You guys, I have been obsessed for weeks about Brittany Maynard, the young woman who decided to terminate her life after a terminal brain cancer diagnosis earlier this year. I’ve been thinking about her story from a 2 different points of view…hers and her mother’s.
It’s clear from her interviews that this decision did not come lightly or without much contemplation and reflection on her and her family’s part. I can’t even imagine having to have that conversation with anyone, let alone my spouse and family. I liken it to a real time do not resuscitate order, I have definitely had that conversation with my husband. He knows that God forbid if anything were to happen to me where I needed to be on life support or could not maintain my faculties, then I would not want to prolong the anguish of my loved ones, (and vice versa for him). That’s exactly what she did, and being able to have that choice is a beautiful thing. She made the decision knowing full well what her options were, she chose dignity and to die on her own terms. I commend her and her resolve.
As a mother the very last thing you want to experience is the loss of a child. I look at my kids every day and marvel at my good fortune that they’re healthy, happy, strong boys. They light up my world (most of the time), and while I can remember with fondness my life prior to their existence, I cannot imagine one day without them since they’ve been alive. I recently had an argument with the big one, we’re going through a “testing the independence” phase in our house at the ripe old age of almost 9. At the end of our discussion I said to him “please understand this…if you’ve heard nothing I’ve said all night, hear this…there is NO ONE on this earth who will love you more than I will. I will always have your back and I will always support your decisions. All I ever ask of you is that you make good choices and be happy. I love you more than you will ever know.” I’m pretty sure he heard me because I was talking in the voice that rarely comes out and when it does, it means business. Brittany’s mother is going through hell right now, watching her daughter suffer and pass on is probably the most horrific experience she will ever have to live through. My heart breaks for her and Brittany’s husband Dan. They have been stoic and supportive…uprooting their lives from California for her so she could exercise her right in Oregon where she could die with dignity. My thoughts and prayers are with them as they continue on without Brittany.
Compassion & Choices is the non profit organization that helped Brittany and many others make informed decisions about aid in dying. If you haven’t already, take a look at Brittany’s website, The Brittany Fund for her whole story and information regarding the work that Compassion & Choices does. http://www.thebrittanyfund.org/
I end this with a heavy heart…the world lost a beautiful presence, I pray that she has found peace and that her family is comforted knowing that she is no longer suffering. Rest well Brittany Maynard, you touched more lives than you could possibly imagine.
A quote from Brittany’s website:
“Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.”- Theodore Roosevelt.