Monday, November 3, 2014

Brittany Maynard -- Did she have a right to die?

AFP PHOTO COMPASSION & CHOICES/WWW.THEBRITTANYFUND.ORG


Yesterday, 29-year-old Brittany Maynard chose to end her life on her own terms, robbing cancer of its power to kill.

Surrounded by her loved ones, she died peacefully in her bed. But first, she shared her thoughts with the world:


"Goodbye to all my dear friends and family that I love. Today is the day I have chosen to pass away with dignity in the face of my terminal illness, this terrible brain cancer that has taken so much from me... but would have taken so much more. The world is a beautiful place, travel has been my greatest teacher, my close friends and folks are the greatest givers. I even have a ring of support around my bed as I type... Goodbye world. Spread good energy. Pay it forward!" 

How do I feel about her choice to uproot her family and move to Oregon where she could legally take her life this way? I'm not sure.

I've never faced such a heart-wrenching choice. I've never dealt with a cancer that was eating away my brain. I've never been told how awful the end of my life would be. I can't say how I feel about it because I've never been in that situation. 

It's easy to have answers to life's difficult situations all neatly wrapped up in a box, waiting for opportunities to pull them out and apply them. But reality tends to make us rethink a thing or two.

How do I feel about Brittany Maynard's choice to end her life yesterday? I feel devastated. And sad. And heartbroken for those who surrounded her bed and watched her die.

No, I don't know what it's like to be terminally ill. But I do know what it's like to be a mother and to love a daughter with everything in my being. And I cannot imagine what her mother is going through right now. 

So, I'm asking those of you who feel as though what she did was wrong, to step back and, rather than condemning her and criticizing her choice, spend that energy praying for her mom and the rest of her family and friends. They need your prayers and support much more than the world needs our opinions on this matter.

Falling back on the "What Would Jesus Do?" train of thought, consider what he would do. I seriously doubt he'd be delivering talks on what may have been wrong with this situation. No. He'd be too busy ministering his love and grace to those brokenhearted people who've been left behind.

I believe that's what he's called each of us to do as well. There are enough opinionated Rush Limbaugh-types in the world. Let's be different and when we open our mouths, let's make sure our speech is seasoned with love.


4 comments:

  1. Hana, I believe this is like so many other things in life: a choice. She should have the right to determine what happens to her own body, I believe being able to control the sort of death you have is a blessing. I'm sure her family didn't want her to suffer in the way she surely would have, either.

    Where this gets murky is when other people want to have the right to make the decision FOR you. But until we reach that threshold, self-determination should be how it's done.

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    1. Thanks for reading and for posting your thoughts on this Babs. It's a heated issue.

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  2. Thank you for writing this, Hana. As soon as I heard the news, my heart sank, because I know so many will come out of the woodwork to condemn Brittany for a choice that - right or wrong - was hers, and hers alone to make. And has been made!! At this point, there is nothing to say that can help her family through this except, "I'm so sorry for the loss of your daughter, your loved one. May God grant you peace and comfort as you mourn." Thank you for being a voice of calm and compassion in what is sure to be an ugly aftermath.

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    1. You're most welcome, Alena. It's a tough issue.

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