Everyday Activist - Her Last Project | Rockin’ the Coffin (CBC Gem)

Posted on Saturday, January 09, 2021 at 06:00 PM

Her Last Project | Rockin' the Coffin (CBC Gem)

Movie Review by Everyday Activist X CalgaryMovies.com

CBC Gem has a lot of great programming. Rockin’ the Coffin was about Ronald L. Grimes, needing something to do during the Covid-19 lockdown so he decided to make his own coffin. What I loved about the film was he and his children openly discussed death since they were little. They had an interest in Day of The Dead festivities, which created conversations and traditions. Director Cailleah Grimes-Scott confessed that had she been able to visit her dad, she probably would have helped him build it. Her Last Project was not as easy to watch, but since I had been writing about medically assisted death for a social work class, the short doc fit the theme.

Dr. Shelly Sarwal opted for medical assistance in dying (MAiD), which has been legal in Canada since 2016. One of the original concerns with MAiD was that vulnerable people would use it more often. What Canadian conducted research found was that the typical MAiD recipients were more like Shelly, people who were financially secure and able to advocate for themselves. Her story was a bit different because she decided to donate her organs, meaning instead of dying at home with loved ones, she needed to be at the hospital.

That didn’t stop her from having parties and living life to the fullest before her death. Shelly taught people about dying, answering difficult questions including why she chose to spend her final days leading classes rather than at home. Her friends and family gathered outside her hospital room with refreshments to be together in their grief. Death is hard enough, but Covid-19 policies have compounded the distress. I had written an article about my mom not wanting to stay in hospital, because her grandchildren weren’t allowed to see her. For us to see her required several phone calls with bureaucrats.

The hardest part for me to watch was Shelly’s steady decline, though with long term illness comes the gift of planning. She and my mom had everything the way they wanted to the last detail. My mom loved roses and a good deal. When we went to the funeral home to order her flowers we asked for carnations, but because there were so many funerals that weekend the florist ran out of carnations, but substituted roses for the same price. Her Last Project and Rockin’ the Coffin were excellent ways to see how families deal with death. Both films, available on CBC Gem, helped me feel less alone in my grief.  

Calgary Showtimes: Her Last Project > | Rockin' the Coffin >


NOTE: The showtimes listed on CalgaryMovies.com come directly from the theatres' announced schedules, which are distributed to us on a weekly basis. All showtimes are subject to change without notice or recourse to CalgaryMovies.com.