Chapter 4: What’s different about grief after MAiD?

Conflicting feelings

What the palliative care & MAID provider says
Dr. Buchman explains how people can have different emotions and feelings when their loved one has chosen MAID.(3:22)Video transcript
Dr. Wiebe speaks about how familes may not agree with MAID but that they respect their loved one's wishes.(3:22)Video transcript
I've been there
Melody speaks about some of the conflicting feelings she had about MAID and about supporting her sister choice.(3:22)Video transcript
Micha explains that Valerie was very clear about what she wanted(3:22)Video transcript
What the grief expert says
Fred speaks about MAID as an option and what it's like for individuals and their families.(3:22)Video transcript

One minute I was relieved she did not have a prolonged death, but the next minute I was angry at her because she chose to leave me earlier. And then I was just paralyzed with intense sadness, followed by a sense of peace. And then the cycle started all over again.

You may be experiencing a roller coaster of emotions, which is normal and expected. You may find yourself feeling guilty for having a sense of relief that the person’s suffering is over. You might have supported the person’s decision, while also wishing for more time with them. Taking comfort in knowing that their suffering has ended does not mean that you are glad the person died.

Click on the following box for additional thoughts and emotions:

Comforting Thoughts/EmotionsConflicting Thoughts/Emotions

Comforted knowing they are no longer suffering

Supportive of their “last wish”

Gratitude for having witnessed their peaceful death

Grateful they died on their own terms

Questioning or disagreeing with the decision

Regret about things left undone or unsaid

Sense of guilt about feelings of relief

Wanting more time with the person


What may help

Recognizing and acknowledging your thoughts and feelings, even if they are conflicting, can be the first steps toward moving through your grief. Try not to judge yourself for how you are feeling.

Some people have found it helpful to talk with a trusted friend or family member, or to join a support group for those who are grieving after a MAiD death. Others choose to write thoughts and feelings down, even if they are kept private. Some people have found it more helpful to focus on tasks. Sometimes it’s both.

It’s normal and healthy to move toward your grief sometimes, and to take a break from it at other times.