Assisted dying activist remembered
Hundreds of people gathered Friday afternoon to remember a terminally ill Halifax woman whose fight to loosen assisted dying laws captured national attention as she dispensed wisdom about life from the “bed of truth’’ where she spent her last days.
A “celebration of life’’ was held for Audrey Parker at Pier 21 on the city’s waterfront, with more than 300 people in attendance to pay their respects to the charismatic make-up artist.
The gathering at the hall overlooking the harbour included family members, friends and people from the general public who’d been touched by her struggle.
Her circle of close female friends in attendance ranged from the Nova Scotia premier’s principal secretary, the president of Credit Union Atlantic and nationally known broadcasters.
Many had sat around what Parker referred to as her “bed of truth,’’ where she dispensed advice during her final months, instructing visitors on everything from how to use cutlery through essentials on how to choose a suitable mate.
Her step-daughter Lucie MacMaster said times spent with her were precious, recalling how her children would often hop into bed to play cards with Parker during her illness.
“I really wish we had her with us this Christmas, but there we go,’’ said MacMaster.
Kim King, 51, a close friend of Parker’s who was with her as she was dying, was one of the honorary pallbearers who carried a candle up to the front of the Pier 21 hall where the ceremony was held.
“People are inspired by her thoughts about living your best life to the end,’’ she said in an interview.
Every detail of the gathering was planned by Parker, said master of ceremonies Nancy Regan, recalling how they talked about it over champagne and chocolate-dipped strawberries at a meeting at Pier 21.
“I know she has a huge smile on her face right now about the gorgeous women who showed up today,’’ said Regan. “Everything about Audrey was swirling perfection.’’
Parker ended her life with a doctor’s assistance on Nov. 1, but said under amended legislation she might have lived for weeks longer.