Woman's Heartfelt Documentation Of Her Grandmother's Final Days Sparks Debate About 'Choosing How & When To Go'

She's approaching death the same way she approached life — on her own terms and without fear.

Screenshots of Ali Tate Culter and her grandmother discussing her euthanasia choice TikTok

It's the one thing none of us can escape—eventually, our lives will come to an end. For one woman's grandmother, her final act has come sooner than she imagined, and her desire to finish it on her own terms has some feeling inspired and others feeling angry.

Ali Tate Cutler has been documenting her grandmother's final days on TikTok.

As Cutler's beloved Bubbie faces a terminal cancer diagnosis, she's been getting her on record about what she's learned from life, and how she feels about it coming to an end. One detail of her Bubbie's final act has sparked a debate online among those who find her approach revolutionary and others who think it's morally wrong.




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Cutler's grandmother has chosen to end her life via euthanasia, or MAID—Medical Assistance In Dying.

Cutler's grandmother lives in Canada, where MAID (Medical Assistance In Dying) was made a legal option in some cases in December 2022. In her video, Cutler showed her and her Bubby dressed up for a night out with the onscreen text, "My grandmother has chosen euthanasia for her terminal diagnosis, so this is the last time I can take her out to dinner."


"I have so many emotions right now but all I'm focused on is making this the most memorable week for her," Cutler wrote in her caption about her final visit to her grandmother's home in Vancouver, British Columbia. 

That week has included several tender moments, some of which are just for fun, like a video Cutler made of her Bubbie trying to guess what popular slang terms like "snatched" and "glow up" mean. Bubbie had some darn good answers, even if they weren't technically correct!



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Cutler's other videos with her grandmother have centered on how she feels about facing the end of her life and why she is choosing euthanasia.

End of life is a serious matter, of course, and Cutler's Bubbie has taken a thoughtful, dignified approach that many have found inspiring. She called it "the light at the end of the tunnel" of her long illness, telling Cutler "I came in quietly, I'd like to go quietly."



She also gave details on how the Canadian MAID system works. "They...make sure you're doing it for the right reason," she told Cutler, and they verify that "your diagnosis is…fatal." She also said that throughout the process, "they keep stressing the fact that you can always change your mind."

Cutler's grandmother is remarkably calm about the situation. Asked if she was nervous or scared, she told Cutler, "No…when I'll be ready, I'll know." And she cast her choice of euthanasia as a sort of ultimate moment of self-actualization. "I've always made my own decisions for myself in living, I trust I will in death," she said.


Tearing up, she gave one final insight into how she imagines her passing will go. "I do believe my husband is there saying, 'it's about time.' Then I'll say, 'Hi Arn, I'm here.' That's it."

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Cutler's videos about her grandmother choosing euthanasia left many religious people outraged, but others saw something revolutionary in Cutler's Bubbie's choice.

"Why would you publicize this? So wrong," one person wrote. Others were judgmental of Cutler's grandma's decision. "Your grandma is choosing to take her life rather than spending the time left she has with you and your family?" one presumptuous person commented. 

But others saw Culter's grandma's choice as a poignant new way to think about death, an approach marked by acceptance and peace rather than fear. "It’s heartbreaking but comforting to know how sure she is," one TikToker wrote. "She’s writing how her story ends on her terms," another commented.


It's a strange view of both life and death to have a moral objection to someone choosing how to write their final chapter. The outcome is the same either way. Fearing it or moralizing it won't make that any less true. 



Since returning from her final visit with her grandmother, Cutler has gone on to discuss how the insight of a death doula has changed her perspective on death. "I started seeing my denial of death," she wrote. "It’s what’s given me bone-deep fear every time I ride a plane, or sleep in a tall hotel room, or even before I gave birth."

But facing it head-on, without fear, she says, has only brightened the life she's still living. "Colors are sharper, my baby smells even better and my love for family is more intense." No doubt she learned some of that from her beloved Bubbie, who embraced both living and dying with gratitude and fearlessness right up until the end. May we all be so lucky. 


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John Sundholm is a news and entertainment writer who covers pop culture, social justice and human interest topics.