A terminally ill Halifax woman ended her life Thursday with medical assistance, after issuing a final deathbed plea asking lawmakers to change Canada’s assisted dying law.
Audrey Parker was given a lethal injection and “died peacefully” in her Halifax apartment, surrounded by close friends and family, friends said in a news release late Thursday afternoon.
“Her death was the beautiful, end of life experience she wanted,” they said.
While the two-year-old law allowed her to end her prolonged suffering, the 57-year-old former image consultant issued a statement earlier in the day, saying the legislation had forced her to choose to die sooner than she would have liked.
“I wanted to make it to Christmas and New Year’s Eve, my favourite time of the year, but I lost that opportunity because of a poorly thought-out federal law,” she wrote in a Facebook post.
But Parker said she loved her life and had no regrets.
“I feel like I’m leaving as my best self and I’m ready to see what happens when I die today,” she wrote. “The one thing I’m happiest about, is that I finally found ‘my people’ during my lifetime. I’ve even met new people that I already adore near the end of my journey so it’s never too late for anything in life.”
Parker stressed that the law had to be changed because anyone approved for a medically assisted death must be conscious and mentally sound at the moment they grant their final consent for a lethal injection — a provision in the law called “late-stage consent.”
The provision was included to protect vulnerable people.
However, Parker said she would have been denied her wish to end her life with medical assistance if she had become incapacitated by her advanced illness or the pain medication she is taking.
“Dying is a messy business,” she wrote. “I can’t predict when cancer will move into my brain matter or when something else big happens to make me more unwell.”