I don't mean to go on about this subject, but it's important, dammit. And it's come up yet again, this time recently on The Sunday Edition, CBC Radio's fine, informative program with Michael Enright. The headline reads:
"B.C. man is one of the first Canadians with dementia
to die with medical assistance."
Here's the quick back story. When Canada's medical assistance in dying (MAID) law was passed in 2016, there was a widespread assumption that it excluded people suffering from dementia (as my mother is now experiencing). Enter Mr. Gayle Garlock from Victoria: he decided to challenge this. He was successful and has become one of the first Canadians with dementia to receive MAID.
Hurray! We're getting somewhere. Not fast enough mind you, but I suppose we need to accept evolution, not revolution.
Because of Canada's backward customs and laws, many people who want out from this world are reduced to having to leave violently. That's just not right. Why do they have to blast their brains out with a gun, or jump off a balcony to splat on the pavement below, or throw a rope over a beam in order to die a slow, suffocating death by hanging, or languish by poisoning themselves in a carbon monoxide delirium in the garage? Surely our fellow man deserves a better exit from this world. We're not prisoners, after all.
But until we accept that not everyone who wishes to end their lives is mentally incompetent, we leave horrific life exits as the only way out (a fate that also results in family members or friends having to discover the bloody remains).
So, congrats to the late Mr. Garlock and his surviving wife Barbara (who wants his story told). Meanwhile, c'mon Canada, we're supposed to be an enlightened nation: we can do better.