Brittany Maynard is 29 and she has a terminal brain tumor.
She wants to die on November 1st. Her story can be found on most news sites today: Brittany Maynard Story
It is a sad situation. I cannot even begin to image someone so young facing the certainty of death at this point in life. My heart aches at this story.
Questions that I ponder today:
Is there dignity in death?
Are there times when doctor assisted euthanasia is appropriate?
How does faith fit into to all of this?
Can we reconcile our faith with a due date for death?
I have no answers for these ponderings today.
I mourn at Brittany’s difficult decision…but I honestly can’t see where her decision is wrong. Perhaps you might disagree with me, and that’s fine. I’ve been in the hospital rooms of the dying and the recently deceased. I’ve watched and witnessed what cancer can do to a body as it wastes away. There are fewer and fewer moments of clarity…fewer and fewer moments of “last words” while there is a lingering, painful death watch for the family to endure. Usually all that the doctors and nurses can do is make someone comfortable with pain medication and other such drugs. I can understand why Brittany doesn’t want her husband and family to go through that. I don’t think it’s selfish for her to consider this means to an end. I don’t believe in giving up hope. I do believe in miracles, but when in the face of death is there are right and wrong in the way one will meet the Father at the hands of knowledgeable doctors?
If faced with this similar decision, would I choose differently? I don’t know.
Would I want my family to suffer through the last stages of a horrific battle? Probably not. Would I want to end it before I’m too far gone? Probably.
Morality and Ethics:
I know what it means to assist with another person’s end of life decision. I understand the preservation and sanctity of human life. Yet in this case and cases like it I have to believe in a God of grace and understanding far beyond our own comprehension. There are no clear cut black and white answers here. I have to believe that life wasn’t supposed to be this way for anyone. We do live in a fallen world. We do live in a world wrought with incurable diseases and at times, hopeless situations. I am not arguing theology here, nor do I wish to debate the right or wrong of euthanasia or assisted suicide…I just wish to ponder the ins and outs of this specific sad, sad situation for Brittany.
I may not have any adequate answers for this equally complicated end of life situation, but I can tell you what kind of answers I do have. It makes me want to hold my kids and my wife a little closer. It makes me truly appreciate the time that I have on this earth a little more…and to not take it for granted. It brings the choices I make and how I treat others in this life (including my friends and family) that much more important.
My prayers go out to her, to her husband and her family. I cannot even begin to imagine what she is going through, but I do believe there is a God who loves her very much and longs to end her suffering with an eternal healing. My thoughts and prayers are with Brittany and the family today.