Medical Assistance In Dying – The Striking Oddness of It

To be sure I have no moral judgment around choosing or not choosing MAID, it is a most personal and intimate family conversation that needs to be undertaken with the support of the medical system. The resulting choice is that individual’s and that family’s right to make.

Once the choice is made to proceed with MAID and the required medical processes have been completed and the day and time have been set then the unique responses to what has just been planned start to show up.

I was speaking with a care aide the other day; she had called asking for support regarding a client who had chosen MAID. The client’s end date had been set and the care aide had agreed to pick her up, have a final cup of tea and then proceed to the hospital to die with the support of the hospital staff and MAID.

The care aide was struggling with the clarity of it all.

“11:00am on Friday my client will be dead. I know that our last cup of tea will be our last cup of tea! It’s so weird to know this all before hand and I am not sure how to process it all.” She said.

In her statement lay the complications inherent with MAID. The best by date has been clearly established. We now know with clarity and certainty the remaining number days and hours we will have with our loved one. We will know when it is our last hug with certainty; we will know when it is our last night together with razor sharp clarity. In a very real way this clarity cuts through a lot of our perhaps silent wishing and hoping for a miracle that somehow they will live just a little longer.

It does however provide us with a very clear opportunity to fulfill our relationship with our loved one that chose MAID. With the certainty of a final day and time we can make conscious choices to have conversations and say a more full and complete good-bye than we could if the time and date of death we unclear. Our very human tendency to wish for the best for our loved one can often encourage our procrastination; our unwillingness to have those all-important end of life chats.

With a fixed date of death procrastination is no longer on the table. If we are willing we can arrange beautiful and graceful times with our family member that will allow us each to let go in a conscious and present way; a way that can fully honor our loving relationship.  Odd though it may feel it can be a blessing if we take the opportunity MAID offers to say good-bye consciously as opposed to waiting until it is too late.