• Christopher Tanner

Personal Thoughts on Brittany Maynard and Respect

Brittany Maynard’s Decision

Brittany Maynard chose to end her life by way of assisted suicide on Saturday November 1, 2014. This is a well-known story, a story I’m sure we’ve all heard about and probably had feelings on. So why am I writing about it now?

There are a few reasons why I felt the need to put my two cents worth in. This story touched me deeply. She was an incredibly strong woman, in my eyes. She chose to die with dignity rather than letting her illness take her, slowly and with great suffering. It should have stopped there. This story should have passed away with her and allowed her family their time to grieve and remember the person that she was. However, there were numerous comments posted by many Christians (and I’m sure other faiths) that said she was Damned, she was going to Hell, she was a coward.

This upset me a lot. Probably more than it should have. After all, I never met her. First off, most, if not all, of these commenters didn’t know her either. They took this moment in this woman’s life and death to spread their religion, of which they have zero proof. Zero. “How can you take your own life? God will damn you to Hell! God had a plan for you and you ruined it!” This got me thinking. When would it be acceptable to do this in these Christians’ eyes? I thought to September 11, 2001, and watching, horrified and helpless, as people threw themselves from over 100 stories to their deaths. How many comments about those poor people? Any? As they were falling did these Christians yell out, “You’re going to Hell, ya know! God had a plan and you bailed.” I doubt it.

So then I read an article about a man whose father died of the same disease as Maynard had. He fought the good fight, but of course lost in the end. This man took great care of his father until the very end. He seemed to be upset that his father was considered to die without dignity since Maynard’s story came out. So this brings me to dignity. After all, that’s what Brittany wanted. To die with dignity.


I can’t even fathom the conversations and tears that she and her family shared as she came to this conclusion. So, did she die with dignity? Did the gentleman’s father die with dignity, who chose to fight it all the way? I think the dignity is more for the family’s sake then their own. Let’s face it, they’re gone. Maynard’s family was with her until her very last breath. The gentleman and his family was with his father until his last breath. So the key would be: ask the families. I’m sure Maynard’s family would say she died with dignity, just like she wanted. So therefore, she did what she set out to do. Ask this gentleman if his father died with dignity. I’m sure he’ll say yes as well.

In conclusion, it really doesn’t matter what my thoughts are on whether she did the right thing or not. I am glad, however, that she was able to have that choice. It was a choice she made with her family having her back 100%. That’s all that matters. In the end, she did what she wanted to do. Dignity and all.

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