The Brickendens had been married for 73 years. He was now 95 and she was 94 old. Mr. Brickenden was the co-founder of an insurance company and an accomplished show jumper whose family bred horses.
Mrs. Brickenden was a renowned artist whose water colours and acrylics were sold through Montreal galleries and the Art Gallery of Ontario. The Brickendens are at the vanguard of patients and families who are creating new rituals around dying in Canada. They were one of the few couples in Canada who received a doctor-assisted death together. It was on March 27 in a Toronto retirement home.Their children, who watched from the foot of the bed, say the couple drew their last breaths at almost the same moment. George and Shirley Brickenden met during 1944 Christmas in Halifax. He was in the Navy and she was in the Air Force. They had four children: Pamela, now 71, Dal, now 69, Saxe, now 60 and Angela, now 54.
The Brickendens at their marriage
A few days before death he couple sustained an interview to explain what it meant to them to die at a time and place of their choosing, as at least 2,149 Canadians and likely hundreds more have done since assisted dying became legal in this country. When the federal government, in response to a Supreme Court of Canada decision, passed a law in June, 2016, that permitted medically assisted dying for people who were suffering intolerably from a grievous and irremediable condition and whose deaths were reasonably foreseeable, the Brickendens decided to find out if they qualified. Mrs. Brickenden’s body was wracked by rheumatoid arthritis. Her heart was failing and suffered an attack in 2016. On the other part, Mr. Brickenden began fainting. He passed out repeatedly; his daughter found him unconscious in the bathroom on the day of his 95th birthday. His heart was faltering. And that was all: their assisted death was approved. A family reunion took place before the scheduled death. They told their children that they did not want to linger if their health eventually failed. They met all the criteri a. And at the announced time, they died together.