Our hero and his choice

Personal Stories | October 20, 2023 | Tracy Sleeman

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A photo of Tracy, her Mom, Dad and siblings

These last several weeks have been extremely difficult for my amazing family. Yesterday, I had to say my final goodbyes to the first man I loved, my amazing hero for 62 years, my incredibly brave and courageous dad. I have certainly had difficult days in my life, however none quite so emotionally or mentally tough. One is never prepared to lose a loved parent no matter what age we are. 

Dad lived a wonderful, fulfilling life which he shared lovingly with my mother for 64 and a half years. Together, they raised four incredible children. How blessed am I to have such amazing parents and siblings? 

We were all blessed and thankful for his teachings throughout our lives; his constant guidance, support and love will be forever missed. His quick wit and amazing sense of humour were shared and enjoyed by all that had the privilege of knowing Dad. His outgoing personality and friendliness to all gained him insurmountable friends . 

Dad was very recently diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer. He confidently, courageously, and quickly decided how he would close this chapter of his life; Dad chose MAID.

As a family, we shared 100% loving support of Dad’s very selfless decision; a decision made from a place of strength.  

Dad made his decision, and then of course brought much humour to it. 

Our beloved husband, father, and friend always showed great respect for his wife, family, and friends. He lived his life with great honesty and integrity. 

Dad often spoke of MAID in his later years of life. Not because he was ill, but because he was always certain of the way he would react to an imminent threat of death. 

Sadly in June of this year, Dad learned of his diagnosis of terminal lung cancer. Although his symptoms were obvious, he lost considerable weight and developed a terrible cough due to the tumour. His sense of humour and his daily routine never waived. 

He immediately decided that, given several options, his personal choice was one that allowed him control, dignity, comfort, and peace. 

Dad’s decision, of course, was MAID; the date would be July 19, 2023. 

July 19 was shared together with immediate family, reminiscing about all our happiest and funniest memories. There were enough tears to create a lake, but the love and support of each other carried us all gracefully through this journey. 

Our father had a tremendous sense of humour and we were raised in a very open and loving family. Many of our conversations would have been unspoken in other homes. 

My beautiful sisters jokingly bought Dad a shirt in April, displaying his wish. This before our knowledge of his health issues. I’ve included a photo of the very shirt he proudly displayed to his MAID assessor and provider. 

We as a family wish to send a very special thank you to Dad’s MAID provider. He made the most difficult of days bearable, with his professionalism, his immense compassion, and the ability to make my Dad’s final wish on this earth become a reality. 

A wish that gave Dad exactly what he deserved: a peaceful, comfortable death, surrounded by the most important people in his life. 

Thank you, Dad. 
Love you now and forever. Xo  
Till we meet again. Birdie  

We make choices in life, every single day. 
One of the most important ones being our own decisions in dying. 
I would not ever want someone else to be able to control or dictate how I will live my final days on this earth. 

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