My father chose MAiD to end his suffering. He spent years having doctors seemingly doing their best to improve his quality of life, but nothing ever worked. His body was failing him after decades of abuse. His doctor often said that he had been on borrowed time for quite a while. He knew what his future looked like, and he absolutely knew it was not one he wanted to live.
I was his primary caretaker for eight years. I championed his fight for MAiD for almost a year. My father was set free of his suffering in February of 2019 after a long and bumpy road. There is not a week that passes where I don’t count our lucky stars that he received MAiD before the pandemic hit, and that I was able to care for him in the way he needed, and that he had access to as much help as we were eligible to receive. But, it was never enough. Not even close.
I quickly learned where the gapping holes in the system were. It also didn’t take long for me to see how long and lonely this walk would be. I loved and love my father, but his disease made him mean. There were pleasant moments and moments I knew how much he loved and appreciated me, but any caretaker knows how challenging the role is. Coupled with verbal assaults, a system that often failed us, and a path not well trodden, it was truly an uphill battle.
Once our MAiD journey was complete, I knew I had to be involved in some way. I wasn’t quite sure how, but I was going to do everything in my power to support others on this path. I became a certified Thanadoula (death doula) and started volunteering with Bridge C-14, MAiDHouse and Bridge 4 You. A fire was lit inside of me. A strong resolve to help support and hopefully ease peoples trauma in this journey at every stage and in any way I could possibly help was born in me the day he died.
I miss my Dad. But, he is always with me. Whether he knew it or not, this work became his parting gift to me. Our MAiD journey set me on a path I never expected. I want people to know, they need not be alone. Bridge 4 You, and all of its volunteers, are a community of people that are here to support you.
I often wish they had been around when I needed them, but it is now a great honour to be a part of this family and to serve as best I can.