A Christian woman and mother of four who is dying of cancer has penned a passionate pro-life plea to a 29-year-old woman who has made headlines in recent days for scheduling her own day to die after receiving a terminal diagnosis.
As previously reported, Brittany Maynard of California has announced that she will end her life on November 1st unless she decides “to change [her] mind about taking the medication [to hasten her death].”
On New Year’s Day this year, Maynard was diagnosed with Astrocytoma and underwent brain surgery days later to help stop the cancerous tumor from growing. She was given ten years to live.
In April, Maynard learned that the cancer had progressed to Glioblastoma multiforme, and was more aggressive than ever. She was advised that she instead had six months to live, and was informed about various treatment possibilities.
Maynard explained in a recent op-ed for CNN said that she rejected these ideas because they would impact her “quality of life,” and also decided not to pursue hospice care because she did not want her family to watch her suffer.
“Because the rest of my body is young and healthy, I am likely to physically hang on for a long time even though cancer is eating my mind,” she wrote. “I probably would have suffered in hospice care for weeks or even months. And my family would have had to watch that.”
Maynard outlined that she then began researching euthanasia, or as she called it, “death with dignity,” and concluded that it was her “best option.” However, because euthanasia is illegal in California, she and her husband moved to Oregon, which passed a law allowing the practice in 1997. Approximately 750 people have died under the legislation since its enactment.
The 29-year-old then obtained a prescription for a pill that would hasten her death, and has also decided to establish a fund that will go toward efforts to legalize euthanasia in other states.
But wife and mother Kara Tippetts, who was diagnosed with breast cancer at age 36 and continues to battle the cancer that has now metastasized into her entire body, recently penned a public letter to Maynard to urge her not to end her life. From one dying woman to another, Tippetts explains why she counsels Maynard not to take death into her own hands, but to entrust her life to the hands of the Savior.
“Dear Brittany Maynard, this morning my best friend and I read your story,” the letter begins. “With a heavy heart, I left my home and headed for my oncologist. I too am dying, Brittany.”
“Brittany, I love you, and I’m sorry you are dying. I am sorry that we are both being asked to walk a road that feels simply impossible to walk,” Tippetts continues. “[But] in your choosing your own death, you are robbing those that love you with the such tenderness, the opportunity of meeting you in your last moments and extending you love in your last breaths. … That last kiss, that last warm touch, that last breath, matters—but it was never intended for us to decide when that last breath is breathed.”
She pleads with Maynard not to take the fatal prescription.
“You have been told a lie. A horrible lie, that your dying will not be beautiful. That the suffering will be too great,” Tippetts writes. “[I]n my whispering, pleading, loving voice dear heart—will you hear my heart ask you, beg you, plead with you not to take that pill. Yes, your dying will be hard, but it will not be without beauty.”
The wife and mother of four, and author of the book “The Hardest Peace,” also shares the gospel with Maynard, encouraging her to put her faith and trust in Christ.
“Knowing Jesus, knowing that He understands my hard goodbye, He walks with me in my dying,” she explains. “My heart longs for you to know Him in your dying. Because in His dying, He protected my living. My living beyond this place.”
“Brittany, when we trust Jesus to be the carrier, protecter, redeemer of our hearts, death is no longer dying. My heart longs for you to know this truth, this love, this forever living,” Tippetts continues. “He died an awful death upon a cross so that you would know Him today that we would no longer live separate from Him and in our death. … He died and He overcame death three days later, and in that overcoming of death He overcame the death you and I are facing in our cancer.”
“He longs to know you, to shepherd you in your dying, and to give you life and give you life abundant—eternal life,” she shares. “For everyone living knowing death is eminent—[something] that we all will one day face—this is the question that is most important: Who is this Jesus, and what does He have to do with my dying? … It’s a question we all must ask, as we are all dying.”