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

If others didn’t agree with MAiD

I've been there
Don explains how MAID was Jean's personal decision and choice.(3:22)Video transcript
What the grief expert says
Fred speaks about how there can be judgement or disagreement within families about a person's decision for MAID.(3:22)Video transcript
Tara speaks about supporting children when they may not agree with their loved one's decision for MAID.(3:22)Video transcript

Everyone was supportive except one couple who’d been our best friends for decades. They shunned me after his death. They thought he had committed a mortal sin. We did everything together, and to have them turn on me after he died was brutal.

We went to his family doc, who spent literally two and a half hours, with a waiting room full of people, trying to convince him not to do it. I felt like he wasn’t supported or heard. She didn’t understand or get it.

I was sure that many people in our church would not approve of my husband’s decision, so I stayed away for a while. However, our pastor and his wife were so supportive of me and the girls — they came to see us and prayed with us. Eventually, I was able to go back.

Choosing to have a medically assisted death is a highly personal decision. Not everyone may understand or support this decision for various reasons. You may find that there are people who have strong feelings or are judgmental about medically assisted death. Even if you have been good friends in the past, you may find their comments and opinions upsetting.

Some faiths officially oppose MAiD, while many spiritual leaders and members of faith communities believe in the right to lawfully choose a medically assisted death.

Click on the arrows for some reasons people may not agree with medical assistance in dying:

You may find it difficult to talk about their medically assisted death openly because you wonder things like, “Who will be okay with this and who will not?” or “Who can I tell and feel safe?” You may already have some idea of who may or may not be supportive. 

What may help

Consider spending less time with people who aren’t supportive of MAiD.  It’s important to honour what feels right to you at this time.

It’s okay to agree to disagree. Even if you find you can’t talk to certain people about the medically assisted death, they may still be able to, and want to, support you.

You may find solace in your faith, customs, and practices while grieving. However, if you fear judgment from your faith community and are reluctant to turn to it for support, a spiritual care specialist may be helpful. Ask your healthcare provider for a referral.