Fourteen years ago on Sunday, my mom lost her battle with brain cancer (oh and leukemia..because you know…why not).
This Saturday, 29 year-old Brittany Maynard of Seattle was supposed to end her life. Brittany is suffering from the same glioblastoma tumour that my mother had partially removed from her brain…fourteen years and nine-months previously.
Brittany’s put that plan on hold for now because she’s still feeling like she is getting joy from life. I remember hearing my mom tell us she wanted to stop her treatment because she wasn’t getting joy out of her life anymore. I remember being angry because I wanted all the days I could have with her. But then I realized that this wasn’t our choice to make. This was hers.
She didn’t decide to get sick. She didn’t decide to have radiation, have her body swell, have her mouth be covered in ulcers, lose her hair. But she could decide that she had had enough.
What couldn’t she do? Decide what day would be the day. She had to go through a period of indignity before her body agreed with her decision. Ultimately, she wasn’t lucid enough to know that the time had come.
Why? Because Canada is not as progressive as Oregon is. Even Brittany had to move to a state where she could make that decision and her family were able to move with her.
Dying with Dignity Canada just conducted an Ipsos-Reid survey with 2,500 Canadians. 91% of that group agreed that a person should not be forced to endure undue suffering and the same percentage agreed that palliative care is not enough.
So exactly when are we going to change? Now that Will is getting older, I’ve started thinking about doing some charitable work for organizations that benefited my family when my mom was sick. But after following Brittany’s story and reliving my mom’s last couple weeks as I tend to do this time of year, I’m committed. I want to help legalize euthanasia in Canada. How? Not sure yet but it’s time to investigate!
I want my friends and family and selfishly, myself, to be able to have the choice that Brittany has. Because what a difference that would make to someone in their fight. I know what a difference it would have made to my mom.
Oh and on Sunday morning… have a big piece of bread smothered in butter AND peanut butter.. and wash it down with a
G&T….V&T..tall glass…lots of ice.x