Death is often seen as a morbid and somber event (understandably so), something that most people try to prevent or prolong. There's been a lot of media attention lately about the reforms to the medically assisted aid in dying (MAiD) policy we have here in Canada where they plan to expand the service to those with mental disorders as well. It's gained a lot of negative and controversial traction, many take the stance that the service shouldn't be expanded because individuals with mental disorders do not have the capacity to make a decision about ending their life. In opposition, others are advocating for the service to continue as it allows individuals to handle their death on their own terms, taking autonomy for any suffering they may be going through and would want to put a stop to.
It got me thinking about how little choice we have when it comes to death (how we want to die, what happens to us after) and how others (family members, healthcare providers, funeral industry etc.) have a much larger say in it than we do. I envision a world where we reframe our idea of death and all that comes after, and rather place greater importance on the autonomy of an individual when it comes to their choices for death care. Systems (such as the death care industry or the healthcare industry) shouldn't impose on an individual's choices when it comes to death, rather they should offer a variety of options so the individual can make the call themselves. This should occur at the beginning of the process where they can choose to access MAiD if they wish (as it is currently very inaccessible), but also provide options for after. Such as whether they want to be buried or cremated, but also offering various ecologically friendly ways of cremation (aquamation, etc.). Having multiple options for death and death care can transform the way we approach it, it will provide autonomy and also allow an individual to implement values they hold true, to their last breath.