewelry on.” Everything was conducted according to what the siblings called “the Book of Myra.” For example, no matter how simple the meal, fine china and silverware always decorated her table. Family lore has it that Myra learned from a British war bride, who had lost everything she owned in a fire, to use her fine things while she had them.
Some who practice Judaism believe MAID is contrary to Judaic teachings, but Lynne explained that she believes that everyone is on a path that is preordained.
“This was my mother’s path,” she said. “It was a decision made for her and she invoked the plan. Who are we to question it?”
Lynne was firm that she has no issue with her mother choosing MAID. “I am firm supporter and believer and so grateful we live in a time and a country where it’s permissible,” she said.