Death with dignity

Do you leave the best morsel of baked potato to last – to savour it? Put off the pleasure to a time you can enjoy it most. Build the suspense. Build the expectation of something special. Sacrifice the present, the moment, in anticipation of the future. Lose the joy of each moment along the way….. only to find your dream has gone cold and soggy.

I put off the joy of blogging because it’s my self-treat – I wait for a moment when I’m relaxed and have time. The result – blogs that are few and far between. Or forced and fake.

I have a mentor who constantly reminds me that ….. now is good.

So I’m in a hotel room, it’s late, I’m exhausted after an exhilarating day-long workshop. I’m too wound up to sleep so I visit Facebook. Maybe I can see what my kids are up to?Silence on that front….they know I check!

But I spot a post. I’d like to share it with you, and ask – will we ever have this choice here in Australia, or do we have to keep our passports and US visa current?

…so here it is…

Frank Somerville KTVU
This is Brittany Maynard.
She is 29 years old.
And she has only 25 days left to live.
On November 1st, Brittany plans to die.

She says:
“I will die upstairs in my bedroom.
I will pass peacefully with some music that I like in the background. “

Brittany is suffering from stage 4 Brain Cancer.
She was married late last year.
Shortly after that she started having headaches.

In January, doctors told her she had stage 2 Brain Cancer.
They gave her 3-10 years to live.

But then in April, the news got even worse.
Her cancer was now stage 4.
(The worst it can get)
Doctors told her she now only had 6 months to live.

“I wish there was a cure for my disease, but there’s not.”

Brittany was living in the Bay Area.
But after learning she was going to die soon, she and her family moved to Portland, Oregon.

The reason: Oregon has a “Death with Dignity” law.
That means Brittany can choose when to end her life, instead of suffering.

Brittany says:
“I can’t even tell you the relief that provides me.
There is not a cell in my body that is suicidal or that wants to die.
(But) my Glioblastoma is going to kill me and it’s a terrible, terrible way to die.
Being able to choose to go with dignity is less terrifying.”

So Brittany has picked November 1st to die:

“I really wanted to celebrate my husband’s birthday, which is October 30.
I’m getting sicker, dealing with more pain and seizures and difficulties so I just selected it.”

She will use medication prescribed by her doctor.

“I plan to be surrounded by my immediate family, my mother, my step-father, my husband, and my best friend.”

During her last days, Brittany has been traveling.
She loves the outdoors.
She’s gone to Yellowstone Park and Alaska.
She hopes to make it to the Grand Canyon, but time is running out.

Brittany has made a video about her life and impending death.
It’s six minutes long.
I watched it twice.
I broke down both times.
It’s heartbreaking.
But at the same time there is something so inspiring about her.
She’s very matter of fact and very direct.
Here’s a link if you’d like to see it.

At the end of the video, Brittany has a message for everyone:

“Make sure you’re not missing out.
Seize the day.
What do you care about?
What matters?
Pursue that.
Forget the rest.”

I’m going to write that down and put it on my desk at work.
I want to see her words every day.

And for the sake of this post, I will assume that if you want to hit “like” it means you have Brittany in your thoughts.

Some quotes courtesy People Magazine
Timeline Photos

Rod Cunich preferred (2)

I’m a specialist estate planning lawyer + professional traveller + keen photographer + political observer. I like to share my experiences across all four devotions – often as a mixed lot. If you like this blog please subscribe for more.

PS (to my mentor) Tony, back on the horse – even if it’s borrowed

2 Comments on “Death with dignity”

  1. Margot says:

    Wonderful piece.

  2. Barb Campbell says:

    Lovely blog and what a tragic story. However, given the fast deterioration, death with dignity and loved ones should be an option.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s