I thought I hid the jerks from my newsfeed during the last election cycle, but nope, they’re popping up again now that Brittany Maynard has died. The 29-year-old, who wanted to live, by the way, chose a dignified, medically assisted death yesterday after the course of her fatal brain cancer became too much. I’m hearing lots of damnation about her soul. Are you kidding me? Hey judgey religious types, maybe stop being an a-hole about something that doesn’t concern you. I know that is very hard, what with your obsession with buttholes that don’t belong to you, but try to not to pour salt into the wounds of a family who just lost their daughter. It’s rude.
Fine, maybe you don’t agree with dignified death movement. I have news for anyone who hasn’t dealt with Hospice. Healthcare providers already help the death process along by prescribing morphine. In the final days and hours of many peoples’ lives, they are administered morphine which has two effects: eases pain and . . oh crap I shouldn’t even tell you this because you’ll explode in some hell fire . . . speeds up death. The actual cause of death for many people on Hospice is basically a morphine overdose. Sure, they have cancer and would have died 12 hours or two days later anyway, but they don’t. They die from too much morphine. So what’s the problem with Brittany Maynard again? All she did was bring the dignity of death into the light.
Condemning a dying person for not feeling every ounce of the agony of death reminds me of another judgey crowd: birth shamers. There are camps of people who think anyone who gets an epidural or has a c-section is a terrible person and I’m sick of that little war too.
Think about it. Birth and death are so similar. They are natural processes that modern medicine can augment to give us choices, and some of those choices are greatly shamed for some reason. We can prolong pregnancy to combat premature birth and no once argues with that, but nurture that baby with anything but breast milk even if you had a mastectomy and listen to a lecture. I was once told by another mom I didn’t really give birth since I had an epidural. Ha! I’ll take my 2007 abs back now.
On the other end of things, the human life expectancy used to be like 30 years. Now we have vaccines, medicine, detection equipment, therapies, procedures and an insight into disease prevention we didn’t have 100 years ago. That’s awesome if those things can help you live a better life. Sometimes they can’t. The worst shame seems to be how people handle the end of their lives, when those things run out. And they will. It’s coming to us all.
Virtue is not how much pain you can take, but accepting inevitable circumstances with grace. The bravery to face your death is the high ground.
We should be praising people who take control of their own lives, even at the end of them. Frankly, it’s hubris to think you’ll never die and anyone who skips the final stages of agony by choice is “bad”. You’ve never stepped in the shoes of someone at the end.
Life is about quality, not quantity. Fighting for an extra week or hour of life through a haze of painful, blinding tumors mushrooming inside your skull is not quality. Where is the compassion for the living? Interestingly, I have to wonder if the same people shaming Brittany Maynard for her choice are the same types who agree with putting an animal out of its suffering? Or agree with killing a healthy animal so they can enjoy a steak dinner?
Once again, an adult human woman is condemned for her choices about her body. Tell me something new, I guess.
Also, let’s talk about what the Bible says about judging other people. I might be paraphrasing, but I think the quote is, “nunya business, mind your own. TTFN, LOL 😉 – God “.
Rest in beautiful peace, Brittany Maynard.
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