This is a picture of my Dad. He died on February 13, 2014. 3 days before his 67th birthday and many many days too early.
He was diagnosed with stage 4 colon cancer and 4 weeks later he was gone. He knew what he was up against but he had this fight in him that I’ve never seen in my life. The chaplain in the ER came to his bedside and asked him about an advanced directive and he just looked at us with tears rolling down his face and said “Well this is it. I either make it or I don’t. I love you all and I’ve always just wanted the best for you.” He wanted so badly to live. To fight this. Like so many with cancer he didn’t get that chance. Did he suffer in the interim of his fight? Hell yes he suffered. Did things happen to him he would have much rather his daughters not have to see? Absolutely. But I can tell you this much…..he didn’t die undignified. He died with his daughters holding his hands and looking as dashing as always. It actually was the most dignified, peaceful, and heartbreaking thing I’ve experienced.
My Dad was there and in one final breath he was gone. Forever gone.
I didn’t start blogging again after 2 years to tell you this sad story without a point. My point is simple…..a death while fighting for your life isn’t dying undignified. Whatever that fight looks like it’s damn sure not undignified.
My take on this story of Brittany Maynard is simple. I have no idea what it’s like to be diagnosed with cancer or be told this tragic news. She however has put her opinion of her life out for us all to think about and start talking about. While I feel so sad for her and the tragic news she has received about her own life I am appalled at the people calling her decision to kill herself brave and courageous so that she dies with dignity. It’s not about religion for me nor is it about my feelings on mental health and suicide (don’t get me started with either of those topics) it’s simply about one thing…..My Dad. I’d give anything to hold his hand one more day….whatever suffering came with that one day I’d still take it gladly. I’d help him pee. I’d hold him while he cried. I’d help him remember where he was. I’d do anything for just one more moment. Whatever that moment was. I’d introduce him to my daughter he never met.
Brittany Maynard may have 2 more days after she takes that pill. She might have 2 months. But she’s choosing to take those days away. Those moments. Those introductions never made. I can’t understand that.
Sure it’s her choice. Her body. Her life. I just wish she loved all those things enough to know that she can fight for every last breath and STILL die dignified. Still die with love surrounding her. Still make an impact on this world without making suicide ever seem right.