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MAID and the Death Doula

Updated: Sep 13, 2022

How many decisions do you think you make in a single day? When you really think of it, in a typical day for a typical human being, almost everything you do involves something that needs to be decided. Every decision has some sort of effect on you, and more often than not, on others as well. When the alarm you decided to set the night before goes off, and you decide to turn it off and go back to sleep, you will most likely face some sort of discipline from your boss because your workplace will be affected by your absence. Maybe a decision you make will affect you or others in a way not even realized. Or, depending on the decision, it could drastically affect others to their core for the remainder of their existence.

the hands of two people are shown holding hands, one appears to be an older white woman, but her face is not shown

When you hear the words, “there’s nothing left that we can do for you”, it is easy to think that you have no more decisions to make. It’s done. It’s over. That assumption cannot be more incorrect. Those words bring on a whole new world of decisions to make. And yes, some of those decisions are going to be tough ones, but they are not decisions you have to make alone. Some of those decisions are going to bring on wonderful memories, joy, happiness, love, and have the sweet ability to bring loved ones together.

MAiD stands for Medical Assistance in Dying, and it became legal in Canada in June of 2016. It always surprises me when I mention MAiD in conversation, and I hear “What is that?” When faced with an illness that cannot be cured, and the option of MAiD is considered, what follows are several other decisions and many questions. Do I want to end my life on my own terms? Do I get to decide when I die? Do I get to decide who will be there when I do? Do I get to decide where I will die? Do I get to decide where and to whom my possessions will go? Will my loved ones support me on this?

MAiD death doulas are trained to help facilitate conversations between the client and their loved ones that may otherwise be difficult or may not happen at all. They can work with clients to create legacy projects, plan a vigil, write letters to loved ones, help with funeral arrangements, assist with celebration of life decisions, and set the scene to create meaning from a life lived and what to leave behind for those they love.

What decisions would you make, should you have the chance? The truth is, nobody knows until you are there. The best part is you are not alone.

HHA's next virtual MAiD and the Death Doula workshop is on Saturday, September 10th from 9:00 AM-5:00 PM. You can register to attend here.


Lisa Bonneville is one of the facilitators for HHA’s Death Doula certification training weekend. She is also a bereavement counsellor, end of life doula, and dying and death educator with over a decade of experience in the field of death care.

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