Past Revelstoke resident, Jule Briese has penned a book reflecting on the first year of her husband Wayne’s Alzheimer’s diagnosis.
The Hot Chocolate and Decadent Cake Society is a mix of both prose and poetry advocating for those with dementia who have chosen medical assisted dying, as well as for emotional and spiritual nourishing of both patients and loved ones.
“Imagine a nurturing environment where tears, laughter, hugs, hot chocolate and even decadent cake are all part of the healing,” the book reads.
Briese and her husband lived in Revelstoke for 28 years. In 2008 they moved to Qualicum Beach.
“We decided it was time to go to snow instead of snow coming to us,” Briese said, although they come back once a year or so to visit.
Briese has called the book a memoir, though memoirs aren’t usually written when both parties are still living.
“We are kind of pioneers in that sense,” she said.
One of the goals is to address the misinformation that is out there about Medical Assistance in Dying.
“I am supporting his right to choose MAiD, Medical Assistance in Dying, when quality of life, as he defines it, has become painfully compromised,” Briese said.
Medical Assistance in Dying was legalized in June of 2016, but, according to Briese, and others, there are still some major gaps in the legislation that need to be addressed, including, advanced requests.
Briese’s husband wants to choose how and when his life ends, and Briese supports that decision. However, as the legislation stands right now, Wayne will have to give informed consent right at the very last minute and patients will Alzheimer’s that has progressed beyond a certain point are not legally able to give consent.
At the moment the Brieses are working with two doctors who are closely monitoring Wayne and looking at when the narrow window of informed consent might narrow.
“In his case it could be five years, it could be six, it would be 10, it could be three months from now, one never really knows with the progression of diseases,” Jule said.
For right now they are stopping to smell the roses and grateful for each day that they have together.
Briese’s book can be purchased for $15, five of which will be a donation to Dying With Dignity Canada, by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. The money will be donated to support the advocacy work of after the first 36 books have been sold.