Quebec author’s wife reflects on his decision for medically-assisted dying

Quebec author and educator Simon Roy woke up with a smile on October 15, 2022.

He was ready to die.

After a Chinese meal with his wife, Marianne Marquis-Gravel, and a glass of wine he was no longer able to enjoy due to chemotherapy for brain cancer, Roy heard Lou Reed’s “Perfect Day” and began the medical euthanasia (MAiD) process. .

With his wife and two children by his side, Simon Roy breathed his last.

“I was on his heart, so I heard his heart stop beating,” Marquis-Gravel told CTV News three days after Roy’s death. “It was a beautiful way of dying for him.”


Marquis-Gravel said the MAiD process was the perfect way for her partner to die and she has no regrets about the process.

Roy received the devastating diagnosis around 20 months ago and the family watched as he endured the painful and very real effects of the disease.

Last year, Roy was hospitalized after suffering an epileptic crisis.

Marquis-Gravel said he became paranoid, lost the ability to speak and walk, and became angry and frustrated with the family. It was at this point that the writer and teacher began to consider medically assisted euthanasia.

“When he came back, he came back as himself, [and] He didn’t want to die like that,” she said. “He didn’t want to die without a language, without being himself, so he decided to prepare all the things beforehand.”

She said the family was lucky as they made the decision early and have said and done whatever they wanted to do together over the past 20 months as the illness took its toll on the man they knew.

“I wanted that for him because he hasn’t been happy the past few weeks,” Marquis-Gravel said. “I could see that he didn’t want to live. I understood his decision, respected his decision because I saw him suffer.”


She said he has never regretted the decision to end his life with help.

“It wasn’t a life for him,” Marquis-Gravel said. “Once he made the decision, he never looked back; he was very ready. In the morning he woke up smiling because that’s what he wanted.”

Roy posted a message about his diagnosis on his Facebook page and left a final note on Oct. 12 listing the books his wife read to him for four hours a day throughout the summer.

“Maybe that’s what kept me alive and on my toes until now,” he wrote.

Roy wanted to survive for two final events.

He wanted to celebrate his wife’s birthday on October 13 and the publication of her book, Dans la lumière de notre ignorance, before saying goodbye.

She said the couple went to Quebec City two days before his death for a final vacation on her birthday. She could see her husband struggling, but she also saw that he would never give up on making those around him happy.

“I knew he was suffering for me to give me this moment,” she said. “He was someone very, very generous. The most generous person I’ve met in my life.”

Simon Roy celebrated his wife Marianne Marquis-Gravel’s birthday two days before choosing a medically-assisted death. SOURCE: Marianne Marquis-Kies.


Marquis-Gravel knows that if Roy had waited, it would likely fall to the spouse to decide when to remove life support.

She said letting Roy make the decision gives the family peace.

“When you suffer, you know when you’re ready, it’s a process,” she said. “People who have asked for medical euthanasia are happy with the decision. I didn’t want to make the decision for Simon. I’m glad he made the decision.”

A recent positive COVID-19 test means Marquis-Gravel has been exceptionally alone while silently reminiscing about her husband. She said it was hard but peaceful to reflect on the man he was.

She said he was a “project guy” who “couldn’t wake up in the morning without doing something.” His books even caught the attention of Premier Francois Legault, who promoted his Fait Par Un Autre in one of the Premier’s book club picks.

In the end, she said, he remained the amazing person he always was.

“The last day of his life he was a teacher,” said Marquis-Gravel. “He taught us how to die, but also how to live.”

Marianne Marquis-Gravel and Simon Roy have shared many moments together, including the last one on October 15, 2022 when he received medical attention while dying. SOURCE: Marianne Marquis-Kies

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