The Last Soup

Personal Stories | August 10, 2022 | Lori Weber

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Ron and his wife Lori generously shared their stories with us — Ron as a person living with chronic pain, the challenges of the health care system, and his decision to pursue medical assistance in dying (MAID); Lori as a caregiver to Ron and the experience of a loved one choosing MAID. Ron accessed MAID on July 11, 2022. We are grateful to both Ron and Lori for their honest accounts of this experience.

Read Part 1 and Part 2 of Ron’s story. 

Part 3 – Lori’s story

Today I will make the last soup.

I will chop onions that will make me cry, dice carrots and potatoes. I will sauté them, with a spoonful of curry paste, add water and veggie cubes, bring to a boil, then add spinach. He likes it best with spinach, so it cannot be omitted. Especially since this will be the last soup. 

Soup equals love. It is a mantra that has been running through my head as the countdown is on. Two weeks to MAID. What can I give him that will make his life easier, smoother, more bearable in the weeks to come? My soup. It is the only food he has been able to eat without choking for the last six months. Store bought just isn’t the same. 

As I make it, I will stir in my hopes for a peaceful end to the suffering my husband of 34 years has endured for many years now. I wish the end did not have to be as drastic as MAID, but I am grateful for this option. And so is he. He pounced on the opportunity when Bill C-7 passed last year. Track two, as his death was not foreseeable – only an endless forest of suffering for who knows how many years.

I have likened this process to driving a standard. When you first learn that a loved one is considering MAID, you may be in first gear. (Neutral was the time before illness dominated every part of your life.) The application takes you to second; the doctor interviews to third; telling your children and grandchildren zooms you up to fourth; and now … when you have the date, you are in fifth. All normal things become difficult. Being in social settings with people who are outside this hurtling car is nearly impossible. Their mouths are moving but nothing they say registers. Their words get trapped in the wind that surrounds you. You nod politely, thinking how badly you just need to be at home. Exhaustion is your constant companion, riding shotgun. 

When you are with your three grown daughters, the tears are a constant flow. No one can understand how this happened. It seems sudden, yet you remind them that their father has been suffering for many years. He had to stop teaching prematurely seven years ago. But when he’s with them, he puts on a brave face that hides much of the pain. They laugh through Jeopardy or the new Star Trek. It all came as a shock that day you parked by the lake, which was wild, sending up spumes of white foam, and told them. His brothers received the shock over the phone and are still reeling. Many don’t know and will be shocked in two weeks, when the obituary appears. 

But today, I will focus on soup. The last soup. I will make sure he is not alone when he eats it. I hope he will be able to taste the love I am stirring into it.

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