How to Grieve Someone Who Has Chosen Medical Assistance in Dying (MAID)
“Mankind’s greatest gift, also its greatest curse, is that we have free choice. We can make our choices built form love or from fear.” ~Elisabeth Kubler-Ross
If someone we know and love has chosen Medical Assistance in Dying (MAID) to end their pain and suffering there is no simple answer on how to grieve the loss, it’s just complicated.
It’s complicated because medical assistance in dying goes against what we have always believed to be the natural order of dying. It questions our beliefs and morality. In our minds and our hearts, it ranks up there with suicide, murder, and freak accidents. “Death isn’t supposed to happen this way,” will echo within every fiber of our being. We have not been raised in a culture that has subscribed to MAID until now, animals being the exception. This is all new to us, and like it or not most likely here to stay.
So, the question becomes how do we deal with it? How do we get on with the process of grieving and mourning our loss in the midst of all this confusion and complication?
First, we need to find acceptance. We need to accept every individual’s personal freedom of choice. We need to accept that not everyone is going to make the same choice we would make, and at the same time let go of the notion or belief that we would chose any differently if we were facing the same pain and suffering. Only until we have truly walked in another person’s shoes can we rightfully say we would choose differently. Even if that was the truth and the case for us, we still must honor and accept other people’s choices for themselves. This is what unconditional love is all about, the path of true compassion, love and peace.
Second, we need to let go of attachment to our beliefs. If our beliefs will not let us accept then we will not be able to fully grieve the loss and will only harbor anger, resentment and pain. We can maintain our beliefs if we so choose, but not attaching to them as being right and others wrong will help us to release any feelings that impede our ability to let go, fully grieve and forgive if necessary for our healing.
This is not the time for self-righteous judgment if we want to successfully navigate our grieving, find peace and heal our hearts. The two cannot co-exist. We either chose fear or we chose love, our healing rests in choosing love.
Medical assistance in dying offers us, if we do choose to accept and let go, the opportunity to make peace with our loved one. Sharing sentiments never spoken, or feelings never expressed. It is a chance to say a peace filled, heartfelt good-bye, giving the gift of compassion through unconditional love to them and to ourselves.