Lately there have been a few news stories about Brittany Maynard, a woman suffering from terminal brain cancer who has decided to commit suicide on November 1st because she does not want to go through the ravages of her illness. I can understand her decision–no one wants to endure what she is facing, but I would like to share two personal stories that convince me that she is making the wrong decision. Again, I am not in a position to judge her decision–I am just relating two personal stories that convince me that there is always hope.
My mother was born with a heart defect. Because of the time in which she was born, the doctors did not totally understand what was going on with her heart until she was well over the age where there might have been a possibility of repairing the problem. She was told as a young adult that she would never be able to have children and that she would probably not survive past the age of forty. I have a sibling, and my mother died at the age of 64. Obviously, that is not a ripe old age, and her latter years were difficult, but we appreciated having her around as long as we did. My message–doctors don’t always have the last word.
My second story is about one of my daughters. She was born with celiac disease at a time when not much was known about the disease. There were also other digestive issues involved, and she was suffering from malnutrition at the time when her brain was developing. Doctors were convinced there would be learning disabilities and other problems. We lived with the problems associated with the disease for five years. When she was about five and a half, she was healed overnight at an interdenominational prayer meeting. By the end of a week, she was eating spaghetti, dairy products, and many other things without any problem. I am very grateful to God that he healed her. Incidentally, the brain damage was also healed–she is now a lawyer.
My point is this–we, as humans, do not and should not have the last word on life and death–God is in charge. While I understand Mrs. Maynard’s decision, she needs to understand that Jesus loves her and has a purpose for her life–whatever that is. I don’t know how healing works, but based on personal experience, I know it happens. I think society needs to think about where it is going when it’s idea of supporting someone is helping them commit suicide. It has already been shown that in some European countries where assisted suicide is legal, people who are simply old are being strongly encouraged to commit suicide simply to make way for the younger generation. As a senior citizen, this is a frightening concept.
I pray that Mrs. Maynard will reconsider and that Jesus will alleviate her suffering and give her many more years of life.