Monday, November 3, 2014

CHOOSING WHEN TO LIVE & WHEN TO DIE

Brittany Maynard, the Oregon woman who had become an outspoken advocate for patients' rights following her terminal cancer diagnosis, died on Saturday, Nov 1, 2014 the Oregonian reported.  She was 29.

I can't even explain to you how much this story hits "home" because this November 2014 marks exactly one year since I was diagnosed with a meningioma brain tumor.

As I have said before, I can't even imagine if my outcome had been different, what I would have done.  It is easy to be brave when it is benign.  What would I have done if I had been faced with the decision that Brittany Maynard had to face. She chose to end her life on her own terms.  Before she died she was quoted: "I am not suicidal," she wrote in a blog post for CNN.com. "I do not want to die. But I am dying. And I want to die on my own terms."

Many would say that is wrong. Only God chooses when our lives will end. But I ask you this, "Why is it that when an animal is gravely ill or seriously injured, we can put them out of their misery?" I don't know if I would have had the courage to do what Brittany did, end her life on November 1, 2014, at age 29.  Especially because I am a mother. No mother wants to willingly leave her child, no matter what the circumstances. I saw my own mother die a slow and painful death and it was not pleasant. She suffered until the end.

Had Brittany Maynard been a mother, would she have made the same decision? We will never know. What I do know, is that I admire her for facing what life dealt her with courage, strength and dignity.  It was her personal decision and thankfully for her, she had a family who supported her. We are all here on borrowed time. And yeah, we can't all go around playing God, but there are circumstances in my opinion, that like a gravely ill dog or a wounded horse, we should have the right to choose.

Ultimately, this is not about politics or religion or anything of that nature. It is about learning to live and love each day to it's fullest, whether you have a brain tumor, terminal illness or not. It is about setting small goals and meeting them daily, monthly, yearly.  Life should be about helping others and doing what's right. That is why I love the Ralph Waldo Emerson quote so much:


'Sometimes saying “Goodbye” to our beloved companions to end their suffering is the most loving decision that we can make for them.'



The funny thing about that quote you just read above is that I saw it in an article regarding putting an animal to sleep!  The same kind be said of humans!

May Brittany Maynard rest in peace and may the rest of us learn to live to the fullest, as she did!


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