On Nov. 1, Audrey Parker, a 57-year-old Halifax resident whose stage VI breast cancer has ravenously spread to her bones and brain, died peacefully on her king-sized bed by lethal injection. It was after a decadent breakfast of lobster eggs in her modern high-rise kitchen, surrounded by friends and loved ones.
Ms. Parker experienced a good death she entitled under Canada’s assistant-suicide law, and her experience stood a sharp contrast with a friend of mine in China who also succumbed to terminal cancer at middle age. My friend left the world abruptly and quietly, without having a chance to say goodbye to her family members including her five-year-old son.
A good death is a valuable experience and a part of quality life. For terminally ill patients, nothing could offer them with more peace, comfort, and dignity than a privilege of dying on their terms. Euthanasia was a light at the end of the tunnel after a prolonged and painful battle with the illness. That is why many terminal ill patients passionately sought doctor-assisted suicide as they close the last chapter of life.
In 2014, before Canada passed physician-assisted suicide law, Edward Hung, a well-known Chinese Canadian lawyer in Toronto traveled to Switzerland for help ending his life, after suffering from incurable ALS. The assisted suicide would allow him to “rest in peace, with no pain, no regrets and with the comfort of approaching death with a purpose.”
加拿大在两年前通过了医疗辅助死亡法规，但其严厉而苛刻限制条款打破了许多人的死亡之梦。今年初， 90岁的Donna Mae Hill因不满足这些条款而不得不步洪秉正律师之后尘而前往瑞士寻求安乐死。Hill曾因饱受精神疾病折磨而在其安省家中多次自杀未遂。
Canada passed a law on medical assistance in dying two years ago, but its stringent and restrictive criteria killed death dreams of many. Early this year, a widow and 90-year-old Donna Mae Hill who failed to meet the requirements of the law, sought her death through her end of life journey to Switzerland, after her mental illness prompted several unsuccessful suicide attempts at her Ontario home.
For Hill, the suicide tourism was an ultimate dream come true as she ended her life on her terms – in the accompany of her 65-year-old, college-professor son, who sang Lullaby enthusiastically at her deathbed and held her hand tightly till her last breath. It was a beautiful, peaceful and inspiring death journey, bringing both sad tears and happiness to Hill and her loved ones.
However, euthanasia is prohibitive to many people around the world. In China, assisted suicide is a foreign concept and seemingly against Chinese tradition and values. The current Chinese law does not permit it, and euthanasia is a criminal offense in China.
“If the general public can accept euthanasia, it is an advancement of both society and morality,” said scholar Ma Xuesong of the Jiangxi Academy of Social Sciences. Although euthanasia was legally allowed in its neighboring country India, Chinese legislators, after a decade-long debate, are reluctant to pass doctor-assisted death law, depleting the right of many terminally ill patients to approach their end of life journey with dignity and control.
“All I wanted to do was have a fabulous end-of-life experience on my terms,” said Ms. Parker who wanted her life to end before her mental capacity deteriorated by cancer in her brain, “Life just worked out for me. Everything went my way. It really did. So I want my death to go my way too.
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