a Personal letter to Brittany Maynard

Brittany Maynard

I have taken great care to not write this letter.  Not because I believe I have something to say that would influence your decision, but instead, because I thought that I would receive a barrage of shit that I was not sure I could handle.  However, I cannot let the possible storm that could happen stop me from saying something to you, from my inner most self.

First of all I want you to know that I am sorry.  I feel heartbroken for you, and your loved ones, because no matter what you do, or do not do – you will not be here in the capacity that you and they had hoped and dreamed for.  I am sure that this has caused them, and you, some considerable pain and grief.  I know that things like this in my own life have done so for me.  I have read article upon article about your situation.  I understand both sides, I think, pretty well.  I can understand the mass’s fear about an epidemic of suicides.  I can also understand your statement of, “choosing to die with dignity.”  I do believe that both sides have inestimable value, and I do not negate either argument.

I do not condemn you for your decision.  I really detest the condescending and arrogant comments that say you are wrong because they do not agree with you.  I cannot say that I agree, nor disagree at the current moment.  But, I can say this. You are not a coward for wanting to live the best you can, and die as you wish.  You are under an immense amount of pressure, and not just from your illness.  You have the erroneous tidal wave of flashy human emotionalism being forced upon you.  You have the caviler exposure to cruelty and harshness, because of your firm footing, and where you are choosing to stand.  Sometimes, all I can do is shake my head at the human race, and offer a shoulder and out stretched hand to the one that supposed humanity has cause a further and serious injury.  This is what I am intending to do with you.

I know you do not know me.  I know that you don’t need anything that I have to say either. But, I do need you.

There are not many people who stick out as loudly and kindly as you do.  Your story inspires more than you will ever be able to realize.  So a loud amount of people wanna treat you with disdain and hate you for your choice, that does not make what you are doing wrong, AND did not change what you wanted to do, and what you have already done.  Of all the things I have read, I see you as a warm and loving person.  You married, and have fulfilled your “bucket list” with passion and charisma.  You have such a light with in you, it is difficult to know that you will be gone very soon.  At the same time, I cannot say that I would not do the exact same thing.

What of the loss?  Do you feel that you are gone already?  In many ways your reflection has changed as a result of your current fight.  Change, though inevitable, cannot be stopped.  We all are changing every moment of every day.  But “normal” change is expected, while mal-adaptive change is not.  You have a knowledge about what has been, what is now, and what to expect.  The fact that you were diagnosed and that the illness has progressed as ferociously as it has has changed you and the world around you forever.  This was what spurned you on to make a decision that is so much more that just life and death.  You are brave. You are strong.  You are loved.

I am praying for you this morning.  Not praying that you will change your mind, but praying that you will find peace – no matter what your ultimate decision will be.

I have been suicidal many many times.  I came to the conclusion that the world would be a much better place without me.  I was so afraid of hurting other people that I tried to eliminate the possibility by taking my own life.  Obviously it didn’t take.  I have been in pain too.  I have been given chemo therapy, pills and medications ad infinitum, I have gained more than 200 pounds, and lost only 100 of it, I have brittle bones, poor immune system, constant migraines, and I am losing my hearing.  I have been through abusive situations that completely mess with my head, and usually, for the most part, people do not believe me.  That is okay, I don’t want to MAKE anyone see things from my perspective.  It can hurt, and I do cry about it, but I believe me – and usually, that is enough.  Suicide has been a constant companionized thought in my mind.  Some days I just want a break!  I sleep, on average, 45 mins a night, and when I sleep I am flooded with PTSD-istic ‘dreams.’  My life feels more like an “experiment in terror” rather than something to be pursued.  Yet, I do have moments that make me smile.    Little moments that mean more to me that all the horror and the pain.  I treasure these moments, and value them highly.

I know that you understand a lot of that.  Mental anguish, painful body, disturbing medication (and weight gain) and mental image.  Some days the future can seem more bleak and effed up than anything else, and fear can cause me to make a decision that I can be quite impulsive about. This I don’t see in you, and I find that admirable.  You are doing your very best, and you are living every day to the fullest, and then you are planning to die with the dignity you recognize that you deserve.  I hope that things go as you hope that they will.

You have inspired and infuriated many many people.  The best part of that, is that you are getting people aware, and causing them to think and feel about something that most tend to hide from.  That deserves a standing ovation, and so I am gonna set my laptop down and stand up and clap, please hold…

There, that was for you.

What ever you decide to do, I am proud of you.  If you change your mind, or if you follow through – either way, you have caused a sensation to a society that had a heart as hard as Carbyne my dear dear exemplar.  That is a pebble dropped in a calm pond that will cause a ripple effect that can in NO WAY be measured … at least not presently.

Thank you for your passion.  Thank you for being brave.  and thank you for being “real” and honest.

God bless you Brittany Maynard.




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