Her story has been all over… Whether we elected to or not we all know about Brittany Maynard’s decision. And we have been stuck with a lot of adjectives like post-its scribbled and slapped onto something that was not up for discussion to the rest of us; Brittany made her choice without our consent or input.
I have peered shakily over the edges of this story. It hits a little close to home, okay? But it’s unavoidable and I have to say that I like some of those labels. I like that this beloved, darling, precious woman heard strangers give their unnecessary support as she walked her final days among us.
Heard us call her Brave
Heard us call her Courageous
Heard us call her Dignified
I like that. The salty beauty of choosing to honor another individual’s choice to do what nobody ever wants to have to do. Nobody. Nobody.
So it has also been with unbearably deep sorrow that I have witnessed so many – most tragically within the Christian community – vomit labels that must have stung… Or will sting the people who love her most if they ever stumble upon them.
And maybe this is out of line, but family, I am frustrated. Frustrated that anyone outside her bubble felt entitled to say – and to publish – criticism of her choice.
Go ahead and ask yourself if you have ever been there. And then humbly pocket your answer because even if you have been diagnosed, been given months, been told you’d suffer horrors, you have never been her. You have never walked her path nor are you, I can only assume, one of the humans she chose to hide her heart with. So your right to speak into her situation? You guessed it…
And I don’t want to discount the many, many valid points that everyone wants to make on both sides of the bigger issue. Her goal was to bring awareness which includes conversation so yes! Let’s! But I doubt if her heart ever volunteered itself to be subject to the kind of personal attacks her announcement elicited – especially from the Jesus people who should have been plastering up sweet reminders of a hope that doesn’t hinge on politics. Should have been painting the sky with Light as she gazed into it in her final days. Now we can only pray that she and her family turned off the internet during her final weeks so the vitriol couldn’t spray onto their grieving hearts.
Because don’t think for one second that the torture of death which haunts us all was lost on them. That they didn’t feel the ache of goodbye as they watched their daughter/wife/friend smile and suffer.
And now that she’s left this place that was hurting her like most of us can never even imagine can we *just* show compassion here? Can we be salt and light and fill the clouds with words like “hope” and “peace” and “love?”
Can we accept that her decision does not diminish or affect your decisions? That her choice to end her suffering does not mean anything has to change for how you choose to deal with yours?
Why can’t the person who chooses this path be just as brave as the one who chooses another? Are we keeping score or can we submit to the courage of every single person trying to deal with their world?
You’re brave. She’s brave. We’re all brave when we choose to deal. Life is hard and we don’t need to hurl stones at each other to validate it’s hard-ness. Let’s drop the rocks and hold hands instead to help each other find the hope that doesn’t burn out with final breathes.
There are political issues to discuss. There are votes to be had. There are implications to consider and legislation to read. But there is no reason to take away from this strong woman.
The skies are heavy and we call you Brave, Brittany. We call you Courageous and we call you Dignified.
He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever.” (Revelation 21:4)