Personal story

My wife wanted her choice of a peaceful death to be shared. This is our story.

Winnipeg’s Jean Ayre believed passionately in a more loving and caring world, and throughout her 86 years of life, she did everything in her power to make that belief a reality. It’s no surprise, then, that on her final day — the day she said “yes” to a medically assisted death — Jean was surrounded by unconditional love and care in the form of her husband, their family, and 15 of their closest friends.

In this special blog post, Jean's husband, Don, shares the powerful story of their love, while recounting their final months together and the peace Jean felt when she made her final choice.

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Aging with dementia, through a granddaughter’s eyes

Dying With Dignity Canada board member Leigh Naturkach describes how a visit to her 92-year-old Opa led her to reflect on her relationships and her wishes for care at end of life.

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Adam's story: ‘The toughest of all places’

In August 2017, B.C.’s Adam Ross fulfilled his choice to die with dignity — the last option left to free him from a prolonged, untreatable pain condition. He died alone, without anyone’s assistance, taking care to minimize the burden on the people he loved. His story reveals how much work still needs to be done to ensure that Canadians have fair alternatives in the face of unbearable suffering.

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An Old Story About This New Place

Canadian poet Richard Harrison’s mother chose a medically-assisted death on July 5, 2017. His essay on his experience with her that day, “It is to that Bedside that I go,” was published on CBC’s Ideas and the Dying With Dignity Canada blog. In this piece, Richard begins the search for the meaning of that experience in a connection between it and a familiar story from the past.

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Don’s journey: ‘This is Don Kent, signing off’

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

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Don’s journey: My fast-approaching end

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 six of Don's Journey.

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Don's journey: Another hospital visit

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 five of Don's Journey.

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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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