Personal story

Don's journey: The loss of my quality of life

In January, Ottawa's Don Kent was diagnosed with terminal cancer. Suddenly faced with his own mortality at 56 years old, Don plans to pursue medical assistance in dying. In this very special blog series, he invites Dying With Dignity Canada supporters to follow along with him on his journey with cancer and his quest for a peaceful death.

This is part four of Don's Journey.

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Sylvia’s story: How supporting my husband's choice has changed my life

The option of an assisted death can be a source of hope and relief for Canadians who are suffering intolerably as the result of a severe medical condition. But what happens to the loved ones of the people who make that choice? 

When it comes to grief and bereavement, everyone's path is different. However, we can learn a lot from the growing number of Canadians who have supported a family member or friend on a journey with assisted dying. Nova Scotia's Sylvia Henshaw has kindly agreed to share her reflections on the impact that her husband's choice has had on her life. It's a story, she says, that is still being written.

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Don's journey: What I've learned about assisted dying so far

In January, Ottawa's Don Kent was diagnosed with terminal cancer. Suddenly faced with his own mortality at 56 years old, Don plans to pursue medical assistance in dying. In this very special blog series, he invites Dying With Dignity Canada supporters to follow along with him on his journey with cancer and his quest for a peaceful death.

This is part three of Don's Journey.

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Don’s journey: My plans to access medical assistance in dying

In January, Ottawa's Don Kent was diagnosed with terminal cancer. Suddenly faced with his own mortality at 56 years old, Don plans to pursue medical assistance in dying. In this very special blog series, he invites Dying With Dignity Canada supporters to follow along with him on his journey with cancer and his quest for a peaceful death.

This is part two of Don's Journey.

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Rachel’s story: My sister was able to have the gentle, dignified death she wanted

When Rachel Williams' sister, Natalie, was diagnosed with late-stage cancer at the age of 55, she knew she wanted two things: She wanted to stay at home, surrounded by the love and support of her family, and she did not want to needlessly prolong her suffering. Despite resistance from doctors and some family members, Rachel — who has asked that her and her sister's real names not be used to protect their family's privacy — never wavered in her commitment to making sure Natalie was able to access her choice of a medically assisted death.

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Don's journey: My terminal cancer diagnosis

In January, Ottawa's Don Kent was diagnosed with terminal cancer. Suddenly faced with his own mortality at 56 years old, Don plans to pursue medical assistance in dying. In this very special blog series, he invites Dying With Dignity Canada supporters to follow along with him on his journey with cancer and his quest for a peaceful death.

This is part one of Don's Journey.

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It is to that bedside that I go

In this essay, Richard Harrison — the 2017 Governor General's Literary Award winner for poetry — vividly recalls his mother's choice after her cancer became terminal, of a medically assisted death, with him and his brother beside her.

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Priscilla’s last lesson: ‘No one has the right to stop us from dying’

Priscilla Cole had one last lesson to teach before she died.

A lifelong educator, she had devoted her career to instilling others with knowledge and the confidence to put it to good use. Among her pupils were the youngsters she taught at a private girls’ school in Toronto, the students she counselled at Seneca College, and the two sons she raised as a widowed mother, who are now doctors with grown children of their own.

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Paul's story: My wife's medically assisted death allowed her to "go home"

Kathleen Farago wanted nothing more than to finally "go home." She had suffered for decades with incurable medical conditions before being diagnosed with ovarian cancer on her 65th birthday. Kathy received the news with relief, cheekily calling the diagnosis her "get out of jail free" card. In this stunningly written blog post, her husband Paul Chefurka remembers their love story and his beloved Kathy's final weeks and moments before the peaceful death she had chosen with enormous strength and resolve.

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Sylvia's story: My husband's assisted death was peaceful and completely on his own terms

Dr. Doug Henshaw lived a life full of colour and adventure. He was a brilliant surgeon and a pioneer in life — and in death. His decision to access medical assistance in dying in September 2016 made him one of the first Nova Scotians to choose this newly available option. In this special blog post, Doug's wife, Sylvia, writes about his incredible life and choice.

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