In January, Ottawa's Don Kent was diagnosed with terminal cancer. Faced with his own mortality at 56 years old, Don planned to pursue medical assistance in dying. He invited Dying With Dignity Canada supporters to follow along with him on his journey with cancer and his quest for a peaceful death.
Don accessed medical assistance in dying on April 20, 2018. He died in the arms of his wife, Barb, with his mother and sisters close by. In step with his plan, Deep Purple’s “Child in Time” played in the background during Don’s final moments.
This is the seventh and final entry of Don's Journey.
Mar. 26, 2018
I find myself contemplating death frequently, but in an abstract manner. Whenever Barb and I discuss my pending demise it becomes much more immediate and emotional. My death will be very difficult for Barb, but she is putting on a brave face to ensure that I don't needlessly extend my stay here to appease others. Thank you, my dear, darling wife, best friend, and lover — I love you.
I confirmed with the palliative care doctor that we are good to go now. The 10-day waiting period has expired. She has suggested that I complete the Clinician Aid A form as the formal application for MAID.
April 9, 2018
A date has been selected. I will end my life in the late morning of April 20th at home accompanied by my wife Barb as well as my mother and two sisters. My sisters are flying in from the United States and will remain local for several days to support Barb and my mom.
Don and his wife, Barb, at a friend's wedding where Don was the best man.
I have mixed feelings about my pending demise. It is a relief to finally have a date selected but there is also some trepidation knowing that I only have a couple of weeks left to live.
Tomorrow we go to the funeral home to prepare for my cremation. I want no funeral or memorial. I have found these to be an unnecessary, stressful burden to the family rather than the supportive gathering that they are intended to be. Barb had suggested a party prior to my death but this would have been terribly frustrating for me due to my inability to speak. Communicating for me in a group environment is virtually impossible.
April 11, 2018
Wow, we found out yesterday how much a funeral home charges for very basic services. Our local funeral home is charging us more than $4,000 for just a minimal cremation with no funeral service, memorial or internment. An urn (granted a nice one) will run an additional $900. An obituary in the Ottawa Citizen is an additional $400 per day. Per day! This dying business is expensive!
April 18, 2018
Only a couple of days to go. I wanted to write about my feelings about my impending death, but I can't. Words fail me. For the lack of anything meaningful to write, this is Don Kent, signing off.
A message from Don’s family
Don left us peacefully on April 20th at 10:24 am, surrounded by his mom, sisters, and held tight in Barb’s arms, with Deep Purple’s ‘Child In Time’ playing loud in the background. Don left this world exactly as he wanted to go, after a more than 10-year battle with cancer. He’s created a huge legacy in his last few months, promoting medical assistance in dying through his blog. Today, we experienced firsthand the results of his campaign, as he slipped away quietly, peacefully, and on his own terms.
He is loved by many and will be deeply missed, but know that his road was well traveled and his end was gentle. Don treasured his time with his friends and community. Thanks to all of you who have shown your support, love and kindness to Don and our family throughout this journey.
Dying With Dignity Canada is beyond grateful to Don Kent for inviting us to join him on his journey. It was an honour and a privilege to help Don share his invaluable insights with all Canadians interested in learning more about the assisted dying process and how they, too, can take control of their dying process. Don was a gifted writer and entertainer, whose powerful story and cheeky humour naturally resonated with every person who read what he had to say. He gave so many people joy, hope, and knowledge, and his journey will continue to touch and educate countless others in the years to come. We will miss him terribly.
You can read Don’s Journey in its entirety by clicking on the following links:
- Part one: My terminal cancer diagnosis
- Part two: My plans to access medical assistance in dying
- Part three: What I've learned about assisted dying so far
- Part four: The loss of my quality of life
- Part five: The night I lost consciousness
- Part six: My fast-approaching end
- Part seven: 'This is Don Kent, signing off'