I am sure some of you might have read about Brittany Maynard, the 29 year old woman who was diagnosed with stage 4 brain cancer and subsequently decided that she wanted to die on her own terms and time. She called it “Dying WIth DIgnity”. Euthanasia is quite a sensitive topic in itself and her act just added to the furor especially in the religious circle.
I have read comments ranging from ‘she has no right to decide when to die when God has given her the life’ to ‘is taking ones own life really a death by dignity?’. The former argument seems completely void and illogical to me. Yes I am a thiest but No I don’t think anyone is doing a crime by taking their own lives and No they wont face consequences in their afterlife if there is one. The latter argument though caught my eye. I first came across this point of view in the following blog : http://ehyde.wordpress.com/2014/10/08/dying-with-dignity-thoughts-on-brittany-maynards-resignation-from-cancer/
The writer points out the view whether taking one’s own life really a dignified death. Does fighting till the end makes the death undignified? I can see where he coming from stating the examples of people who in-spite of knowing that they have a limited time fight or at least be with their loved ones till the end. He proceeds to say that fighting till the end really shows what human worth is giving the example of Nelson Mandela and holocaust survivors in the process.
I on the other hand still differ. Yes people fight till the end even when they know there is no hope left for them. I have read stories about holocaust survivors who didn’t have a single ray of hope but still fought on. These are stories which fill you with hope and make you realize what willpower is all about. But I still don’t think euthanasia disrespects the deaths of those who battled till the end.
Brittany’s mother describes her as having a ‘larger than life’ attitude and it is safe to say she was true to herself till the end. She wanted to die in her own terms and not go through the pain the remaining days would have given her. She didn’t want her loved ones to go through the pain either. And the fact that she did it doesn’t make her a coward according to me. If I was in her shoes I too might have done the same. If the doctor gave me 1 year to live I would very well not want to spend the last six months hanging on due to meds and surgeries. I would like to go out when I am still able to have remember the memories of my loved ones and talk to them. Yes it is scary but its still dignified. I too would want to die on my own terms when faced with such a situation.
Everyone should have the right to choose their deaths when faced with a terminal disease. No it doesn’t make them a coward for not facing up to their problems. It makes them humans, for being scared of what they and their loved ones have to go through. And no God doesn’t judge you based on that. Having the power to decide one’s own death and acting upon that should be a right of every human in this world. It is as much a dignified death as fighting till the end.
I can only imagine how difficult the last night would have been for her and her loved ones. RIP Brittany Maynard.
“I hope for the sake of my fellow American citizens, that I’ll never meet, that this option is available to you. If you ever find yourself walking a mile in my shoes I hope that you would at least be given the same choice and that no one tries to take it from you.” – Brittany Maynard