“All those things make every day worthwhile.”
These are the words of terminally ill cancer patient Brittany Maynard, 29, in a video on her website,www.thebrittanyfund.org. Her quote refers to trips she’s been on recently, exploring the outdoors and spending time with her family. I guess that’s something one could expect any terminally ill person to say; that he or she is valuing every minute left on Earth. But when you put Brittany’s statement into the context of her situation, it doesn’t really make sense.
Brittany is choosing to utilize an act called death with dignity: she’s planning on ending her own life on Nov. 1. As her website states, “Death with dignity or aid in dying is a medical practice in which a terminally ill and mentally competent adult requests, and a doctor prescribes, a life-ending medication the person self-administers.” She says that every day is worthwhile, but all the while she has a literal countdown going until her own death. It seems contradictory to me.
When you first reach her website, a pop-up reads, “Sign the card and let Brittany know you support her bravery in this very tough time.” But I’m sorry Brittany: choosing death with dignity is not being brave. Bravery is when cancer patients choose to fight through the pain; bravery is when people pray their hearts out; bravery is being OK with the fact that death is an unknown. I can’t imagine what Brittany is going through. I’m sure that the suffering she is dealing with is incredibly difficult, but choosing to die is not the right escape.
A woman named Kara Tippetts who is suffering from terminal cancer as well wrote an open letter to Brittany on the blog www.aholyexperience.com. She stated beautifully, “That last kiss, that last warm touch, that last breath, matters — but it was never intended for us to decide when that last breath is breathed. Knowing Jesus, knowing that He understands my hard goodbye, He walks with me in my dying. My heart longs for you to know Him in your dying. Because in His dying, He protected my living. My living beyond this place.”
No matter how I look at it, Brittany Maynard is suicidal. She is planning to kill herself. The definition of suicide is, “the action of killing oneself intentionally.” It doesn’t get much more intentional than having pills ready and waiting for a particular day.
I don’t know if Brittany is a Christian. She never mentions her faith or God on her website or in her video. So it makes me wonder where she believes she’s going to spend eternity after Nov. 1, or if she even believes in any sort of eternal life. It makes me sad that she doesn’t want to live until God decides to take her to be with him.
Death with dignity is currently available in five states. But I hate that it’s called death with dignity. Approved suicide is no better than any other death.
I can’t even begin to imagine the type of pain that those with terminal illnesses face. But I know for a fact that it is not up to us when our lives end. And that decision should not be placed in our hands. Difficulties, struggles and pain are part of life. But so should be faith, prayer and persistence.
Another statement Brittany makes in her video is this: “I hope to enjoy however many days I have left on this beautiful Earth.”
I hope those days go beyond Nov. 1.