Dear Barb—Dying with Dignity

Dear Barb:

My mother is 56 years old and was diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer. She was given approximately one year to live. She was completely devastated, as was our whole family. My aunt died three years ago from the same thing and it was an awful and painful death for her. Mom doesn’t want to suffer the same fate and we do not want to watch her endure the same slow painful death as her sister. So Mom talked to her doctor about her options. He mentioned MAID – Medical Assistance in Dying. Mom is pretty sure this is what she wants to do and she wants all of us to support her decision.  My dad and siblings would like more information before making a decision such as this. I would like to talk to others who have chosen this route and how they feel about their decision afterwards, if there were any regrets. Would you be able to provide more information about MAID and maybe some of your readers can share their experience. It is a very big decision and my family would like to consider all options. Thanks, Kate.

Hi Kate:

This is such a hard thing to go through; my deepest condolences to your family and you definitely need to consider all your options before making decision such as this one. I hope the following information will be helpful and if any readers write in, I will definitely include their letters in future columns.

MAID (Medical Assistance in Dying is a way of providing an option for many to end the pain and suffering of a life that has become devastatingly hopeless. There are many stipulations and you need to do some research to make sure you understand what they are.  The Dying With Dignity website has a page where you can read up on the laws around MAID.

I think what you are looking for is support and through the following sources you should be able to find what you are looking for by calling 1-844-395-3640 or emailing to contact their personal support program

They also have a story where a family shares their journey to help their mother to end her pain and suffering, you may find it helpful

It is important that as a family you are all on the same page, and all want what your mother wants, but ultimately it is your mother’s decision. Your mother is fortunate to have such a loving caring family. Thanks for your letter Kate.

Email your questions to Some submissions may be edited for length or to protect confidentiality; your real name and location will never be printed. This column is for entertainment only. The author is not a professional counsellor and this column is not intended to take the place of professional advice.