Personal story

4 challenges I faced after my husband’s assisted death

In September 2016, Nova Scotia’s Douglas Henshaw became one of the first people to receive a medically assisted death in Canada. His wife, Sylvia — a Dying With Dignity Canada volunteer and member of our First Person Witness Council — reflects on four lessons she’s learned in the past three years.

Read more

Barbara’s story: Our love-filled farewell

How do you say goodbye to your partner of 66 years? Barbara of Victoria, B.C. struggled to imagine life without her husband, Joe. However, after his cancer diagnosis, Joe chose to access medical assistance in dying (MAID) to end his pain, and to ensure he maintained the quality of life he wanted for himself and for those he cared about. Ultimately, Joe’s choice to access MAID brought peace to the whole family. Now, Barbara is sharing their story with the hope of informing and empowering others.

Read more

Paul’s story: How my wife was denied her end-of-life choice

In this powerful post for the Dying With Dignity Canada blog, Calgary’s Paul Morck opens up about his wife Barbara’s struggle to access her wish of a medically assisted death.

Read more

MJ’s story: What we didn’t expect in my mom’s journey with assisted dying

MJ remembers her mother, Linda, as a strong woman who was always taking care of others. From her childhood in Quebec City to Montreal, MJ remembers Linda as a fiercely independent woman with a caring heart. Once Linda was diagnosed with lung cancer, however, she struggled through pain and ultimately made the decision to access medical assistance in dying (MAID). In this blog, MJ shares her mother’s story, and what it was like for her and her siblings to say goodbye.

Read more

Richard’s story: 52 independent witness requests in 52 weeks

Under the federal law, a sick and suffering individual looking to have an assisted death must have their written assisted dying request signed by two independent witnesses. These witnesses must not be involved in the applicant's care and cannot stand to materially benefit from the person's death.

For many people, finding two suitable witnesses can be tremendously difficult, which is why Dying With Dignity Canada (DWDC) launched its independent witness program in late 2016. Since then, our trained volunteers have served as witnesses in nearly 1,500 cases nationwide.

One witness is Mississauga, Ontario’s Richard Dowsett, who first began witnessing in June 2018. In his quest to help people access their wish of an assisted death, Richard witnessed for one person each week for an entire year.

Read more

Geraldine’s story: How I supported my husband on a journey with assisted dying

In this moving entry for the DWDC blog, Ontario’s Geraldine F. Neily honours Dale, her husband of nearly 63 years, who accessed his wish of a medically assisted death in October 2018. His end-of-life choice, she writes, was the final chapter in “a life well lived.”

Read more

Justine’s story: Chronic pain has left me in a prison of my own existence

In this powerfully written blog post, Justine from Ontario shares how her daily chronic pain has stripped her of any quality of life. Suffering with pain that feels like “literal torture,” Justine has applied for a medically assisted death, but was formally denied because she does not meet one requirement in the law: her natural death is not reasonably foreseeable.

In an effort to shine a light on the unconstitutionality of Canada’s assisted dying law, Justine shares her important story.

Read more

Ernest’s story: I live in constant excruciating pain. But I don’t qualify for an assisted death.

Ernest, an Alberta man who has requested that his last name not be used, has fibromyalgia. The excruciating pain he suffers daily has, in his own words, turned him into a shadow of his former self. Despite his suffering, however, Ernest has been denied medical assistance in dying because he does not meet certain requirements under Canada’s assisted dying law. This is his story.

Read more

Opinion: Why I believe advance requests for assisted dying must be allowed

In 2017, Calgary’s Carol Abbott-Wolfson watched her husband, Gerald, and her Aunt Marion suffer horrific deaths. Neither were able to exercise their right to an assisted death because of the law’s requirement that a person be competent at the time of the procedure. If the law allowed advance requests for assisted dying, Carol writes, their heartbreaking experiences at end of life may have been prevented.

Read more

Tracy’s story: My mother’s choice of an assisted death provided a lesson in bravery

In this powerful testimonial, Ontario's Tracy Kelly writes about her beloved and brave mother's choice of a medically assisted death after a terminal cancer diagnosis.

Read more