On Brittany Maynard And Her Choice To Die


I know that many of you have probably already read a plethora of posts on this topic, but I couldn’t allow it to go by without sharing my own.

I initially planned on posting this last week, however, I didn’t have the right words until Tuesday because this topic is one that invokes a lot of strong opinions and I wasn’t quite sure how I wanted to express my own about Brittany Maynard, who was diagnosed with an aggressive and incurable brain cancer, and after much consideration, decided to move to Oregon so she could access its Death with Dignity Act by taking life-ending medication.

Over the past month I’ve read comments on several websites about Brittany, and a large percentage of them stated that they thought she was extremely selfish and cowardly in taking her own life because it wasn’t up to her to decide when to die, it should be left in the hands of God.

And I think it’s ironic that people would say that, but then think nothing of someone with a terminal illness taking their life into their own hands by trying every possible intervention to sustain their life so that they wouldn't die, in spite of what God's plan might be. Or what about someone who is terminally ill and decides that at some point they want no life support, is that not taking their life and death into their own hands?

Yes, it is.

So I ask these people who harshly judge Brittany's choice, why is it okay to interfere with the hands of God when someone is trying to prolong their life, but it’s not okay when they make a conscious choice about when it ends? And if you truly believed that a terminal illness and the fate of your life was totally in the hands of God, then you would do nothing to either prolong your life or end it. You would just let God take care of everything and make no choices.

No, I'm sorry, but we all make certain choices when it comes to our life and death.

From watching interviews with Brittany, I know that the choice to end her life was one that was deeply contemplated and not at all selfish or cowardly because it was a decision not only based on herself, but one that considered her family, husband, and friends.

And I’m not exactly sure what her spiritual beliefs were, however, I could sense by listening to Brittany that she had her own personal relationship with a Higher Power.

Therefore the choice she made was between her and that Higher Power.

People can judge all they wish, yet it was the choice she made. And it’s one that I can’t help believing within the center of my heart, was the right one for Brittany.

And on November 1st, she fully embraced that choice.

Rest in Peace, Brittany X


For anyone who hasn’t seen this second and final interview with Brittany, I would like to share it.


Have a wonderful weekend everyone! 
X


57 comments

  1. Ron, I for one don't think we were put on this earth to judge anyone, the decisions she made were the right ones for her, and without being in her position how many of us would have made the same decision.

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  2. Ron, I honestly am conflicted about this. On the one hand, a friend of mine just watched her SIL die from a terminal brain tumor, and it was awful. But so are most types of cancer as well as diseases such as Alzheimer's. I'm just not comfortable saying it's ok to take your life if you know you are going to die.

    However, it's clear she thought it through and her husband was on board, so I'm not judging her......just the overall idea of it.

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  3. Wow, I had not heard of this story but I am deeply moved by it. And completely in agreement that people have the right to choose death if that's what they feel they need to do. I have never believed suicide was a sin and even as a child felt strongly that the government and the church had no business trying to prevent it. I'm not talking about a temporary wish to die, as you see with depression - in those cases, people need help. But who are any of us to judge what pain a person ought to have to endure? I'm thankful for Brittany that her husband and family were compassionate and supportive through what had to be an agonizing decision. And I'm filing away in my own head that Oregon is a safe haven should it come to that for me.

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  4. Ron, I've read many blog posts and opinions on this topic and yours was by far the most thoughtfully expressed. It brought tears to my eyes. I agree, the choice Brittany made was hers and no one can honestly say what they would have done had they been her. You are so right, why is fighting to stay alive in spite of what God's plan might be, any different than making a conscious choice when it ends? Why do some people feel that they can speak for God?

    I've seen both videos that Brittany made and after listening to her, I know her choice was made with a great deal of consciousness and consideration. She didn't just suddenly decide that she wanted to end her life. It was so touching to hear her mother and husband speak of how they supported her in her choice.

    Beautiful post, Ron. Thank you for sharing your words. Have a wonderful weekend x

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  5. " the decisions she made were the right ones for her, and without being in her position how many of us would have made the same decision."


    Yes, my feelings exactly, Jimmy. Without being Brittany, we have no idea what we would have done.


    Thanks so much for stopping by, buddy. Have a grrrrrrreat weekend!


    X to you and Cindy!

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  6. Hey there Bijoux!

    "On the one hand, a friend of mine just watched her SIL die from a terminal brain tumor, and it was awful. But so are most types of cancer as well as diseases such as Alzheimer's. I'm just not comfortable saying it's ok to take your life if you know you are going to die."



    And I totally respect your thoughts and feelings on that. As I do Brittany's choice on deciding when she was going to die. I think this is about a personal choice and that we each have the right to choose.


    Thanks so much for stopping by and sharing on this topic, my friend. Appreciate it.


    Have a fab weekend!


    x

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  7. I had first heard about Brittany last month on someone else's blog, so I've been following along ever since. And like you, I was deeply moved.

    "But who are any of us to judge what pain a person ought to have to endure?"



    Yes, and that was my thought exactly.


    There are 3 States in the US that have the Death with Dignity Act; Oregon being one of them.


    Thanks so much for stopping by and sharing your thoughts on this topic, my friend. Appreciate it.


    Have a great weekend!
    X

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  8. Hola Denise!

    "no one can honestly say what they would have done had they been her."

    I totally agree.

    "I know her choice was made with a great deal of consciousness and consideration. She didn't just suddenly decide that she wanted to end her life."



    Yes, and I feel that she had every right to make that choice.


    Thanks so much for stopping by and sharing your thoughts on this topic, girl. Appreciate it. Have a wonderful weekend!

    X

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  9. I almost did a topic on this very subject but I felt very strongly that it could get a little too out of hand. I am with you. I do not feel it is our place to judge how people choose to live or die. I feel she made a very tough decision that was right for her and I wish her family all the best.

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  10. " I do not feel it is our place to judge how people choose to live or die. I feel she made a very tough decision that was right for her and I wish her family all the best."

    Me too, Shae! The choice Brittany made was the right one for her. And truly believe that.

    Thanks so much for stopping by and sharing on this topic, my friend. Appreciate it.

    Have a super weekend!
    X

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  11. "And if you truly believed that a terminal illness and the fate of your life was totally in the hands of God, then you would do nothing to either prolong your life or end it. You would just let God take care of everything and make no choices." Right on, Ron!

    I think what bothers many people about Brittany's choice was that she decided the exact day that she wanted to die. But I don't see that being any different than someone who has a terminal illness and making the choice to end life support. It's still a choice made about when they've had enough and taking their life into their own hands.



    It's "their" choice.

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  12. "I think what bothers many people about Brittany's choice was that she decided the exact day that she wanted to die. But I don't see that being any different than someone who has a terminal illness and making the choice to end life support. It's still a choice made about when they've had enough and taking their life into their own hands. It's "their choice."


    Thank you, Matt. And Amen!


    Have a most excellent weekend, buddy, and thanks so much for stopping by and sharing your feelings on this topic.


    X

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  13. It's an emotional issue and you want to be reasonable and rational? Tsk, tsk. Oh wait, no it is an irrational issue - people too lazy to think for themselves. Believe whatever the hell you want to believe but don't force your beliefs on other people. My life, I'll choose how to live it and leave it. Please don't get me started.

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  14. Ron, you already know my view on this subject. There is little difference between Brittany and our own actress Linda Bellingham who stopped her chemotherapy in order to end her life. I admired Linda for her brave and selfless wish to die and I now admire Brittany for the same. They both had family support and I find it sad that the church cannot support their wishes. It is an emotive issue, more for some than others, but my heart rests easy with it. And when my time comes, I would like to think I left the world gracefully and at peace.


    Hope you have a good weekend x

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  15. Bravo, you bring up important points. I guess a lot of people don't consider it taking life/death into your own hands when the treatment you receive is to prolong it. After watching both my brother and my father suffer from terminal illness (cancer), I can't tell you how agonizing it was. They reached the point they wished for death. No one should have to go through that if they choose not to.
    I did not watch either videos because I knew I'd be too emotional, however I did read much about this. I also read WAY TOO MUCH JUDGMENT from other people. This was between her and God, and I'll let it be.

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  16. Mark PetruskaNovember 07, 2014

    Such a sad story, and it hits close to home because...well...Portland WAS her home. At least in the end. I have always supported the Death With Dignity Act, and am proud that both Oregon and Washington are progressive enough to have assisted suicide laws. It's a very personal decision and nobody should judge this brave young woman's actions. I certainly wouldn't. She said all along dying was the last thing she wanted, but unfortunately it came down to either that or suffering. RIP, Brittany.

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  17. Well thought out, Ron, and I'm glad you felt the need to explore this subject further. It's a tricky one, whichever way one feels, because there's just so much we don't know.

    I've often said I'm glad I'm NOT God -- sitting in judgment over someone isn't a task I'd relish! I still maintain that LIFE is sacred -- whether it's an unborn infant, a disabled young person, or a sick elderly person -- and we shouldn't have the right to destroy it. None of us gets to choose our lot in life, and choosing if/when to die just feels off to me.

    Thanks for letting us explore this important subject deeper. Medical ethics is fascinating, isn't it?

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  18. Such a beautiful post,Ron. This is a heart-breaking story. It is unfortunate that these so-called religious types have to insert themselves into the situation and make things worse. Thank you for exposing these fools for the hypocrites they are. Take care, buddy, and be well.

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  19. I'm so glad you wrote about this, Ron. Everyone should have the right to make such a decision without government interference or the judgment of others. What a beautiful, brave young woman.

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  20. Like Bijoux, I'm conflicted on the subject. I think it could quickly become a slippery slope. If it's okay for a terminally ill patient to take their life, what about the person who's diagnosed but death is years down the road? What about the woman who has the BRCA gene? Should she have the choice to end her life rather than have a mastectomy and continue to live a long life? What about the child who is diagnosed with a disease that will be a financial hardship for their parents? As parents, should they have the right to choose for their child? Should the child have the right to choose to live or die? Who is going to determine whether the person is suffering from depression and hopelessness, and that's driving the decision? You do make a good point about taking extreme measures NOT to die and I see where you're coming from in regards to choice. Not sure I completely agree, but I can understand your position. It sounds simple, but it's anything but. A very thoughtful post today.

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  21. I totally agree with you Ron! Every Single Word. She was a very courageous woman in my opinion. Xo Jeanne and the girls

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  22. "She was a very courageous woman in my opinion."

    Yes, and my opinion as well, Jeanne. But above all, I respect her decision to do what she felt was right for her.

    Thanks so much for stopping by, my friend. Have a wonderful weekend!

    X to you and the girlz!

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  23. " Everyone should have the right to make such a decision without government interference or the judgment of others."


    I totally agree, Jayne. TOTALLY.


    And yes, what a beautiful, brave young woman indeed.


    Thanks so much for stopping by, my friend. Have fantastic weekend!


    X

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  24. " It is unfortunate that these so-called religious types have to insert themselves into the situation and make things worse. "


    What bothers these the most about this are the people who think they know what is best for someone else and that they judge in the eye's of God, when in fact, they have no idea what relationship someone has with God and the choices they made between God and themselves.


    Thanks so much for stopping by, buddy. Hope you're having a faaaaaabulous time on your vacation!!!


    X

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  25. Hey there Lisa!

    Thank you for bringing up the different scenarios, however, this post is about someone with a terminal illness (such as Brittany) and the choices they make to either prolong their life or end it, and having the right to make those choices.


    Thanks so much for stopping by and sharing your thoughts and feelings, my friend. Have a FAB weekend!
    X

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  26. Mark, I was so thinking of you when I read about Brittany's story because she lived in Portland, which is close to you.

    "It's a very personal decision and nobody should judge this brave young woman's actions. I certainly wouldn't."

    I agree. And I can't say if I would or wouldn't because I was was not Brittany. However, I respect and honor her choice.

    " She said all along dying was the last thing she wanted, but unfortunately it came down to either that or suffering."



    Yes, exactly. So she made a choice.


    Much thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts and feelings on this topic. Have a super weekend!


    X to you and Tara!

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  27. Hello there Debbie!

    My whole feeling about this is that regardless of what choices people think they would have made if they had been Brittany, it was the choice "she" made. And I think she had the right to make that choice.

    " ....and choosing if/when to die just feels off to me."



    But we all choose with a terminal illness to either prolong our life so that we live or make a choice when we've had enough. So really, we all make choices if/when we die.


    Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts and feelings on this topic, both on your blog and mine. I know this is a very sensitive subject because we all have different opinions, but that is what's great about blogging - sharing those opinions.


    Have a fabulous weekend, my friend!
    X

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  28. "I guess a lot of people don't consider it taking life/death into your own hands when the treatment you receive is to prolong it."

    Exactly, Suzi, which is why I brought that up. We all take life/death into our own hands and make choices, just like Brittany did.

    "They reached the point they wished for death. No one should have to go through that if they choose not to."

    I agree. And when my mother was diagnosed a year and a half ago with an aggressive terminal cancer, she did not want to get to that point. Thankfully though, she passed away without much suffering or pain.

    And yes, I got VERY emotional watching the videos but I watched them anyway because I wanted to hear Brittany's thoughts and feelings about this. And she REALLY opened my eyes and heart.

    "...however I did read much about this. I also read WAY TOO MUCH JUDGMENT from other people. This was between her and God, and I'll let it be."



    Amen.


    Thanks so much for stopping by and sharing your thoughts on this topic, my friend. Have a super weekend!
    X

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  29. Hello there Valerie!

    "There is little difference between Brittany and our own actress Linda Bellingham who stopped her chemotherapy in order to end her life. I admired Linda for her brave and selfless wish to die and I now admire Brittany for the same."

    Yes, you are exactly right, there is little difference because it was a choice to end their lives. As I shared, we all make choices about life and death.

    " They both had family support and I find it sad that the church cannot support their wishes. It is an emotive issue, more for some than others, but my heart rests easy with it."



    Yes, my heart rest easy with it as well. And truthfully, I don't care that the church doesn't support their wishes because the people who run churches cannot speak for God.


    Much thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts and feelings on this topic, dear lady. Have a lovely weekend!

    X to you and Joe.

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  30. " Believe whatever the hell you want to believe but don't force your beliefs on other people. My life, I'll choose how to live it and leave it. Please don't get me started."


    Grace, I LOVE you!!!!!! You GO, girl!


    And you're right, it is an emotional issue and I want to be reasonable and rational?!?! Tsk, tsk on me :)


    Much thanks for stopping by, my friend. Have a FAB weekend!
    X

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  31. BRAVO, Ron!!! You nailed this topic with such accuracy!

    So many people have tried to judge this choice in the eyes of God and religion, yet don't think anything about how trying to prolong a life or choosing to end a life by stopping all life support is somehow not interfering with God. We all make choices whether we want to believe it or not.

    "And if you truly believed that a terminal illness and the fate of your life was totally in the hands of God, then you would do nothing to either prolong your life or end it. You would just let God take care of everything and make no choices."



    What an incredible point!


    I hold no judgement whatsoever to Brittany's choice because we are given a free will. And she used her free will to make the choice she did. And like her mother said, she is not here to tell Brittany how to live or how to die.


    Thank you for sharing this thought provoking and honest post.

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  32. Hey there Robert!

    "I hold no judgement whatsoever to Brittany's choice because we are given a free will. And she used her free will to make the choice she did. And like her mother said, she is not here to tell Brittany how to live or how to die."

    I agree with you 100%. And I also think her mother was an amazing example of a parents unconditional love for a child in supporting Brittany's choice. Talk about being unselfish.


    Thanks so much for stopping by and sharing on this post topic, buddy. Have a fabuloso weekend!


    X

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  33. http://ladyfi.wordpress.comNovember 08, 2014

    If there were less judging and more caring -- this world would be a better place. I, for one, agree with you - prolonging life is sometimes wrong. I look around at many very old people, some of whom wish they had died many years ago.


    It's ironic that we let our pets die when they are old and suffering, but that we are too quick to judge people who wish to have the same courtesy...

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  34. Wishing you a great weekend too, my friend!! xo

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  35. Thank you, Fiona, because you brought up a point that I wanted to add to this post topic, but didn't, because I didn't want it to be too-long a post.

    "It's ironic that we let our pets die when they are old and suffering, but that we are too quick to judge people who wish to have the same courtesy..."



    A-men!


    Thanks so much for stopping by and sharing on this topic, my friend. Have a fantastic weekend!

    X

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  36. I don't have the emotional strength to respond to this today with all my deep feelings. I can only say that I absolutely do not think it was selfish. No way. May she be at peace and her family move thru the grief as best they can and go on with loving thoughts of her.
    Hope you are having a nice weekend, Ron. Busy here, but glad to be starting the catchup at my fav blogs! xo

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  37. Hey there Mary!

    Thanks so much for taking time to stop by even though your busy :) Yes, I know this is a very emotional topic and one that brings on a lot of feelings and opinions. It's one that really made me very emotional as well.

    "May she be at peace and her family move thru the grief as best they can and go on with loving thoughts of her."

    Amen.

    Hope you're enjoying a great weekend and this nice fall weather, my friend!

    X

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  38. Hi Ron! Just stopped back to read everyone's comments today. It's so interesting to hear people's thoughts and feelings about this. But I can see that a lot of people agreed. Hope you're having a wonderful weekend x

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  39. Hello again, Denise! Yes, it is interesting to hear everyone's thoughts and feelings about this topic, isn't it? I'm glad I posted this.


    Have a great rest of your weekend, girl X

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  40. petra michelleNovember 09, 2014

    I wholeheartedly agree with you, Ron. I think having to commit suicide -- what a friend's husband did while dying from cerebral palsy was extremely sad. I think had he had the choice to die with dignity, everyone involved would have been able to cope so much better. Brittany was extremely brave and thoughtful in preparing her family without her.
    p.s. If you haven't seen it, a wonderful film about the story of a man in Spain dealing with the court system in the right to die with dignity. It stars Javier Bardem in "The Sea Inside".
    Hope you're having a wonderful weekend, Ron! :))

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  41. Hello there Petra!

    I can't thank enough for letting me know about the movie starring Javier Bardem because I had not heard of it, but it sounds like a very interesting one that I would love to see. I will look for it in F.Y. I. soon.

    " Brittany was extremely brave and thoughtful in preparing her family without her."

    I agree. And even though I'm sure her family and friends still grieve over her death, I think the way in which Brittany made her choice openly and honestly, allowed them to be included in the process of her choice, though Death with Dignity.

    Thanks so much for stopping by, my friend. Have a super Sunday!

    X

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  42. petra michelleNovember 09, 2014

    After you've seen it, Ron, please let me know what you think? :))

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  43. Will do, Petra! And I can't wait to see it. Thanks again :)

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  44. 1st - OMG I LOVE your header.

    Now... regarding this.... when my Dad was almost dead... incurable cancer that had moved from lungs to brain, he was in horrible HORRIBLE pain. His very last words were sadly, "Can't take it." And this was a strong man who flew an unarmed Navy jet over enemy territory BEFORE the armed jets to take pictures for them. Our doctor basically helped us to help him die. We asked for a particular medicine that was keeping him alive but doing nothing for pain to be stopped. He was dying. WHY keep him a day or two longer. THEN... a particular pain medication.... we were told, "If we give this to him, you understand what will happen?" YES.... WE UNDERSTAND. No, they didn't "kill" my father, but they helped him to go during the time frame he was supposed to go with less pain. Even then he held on too long... But we gave him that speedier death in order to stop his unbearable pain. It was a gift to him and a gift to us, in that we were able to stop all that horrific pain. God did not look down on us and say, "Oh NO. He was supposed to suffer 36 hours longer. Now he is going to hell." Nope, no way. God had his arms around him as my father passed. And I'm sure He said, "I am so glad you are here and out of pain."

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  45. Katherine, my dear friend, I can't thank you enough for sharing that raw and honest story on this post today. OMG...I was literally crying reading it. But not tears from sadness, tears from your love for you father and doing what you did to help him.

    " But we gave him that speedier death in order to stop his unbearable pain. It was a gift to him and a gift to us, in that we were able to stop all that horrific pain. "

    Bless you.

    "God did not look down on us and say, "Oh NO. He was supposed to suffer 36 hours longer. Now he is going to hell." Nope, no way. God had his arms around him as my father passed. And I'm sure He said, "I am so glad you are here and out of pain."

    *tears*

    And I agree with EVER SINGLE WORD you said.

    Again, thank you so much for sharing your story here, my friend. And I applaud you.

    (((((((((((((((( You ))))))))))))))))))))

    X

    P.S. Thank you. I made that new header at the beginning of November. I've decided to change my header each month.

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  46. I like how you shared your thoughts here. Clearly you spent time processing this. That's something I'll undoubtedly need to do.
    Remember, I'm the one that doesn't watch the news.....and I refuse to have a paper delivered to my door. I know what gets airtime and it's nothing I want to donate my time to.
    This is an example of why. There are all kinds of examples of courageous. All sorts of difficult choices having/needing to be made. Many of them are choices we never dreamt we'd need to make. We couldn't fathom ever being in the position TO make them. But we make them. We take others into consideration, we look at all angles and secretly wish a loophole would suddenly reveal itself and let us off the hook from having to choose.
    But "no choice" is a choice.
    What's true in every situation is there IS that choice. And what's also true is it's our choice to make.
    I celebrate that I get to choose.
    That was my "gift" from G-d.
    I intend to use that one until I'm back Home with Him.

    I hope the young woman and all those who love her have great peace today.

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  47. Hiya Mel!

    Like you, I don't watch the news or read a newspaper, however, I found out about Brittany online by reading someone else's blog post who shared something about it last month. And ever since, I've read so many other articles pertaining to her story and wanted to share my own thoughts and feelings.

    I LOVE what you said here and totally agree...

    "But "no choice" is a choice.
    What's true in every situation is there IS that choice. And what's also true is it's our choice to make.
    I celebrate that I get to choose.
    That was my "gift" from G-d."

    Aaaaaaaaamen!

    Free will.

    Thanks so much for stopping by and sharing on this topic, dear lady. You've added much!

    Hope you're having a FAB week!

    X

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  48. I think she was one of the bravest people I ever heard of. She also was one of the least shellfish. Her strength and poise was a thing of beauty. As was that of he family's. If it was God's will for her to get a terminal illness, then it was His will that allowed her the free will to die when and how she chose to.
    ,

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  49. " Her strength and poise was a thing of beauty. As was that of her family's."

    Couldn't agree with you more. And listening to her (and her family speak), you could most definitely sense that.

    "If it was God's will for her to get a terminal illness, then it was His will that allowed her the free will to die when and how she chose to."



    A-MEN! And she used that free will to make the choice she did.


    Much thanks for stopping by, Sis!


    X ya!

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  50. Geraldine H.November 12, 2014

    This is oh so sad to watch Ron, I wasn't aware of this story before reading this post.


    I don't think we should judge a person's choices if they are in a position such as this.
    At the same time, miracles still DO happen. In that respect, this girl had given up on that possibility and that is so sad too.


    I hope she has found peace on the other side and that her family can come to terms with how her life ended. Sounds like they had.


    You've written a beautiful, touching post as a tribute here.

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  51. Hello there Geraldine!

    "At the same time, miracles still DO happen. In that respect, this girl had given up on that possibility and that is so sad too."

    Yes, miracles DO happen, you're absolutely right. And I for one totally believe in miracles. However I think in Brittany case (and I say this only from listening to her speak in the videos she made) that she sensed a cure not happening. So she used her free will to make a choice to end her life. And I think that, in way, WAS a miracle for her.

    "I hope she has found peace on the other side and that her family can come to terms with how her life ended. Sounds like they had."

    Her family seemed very much with her on this choice, so I think they were able to grieve along the way (and still do) not HOW her life ended, but more so about losing a loved one. As any of us would.

    Thanks so much for stopping by, my friend. Have great rest of your week!
    X

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  52. Although you said it much better than I could have, I pretty much agree with everything you said here. I would just take it a little further and say that those who criticize her, need a crisp backhand across their cruel faces.

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  53. You are right Jimmy! The decision was right for her and her family, so anybody's opinion to the contrary, means nothing.

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  54. I needed to voice my own opinion on this because I had been reading about so many people cruelly and carelessly criticizing Brittany's choice.



    Thanks so much for stopping by, Pat.

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  55. I admire Brittany for her decision. I think she has done this thoughtfully & not on a whim. I am glad she did this while she could before she was robbed of the ability or had to perhaps put a family member in the unenviable position of having to assist her. While her family will grieve for her, they will not have to remember her as being so sick. They can remember her for the beautiful person she was.

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  56. Benze, I loved your comment and agree wholehearted with everything you said!

    'I think she has done this thoughtfully & not on a whim. While her family will grieve for her, they will not have to remember her as being so sick. They can remember her for the beautiful person she was."

    Amen!

    Thanks so much for stopping by, my friend. Have a SUPER weekend!


    (((((((((( You )))))))))


    X

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