Have you ever thought about what you would want if you were diagnosed with a terminally ill disease such as brain cancer?
I don’t mean have you thought about your bucket list of places you would want to visit or people you would like to see and spend time with. I mean, have you thought about how you would like to die? I know this sounds like an oxymoron as most of us don’t want to die. However, these days, you would be hard pressed to find someone who hasn’t stood by and watched in helpless agony as a relative or loved one slowly succumbed to the ferocious and unforgiving disease of cancer, so this is a relevant and important question that needs to be asked and debated.
Should we as a society let people choose how (and when) they want to die under certain circumstances? Should we enable cancer patients to die with dignity? Should we allow these people to forego the painful end if they so choose?
It’s an extremely difficult issue. It’s something that nobody wants to think about. It’s something we hope and pray we will never have to deal with on a personal level but at the same time, so many people are dealing with it. Every single day.
The truth is that anybody can take their life at any given time by committing suicide but should we be forcing people who are terminally ill and bound to die anyway to contemplate such an act? Or should we help them by providing a medically sound means to end life on their terms instead of suffering through the final stages of a horrific disease? They would still have the choice to battle to the end if they want to. Who wouldn’t want a choice?
In a perfect world, everyone would agree about what’s right and wrong in these situations. Actually, in a perfect world, terminal cancer wouldn’t exist and it certainly wouldn’t attack good people, young and old alike. Unfortunately, this fairytale world that I speak of does not exist. We are left with the world we live in today. A world plagued by cancer. A world in which too many people will die each year unless and until we find an infallible cure. A world in which cancer patients most likely do not have the choice to “skip” to heaven.
We can’t ignore the fact that not everyone diagnosed with terminal illness wants to live through the painful end. Especially not now that Brittany Maynard has told her story to the world.
Regardless of how you feel about physician assisted suicide, you can and should feel good about Brittany Maynard and how she lived her life. As most of you know, Brittany was a 29 year old who was diagnosed with terminally ill brain cancer and relocated to Oregon after her diagnosis. Oregon is 1 of only 5 states providing a death alternative for the terminally ill. Brittany moved to Oregon so that she could die on her terms and this past Saturday, she died as she wished. She took medication to end her life. She said her goodbyes when she wanted to. She left no regrets. Brittany is proof that there are people who would choose not to suffer though the final days of cancer if they have a choice.
In the end, it’s irrelevant whether you believe that terminally ill people should or should not have the choice to die with medical assistance. You may not feel good about ending someone’s life under any circumstances or you may be an uncompromising right to die activist. You may be on the fence or you may be unsure. Whatever your stance, it’s hard to not feel good about an extremely ill woman being granted her last dying wish. This was the only happy ending Brittany could have. Brittany skipped to heaven with her dignity in tact.
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