This blog is the story of a beautiful soul. Her name was Diana, married to a gentleman named Dan. Diana was a yogini who followed a spiritual path of mindfulness and generosity. She made life enchanting and beautiful - not only for herself but for the people around her.
For over fifty years, Diana’s practice of Yoga went far beyond the physical postures. She lived by the ethical guidelines contained in the Yamas (social restraints) and Niyamas (self-disciplines) of Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras. This was a collection of 196 yogic theories and practices compiled before 400 AD.
When she was certified as a Yoga Teacher, Diana was given the Sanskrit name “Savita.” Translated it means “a river without boundaries.” To the people that worked with her, she was a free-flowing river. She was certified in many forms of Hatha Yoga, having studied directly with most of the Gurus, who came to North America from India in the ’50s and ’60s. Diana founded FOREVER YOUNG YOGA; yoga for beginners, boomers & bodies that don’t bend. She was recognized by Yoga Alliance as a teacher who achieved the highest designation. Diana was qualified to train other teachers and authorized to conduct continuing education courses.
In 2012 Diana was diagnosed with Colorectal Cancer. After two surgeries, extensive radiation therapy, and multiple courses of chemotherapy, she was briefly diagnosed as cancer-free. Early in 2017, she learned that cancer had returned and that she should make her final preparations. Diana understood that we are all visitors to this time and place. We are just passing through and our purpose on this journey is to observe, to learn, to grow, and to love.
She wanted to be conscious until the last moment, to be surrounded by family and friends, to be free from pain, and to reduce the burden for her loved ones. She believed she could only achieve this at home. So she enrolled in the Daycare program at the local Hospice, was introduced to a loving HHA Doula, and with the support of her Primary Care Doctor, made an application for Medical Assistance in Dying (MAiD). Her application was approved in late November 2017 and all that remained for MAiD was for her to set the date.
The family came for the Holidays and feasted at a local hotel as their last Christmas dinner together. Then in February of 2018, Diana started growing weak and her condition deteriorated.
The love, laughter, beautiful energy, tears, and hugs began early on March 17. The Doctor came at 6:00 pm and by 6:30 pm, Diana was at peace.
Dan, who loved his wife unconditionally decided to create a Diana Pathway, which is not only a loving gift to an extraordinary woman but also the next step for Death Doulas to deliver end-of-life care to people of Canada without judgment.
Diana Pathway initiative is a belief that people at the end of their lives deserve compassionate care without judgment. To build such individuals or Death Doulas, Home Hospice Association created the Diana Pathway Workshop.
With Dan as Chair of the Diana Pathway Pilot Program, the workshop brings transformation in the Death Doulas’ community by enhancing the support they can extend to their clients who are seeking or accessing medical assistance in dying (MAiD). This workshop is part of Diana’s legacy of inspiration, strength, and courage she has shown to choose her path for leaving this world.
Diana Pathway Workshop was created to build on a Death Doula's knowledge and skills. It provides insights into the challenges of working with a client who chooses MAiD over a natural death. It teaches them how to help with legacy, death planning, vigils, and grief support. Specific care before, during, and after the provision will also be touched upon during the sessions.
Dan, along with Home Hospice Association, has plans to take this program beyond Death Doulas soon, giving access to people who would like to support their loved ones or society by being a caregiver during the most difficult phase of life.
Indeed, there is no real ending; death is just where the story takes a new turn. Dan has decided not to give a full stop to Diana's beautiful tale of Diana and instead empower Canadians to support MAiD. His wife's story has a new chapter with the Diana Pathway Workshop.