Life and Cancer: Contemplating Assisted Suicide
CBS, CNN, and multiple other news stations covered Brittany Maynard’s final weeks on earth. At 29 years old, Brittany Maynard trended on social media as she publicly announced her decision to end her life.
Brittany was diagnosed with stage four glioblastoma and was given a short time to live. She gained popularity through her video blogs, that she consistently posted throughout her journey.Instead of letting the cancer take over her life, Maynard made the decision to end it while she was feeling good and healthy to prevent any extensive suffering and pain for her and the loved ones around her. Traveling from mountains to beaches to canyons, Maynard embarked on adventuring to her dream locations before she chose to end her life on November 1, 2014.
Death by a physician is legal in five states: Washington, Oregon, Montana, New Mexico, and Vermont. Brittany and her husband moved to Oregon so she could be given life ending medication legally. Since Maynard's death, the phrase “Dying with Dignity” is gaining popularity, as activists try to legalize prescribed death in the United States.
A young mother of four, wife, and devout Christian, Kara Tippets, has been dealing with stage four glioblastoma, the exact same diagnosis as Brittany Maynard. Kara wrote an urgent open letter to Brittany begging her to consider a different route before her suicide. Sadly, Maynard carried out her plans. Since her death, Maynard has become an icon for major advocates for assisted suicide claiming that it is humanity's right to have complete control of their bodies, meaning that we can chose when to pull the plug. However, Job 1:21 offers an alternative thought of who really is in control, “The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away. Blessed be the name of the Lord.”
In the open letter to Maynard, Tippetts said, “Suffering is not the absence of goodness, it is not the absence of beauty, but it can be the place where true beauty can be known.” Sympathizing with the pain and struggle cancer brings, and the hard walk down a road that seems impossible to walk, Tippetts makes it clear that pain is possible to bear. There is a misconception in culture that struggle is bad, embarrassing, indestructible, and useless. But without pain, times of joy would not be as joyful. Without struggle, there would not likely be as many blessings or as much growth, at least that is my experience.
Watching my dad battle terminal cancer was certainly not easy, but i am so thankful for the experience. So many blessings came from the heartache and I can confidently say it was worth it. My family grew close together during my dad's cancer journey, and we all learned how to cherish life. I appreciated my dad more than I ever could in a lifetime because of his end-of-life experience.
Through the madness and sorrowful emotions, God blessed me with an immense peace that I can't describe. My dad could have stopped treatments, and ended his life, but he didn’t because he knew God could be praised in his situation. Through the harsh treatments and pain, my dad spoke about the reality of people needing a Savior. He testified of God’s provision in Jesus Christ to fulfill that need. He shared this message with as many people as he could, and to me, that is dying with dignity.