Have you ever had a friend that, without them in your life, your life simply would not be the same?
A friend whose unconditional love, wisdom, compassion, humour, kindness, along with the ability to be real at all times, is enough to make you weep with the kind of gratitude that goes far beyond words?
For me, that person is Judith Rockert. Judith and I have known each other for over 40 years!
Last month she called to tell me that the doctors told her she has a short time to live.
That was enough for me to fly the 3,000 miles from Victoria to Toronto to be with her.
What I didn’t know was that she has a death date. She has chosen M.A.I.D. (Medical Assistance in Dying).
On June 27, 2022, Judith will take her last breath. It’s hard to wrap my head, and especially my heart, around this.
Here is our interview, recorded on June 12, 2022:
This is my first experience with someone who has chosen assisted dying, and what is remarkable to me is that if you were to meet Judith, or even talk to her on the telephone, she is one of the most positive, upbeat, incredibly optimistic people you would ever meet.
She told me, “Junie, I’m not afraid of dying. I’m going onto my next adventure.
I’m afraid of living in a body that is rapidly breaking down, and — God forbid — it would be up to my family to have to take care of me.”
Judith and I speak often, and every time, she is the one who uplifts me! I ask her, “Judith, how are you today?”
Without a moment’s hesitation she replies, “I am in escalating bliss!”
Then she’ll go on to tell me about her day and who came to see her and the incredible gift she has been given to have such rich visits and conversations that are straight from the heart with the people she loves and who love her.
I know all about that. We have had so many of those precious exchanges. And whenever my mental health challenges reared their ugly head, Judith was my champion, my lifeline.
Judith knows a lot about that. Her beautiful son, Mitch, who suffered with schizophrenia, took his life many years ago. You can read Judith’s story about Mitch on my blog.
Even with that — even with the unthinkable grief that a parent endures in the face of losing their child, Judith chose LIFE.
She found ways to re-frame and re-write the story, focusing on the incredible gift of having Mitch in her life as long as she did — a man of great beauty, artistry, love, and kindness. Well, they say the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree!
One day, every one of us will be saying our final good-bye
LIFE IS PRECIOUS.
EVERY BREATH IS PRECIOUS.
Choose to live the best life you have, and let your love be your everlasting legacy.
These pictures are the tombstones of my mom and dad, Minnie and Jimmy Swadron, and my sister, Barbara Freedman. I was able to visit them at the cemetery during my trip to Toronto.
What I wouldn’t do to hug them today! Be sure to tell everyone you love that you love them while you can. And know that You Are Deeply Loved in Return.
We can choose how we are going to live our lives
Judith enthusiastically said “Yes” to this interview. She has the wisdom of the ages, and I know that this interview will inspire countless people with her legacy of love.
We can re-write the stories we are telling ourselves — even if it’s just before our last day on this earth.
None of us know how long we are going to live (unless we have chosen MAID, like Judith), so why don’t we just take the high road now and make our lives magnificent?
PS — If you did not see this interview with my beautiful fiancé David talking to my dear soul sister, Pat Sheveland, about the unexplainable gifts that came from beyond the veil after the death of his beloved daughter Cat, watch now and be inspired.