Thousands sharing, commenting on Audrey Parker’s final public words


HALIFAX—On her final day alive, Audrey Parker shared a stirring message online about the right to a medically assisted death, and her post is receiving support from thousands.

The 57-year-old Halifax woman died at her home on Nov. 1 after a lethal injection — a choice that was made possible by a two-year-old Canadian law that allows adults to request medical assistance to die.

Audrey Parker, who died on Thursday, said before passing away that she was forced to die early due to the current assisted dying laws in Canada.
Audrey Parker, who died on Thursday, said before passing away that she was forced to die early due to the current assisted dying laws in Canada.  (Andrew Vaughan / The Canadian Press)

Hours before her death, Parker said in a Facebook post that she loved her life and had no regrets, but still wished she could have lived until Christmas. She said she was forced to die sooner than she wanted because of “a poorly thought out federal law.”

As of Friday morning, the post had been shared more than 4,000 times, was approaching 5,000 reactions, and had almost 2,000 comments.

“Peace be with you and thank you for the courage to post your thoughts,” wrote Facebook user Glynis Humber.

“I will share this and I fully believe you should be able to go when you want…the late stage clause has to be removed,” Frances Power-Stone commented.

Parker was diagnosed with Stage 4 breast cancer in 2016, which eventually spread to her bones, causing her excruciating pain, and to her brain lining, which made her worry that she would eventually lose her lucidity.

Her final request was for the public to maintain pressure on legislators to amend the medical assistance in dying (MAID) law.

“In the spirit of teaching and sharing, I’d like to leave you with some words that explain my position with MAID. You can copy and paste them into an email or text them to your MP asking for Ottawa to amend and remove late stage consent on MAID candidates in Audrey Parker’s category of Assessed and Approved MAID users,” she wrote.

The law stipulates that people who want to die must be able to give late-stage consent. In other words, they must reassure the doctor of their choice immediately before going through with it.

Parker said that stipulation cut her life short.

“As I near my death today, it is even more evident than ever before, that late stage consent has got to be amended and removed from MAID in Canada for my category of end users,” she said in the post.

“Dying is a messy business. I can’t predict when cancer will move into my brain matter or when something else big happens to make me more unwell. I and only I can make that decision for myself.”

Parker’s friends and family will host a public celebration of life at Pier 21 in Halifax on Nov. 9 at 2 p.m.

Taryn Grant is a Halifax-based reporter focusing on education. Follow her on Twitter: @tarynalgrant


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