Family members said that PEI couples who died using medical assistance “go out on their own terms”
Last week’s obituary may have caught some people’s attention: Bob Wilson, 71, and his wife Maggie, 73, died on the same day at Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Charlottetown on May 25.
They planned it this way.
“They went out according to their wishes,” said their son Scott Wilson, sitting in the sunny kitchen in Cumberland, next to his sister Nicole Hogan, overlooking the sparkling Northumberland. Strait.
The doctor told the Wilsons’ three children that they would be the first couple in PEI to use MAID at the same time.
Although their parents dealt with their deaths privately, Scott and Nicole agreed to discuss the matter with CBC News to celebrate their parents’ bravery and try to reduce any stigma against MAID.
‘Love each other very much’
Bob and Maggie Wilson are lifelong partners, “love each other for a lifetime,” Scott said. They met at the Prince of Wales College (now Dutch College) in Charlottetown and married 50 years ago.
Scott said: “This lovely, beautiful couple is very in love… they lead a very good life.” They never separated.
Bob is a strong and happy man, first working with his mother and then Maggie working in their real estate business. After Bob retired, the couple came to Nicole and her family.
Margi works in his company with her husband, but has been suffering from multiple sclerosis for the past 30 years. At first, she was in a wheelchair, but when her grandson was born, she united and became very active, even running a few half marathons.
In August 2019, Bob was diagnosed with stage 4 kidney cancer, which has spread to the lungs.
Bob is determined to fight it and stick to it for as long as possible. He tried many different therapies. In fact, when Margi’s multiple sclerosis suddenly broke out in February this year and she was taken to the hospital, he actually got some positive news that his cancer had stopped growing. She didn’t go home after that.
Take care of each other
The couple have been trying to take care of each other, but they have become weak. Due to Bob’s illness, they could not spend the winter in Alabama for the past two years. The warm climate made Maggie feel much better.
In the hospital, Maggie continued to go downhill. She didn’t want to eat or drink too much, and her weight plummeted. In mid-March, Margi told her family that she was ready to die and would do so naturally-if the time is right, they should not try to resurrect her.
“She was just tired of being sick and tired,” Scott said. “I was told,’I don’t want to live anymore, because my life is too miserable. This is a big shock.'”
The family decides that they need to support the mother’s decision.
“Personally you may not like this decision, but for us, it is selfish that you don’t want them to leave,” Scott said.
“It’s not about us anymore,” Nicole said.
They said their father was also shocked.
“I just remember seeing his face. When he heard the news, his heart—it broke,” Scott said. “The love of his life is giving up.”
“He wants to go with his lover”
In the hospital, Nicole heard about MAID while his family was talking about options including nursing. She told her mother about it.
“We are definitely a family that is always paying attention. What are all our choices? Let’s explore all our choices,” Nicole said.
Maggie told her family that she wanted to choose to assist in the death. If Bob also decides to choose to assist in the death, he gets all the assessments he needs, but he doesn’t make a decision until May 7.
He became weaker and weaker, unable to stand still, and had no appetite. His pain is unbearable. He decides that he and Maggie will make them their last milestone as a couple: to assist in death together.
As they do in life, they will complete this last step together.— Scott Wilson
“He wants to go with his lover,” Scott said. “The pain of not going with her will break his heart.”
The bed next to Margi is available, so it becomes Bob’s. Scott and Nicolle’s brother Tony was allowed to travel to PEI from his home in Brooklyn, New York, because he was out of compassion.
Scott and Nicole said that doctors often check the couple’s condition to make sure they haven’t changed their minds.
In the past few weeks, grandchildren gathered in their grandparents’ room to accompany them, make handicrafts and play music. They recalled the happy time spent together by this close family. Said nothing.
“It’s bittersweet,” Scott said of the scene.
“I was joking with my mother, I said this is Romeo and Juliet, almost poison-free,” Scott said. “We use humor as a coping mechanism in the family. In a sense, I was relieved to make a decision because it was very ups and downs.”
Watch the clock
Maggie lost consciousness a few days ago, and her family believed that she might die naturally before the agreed date. They watched around the clock, and during the week before their death, one or more of the three children stayed in the room with Bob and Maggie.
Nicole and Tony didn’t fall asleep for most of the time on May 24. They looked at the clock and counted down the time they left with their parents until the early hours of the next morning. “We only have our own thoughts and emotions,” she said.
At 7 o’clock in the morning on May 25, the doctor entered the room for a final check-up. They took the family to another room away from their parents and briefed them on the procedure.
Although Maggie could not agree verbally, The latest changes in the assisted death law Make it possible for the doctor to realize her wish. Bob told the doctor that he also wanted to stick to it.
“He promised that, as they did in life, they will complete the last step together,” Scott said. “They are all terminals-not out of the predicament.”
They pushed the couple’s bed together so they could get close together.
Nicole took her father’s hand and they said “I love you” to each other.
First, the doctor gave the couple an injection that would make them fall asleep. After Bob snore calmly, the doctor gave them a series of further injections in about 10 minutes.
They died together, very peaceful.
“You can see the weight of all the pain, the pain is gone,” Scott said.
‘I am so proud of my parents’
Nicole said she wants people who are terminally ill to realize that “choices do exist” and that they should be informed about all the options available.
She said: “If you want, please know that this option is available.” “My message is-really pay attention to the quality of life, remember those happy times, think about what is to you personally rather than to others around you That is correct.
“There should be no judgment,” she added.
Scott said he wanted to share the journey of his parents because he was so proud of them.
“I am proud of my parents and the difficult decisions they have to make-it takes a lot of courage,” he said.
The family is still in mourning and said they will have to adapt to all the “firsts” without parents.
Nicole’s house is very quiet, there are no Bob and Maggie downstairs. She held tightly the crocheted heart her father had held when he died.
“I sometimes sleep with it,” she said. “It’s comfort.”