Brittany Maynard died this past Saturday. See here:
Brittany was an advocate for death with dignity after she discovered she had an inoperable brain tumor.
Brittany chose the time and manner of her death. She died of doctor assisted suicide.
I first heard of Brittany's story last week. When I read up on her plan for doctor assisted suicide I was surprised to find that five states now permit doctor assisted suicide. See here:
While I am saddened by the untimely death of this beautiful and young woman I was also very relieved to know that doctor assisted suicide is available in some states of this country. I did not know that until last week.
As I have mentioned several times before in this blog, I am not afraid of death or what awaits me after death, what I am afraid of is a slow, painful and agonizing death with no dignity. I am gay and have no close family ties. Bill, my husband is 86 years old. I am 73 years old.
Both of us are in relatively good health considering our age. We have both lived long and happy lives. But we will die. All of us will die.
Recently I attended the memorial service for my best friend who had descended into the hell of a slow and agonizing death with little dignity over the past ten years. I knew him well and I know that is not the way he wanted to go. But it all happened so gradually over the years. He knew he had a disease (Parkinson's) for which there was no cure, only a slow degeneration. His sister died of the same disease.
The last time I visited him at the total care facility he was at I hardly recognized him as he grunted like some Frankenstein's monster trying to communicate with us. I don't know if he was aware of us or his situation but I do know that if he was he would have chosen death over where he was at that time. We had talked about this very situation many times when we used to ride around Rehoboth Beach in the Seventies when I used to visit him on the weekends. He had seen this happen to a neighbor of his and said "Ron, I will never let that happen to me." But it did.
I've often wondered how would I do myself in (kill myself) if I discovered I had a terminal illness for which there was no cure. Bill and I have discussed this scenario many times. We have both decided that we would do ourselves in. Of course my worry is how messy it would be and what kind of scene would I leave behind. I don't want to be like Robin Williams and have someone discover my body hanging from a rope or my dead corpse in a carbon monoxide fumed garage. And of course the big worry was that I wouldn't be able to complete the job and end up a vegetable which is really hell on earth.
Thus it was with an immense sense of relief that I found out that five states in this country now permit doctor assisted suicide. What a relief. So if my prostate cancer comes back with a vengeance and spreads to other organs of my body or my bones, I won't have to undergo years of torture from the medical establishment and painful, sleepless night before I finally have eternal peace.
Don't misunderstand me, I plan to live a long time but none of us knows what kind of death fate has planned for us. Correction, some of us will know. And if I do know that I'm on that downward slide towards a painful and humiliating death in which I put my loved ones through Hell in caring for me in my final days, you better believe I'm going to make my move to one of those enlightened states that permit doctor assisted suicide.
Thank you Brittany Maynard for taking this tremendous burden off of me and many others with your courageous action. And thank you to those five states who care.