The choice: A story of love
Personal Stories | November 25, 2022 | Barb Currado
My name is Barb and for nearly two years my precious dad, David, fought hard to continue living, but in the end, he chose an assisted death. He had terminal sarcomatoid mesothelioma and had suffered greatly. He also had a secondary (non-related cancer) marching across his brain and pinging off cranial nerve after cranial nerve. This impacted his quality of life to the point where he was paralyzed on the left side of his face, he could no longer see or hear out of his left eye or ear. He had also lost the ability to chew and, at the very end, the ability to swallow easily or to speak clearly. As the mesothelioma spread from his pleural cavity into his peritoneal cavity, he needed to be catheterized and have his bowels manually disimpacted (even though his only source of nutrition at this point was liquid Ensure). This, dear readers, is not living, it is existing in perpetual pain and indignity.
My sister Debbie and I, along with an amazing palliative care team, were my dad’s end-of-life caregivers in her home and we treasured every moment we had with him. He maintained his enduring love, humour and pragmatism. Our older sister Linda and his treasured wife and our mom Ursula, along with both myself and Debbie, were all present for his last breath. We sent him into the universe on words of love and support and peace.
He made the decision to have a medically assisted death with a sound mind very thoughtfully and clearly. He considered all angles – his faith, his family and himself. Our beloved dad knew there was no cure and he no longer wished to suffer. It was his life and his choice. While we wanted him to stay for us, we fully respected and supported his decision and were with him to the end.
The medical and legal rules surrounding it are very in depth and incredibly well done. The medical community that provides this service, to me are God’s angels on earth. These compassionate and dedicated human beings came to my sister’s house on February 28, 2022, entirely the day of my dad’s choosing, to bring our sweet father his eternal peace. It was beautiful in a very strange way, and I am at peace knowing he suffers no more. He died with dignity, grace and courage and on his terms.
I strongly support the option to die with dignity with an assisted death. I would choose the very same for myself should the need ever arise, and I support others who choose this route if so desired.