“I’d like to go out quietly”: TikToker documents Canadian grandma’s journey with MAiD (VIDEOS)
A little over a month ago, Ali Cutler learned that her grandma, who she lovingly calls “Bubbie,” had stage four cancer.
She also learned that Bubbie’s mind had been made up for quite some time about what would happen next.
While there are treatments for this severe stage of the disease, depending on the type of cancer, the patient’s age and overall health, the survival rates can be low.
So, her grandma had chosen to get medical assistance in dying, also known as MAiD.
“She had decided that if her end was going to be difficult that this was what she was going to choose,” Cutler told Daily Hive over the phone.
“For her, I guess it’s been a long process of knowing that’s what she wants to do, and for us, a relatively shorter period of wrapping our minds around [it], and getting into the mindset of supporting her in whatever decision she made.”
The Texas-based model decided to document Bubbie’s choice to do MAiD on TikTok while she was visiting her in Canada last week.
Little did she know that her post would garner over 12 million views and thousands of reactions.
“My intention was to post this amazing badass woman who was dying well,” explained Cutler. “There’s no example out there…of someone talking about this in such a clear way that is inspiring and beautiful.”
The TikToker’s first viral post shows her and Bubbie getting ready for what she says is “the last time” she can take her out to dinner.
“I have so many emotions right now but all im focused on is making this the most memorable week for her,” reads the caption.
@alitatecutler I have so many emotions right now but all im focused on is making this the most memorable week for her #euthanasia #ondying #lastsupper #finalfarewell #grandma ♬ multiverse – Maya Manuela
In 2016, the federal government passed legislation that allows eligible Canadians like Cutler’s grandma, who lives in BC, to request MAiD.
The procedure has been the topic of heated debates for years, as eligibility expands to those with mental illnesses and disabilities.
Unsurprisingly, the debate spilled into Cutler’s social media comments.
She says a lot of the criticism she received was from two factions — people who think MAiD is unethical, and people who are judging her for posting about her grandma online.
“Why would you publicize this? So wrong,” reads one comment. Many have also sounded off on Twitter with similar sentiments.
“I was like, ‘Hold on, we can post fashion tutorials, and makeup tutorials, and get ready with me’s, but when we talk about death now that’s not okay? Even though this is an experience that everyone on earth will have?'” said Cutler in response to the critics.
She added that others were questioning why she was smiling in the video.
“That’s how grief works. Grief isn’t like you’re going to be crying continuously for a week,” she said. “You’re going to be moving through the different stages of celebration of this person and acknowledgement of this person, and it doesn’t look like how it looks in the movies.”
But with all of the criticism also came reactions from people who resonated with her and her grandma’s story.
Another TikTok that went viral is one of Bubbie answering questions about MAiD.
In the video, Cutler asks Bubbie what her thoughts were as she moves closer to the date —the questions medical professionals ask to make sure she’s using MAiD for the right reasons — if she wants to do it at home or the hospital, and if she’s nervous or excited.
“I came in quietly, I’d like to go out quietly,” said Bubbie. “I’ve always made my own decisions for myself in living, I trust I will in death.”
@alitatecutler Replying to @Matthew This was the hardest and most beautiful conversation ive ever had. Healing for both parties. I had resistance to Euthanasia before this, but after being with her and hearing her, I no longer do. ❤️ #euthanasia #finalfarewell #ondying ♬ multiverse – Maya Manuela
Many replied to the TikTok with well wishes and support.
“Hospice aide here. This needs to be legal in every state. I’ve believed this for so many years. ❤️,” commented one person.
“‘I came in quietly and I’d like to go out quietly’… I love this and I wish my grandmother had this option we both suffered for a long time🥰❤️🙏,” added another.
One commenter who said they’re also a terminal cancer patient said they appreciate this is something that’s available for Bubbie.
Cutler was overwhelmed by these reactions, saying that for the first time in a long time, social media felt like a community to her.
“It had me tearing up like the whole time because they were just saying all the things that I felt and then there were more people who were writing in about their loved ones who were going to go in a painful way and they wish this had been an option,” she said.
The TikToker says she received thousands of those stories and is thankful that people trust her with them.
As for Bubbie’s reaction to her social media stardom, Cutler says she’s decided to stay at arm’s length from all of the chatter, saying, “I don’t really need to know. I don’t want to know.”
Bubbie hasn’t chosen the date for when she plans to receive MAiD. Cutler says it’s difficult for her to travel to BC because she has a baby, so her recent visit could be the last time she spent time with her grandma in person.
Throughout this experience, Cutler has come to a strong conclusion about body sovereignty.
“What’s important here is that people have the choice to make their own decisions about their body.”