Brittany Maynard underwent euthanasia at her home due to her fatal illness which had become too painful.
She had been the poster child of the right-to-die movement. And the controversial position she took vis-a-vis the whole debate had landed her right at the center of the melee. Things had been gathering speed over the last few weeks and finally she killed herself on Saturday at her residence in Portland.
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Brittany was barly 29 years of age. She bade farewell to her near and dear ones. She spoke of how Saturday was the day she had decided to give up her life with integrity and honor instead of dying in pain and regret.
She spoke of the worsening brain cancer that had affected her so badly. She said that the earth had been a truly fantastic sojourn and she especially enjoyed travelling around the globe.
Brittany wrote on her Facebook page that her family and friends were gifts of God and she mentioned that many of those close to her had formed a group around her bed as she was punching away at the keys. Finally she said her last goodbyes and that was that. It was a tragic end. The sort that truly brings tears to one’s eyes.
Brittany Maynard last words are: "Goodbye to all my dear friends and family that I love. Today is the day I have chosen to pass away with dignity in the face of my terminal illness, this terrible brain cancer that has taken so much from me … but would have taken so much more. The world is a beautiful place, travel has been my greatest teacher, my close friends and folks are the greatest givers. I even have a ring of support around my bed as I type … Goodbye world. Spread good energy. Pay it forward!"
Physicians had handed Brittany an ultimatum. She had barely six months more to live. Her disease was a brain cancer that refused to go away. However, Brittany caught the world’s attention when she announced that she wanted to die peacefully of her own accord instead of at the hands of the terminal illness.
The procedure would be administered under the Death with Dignity Act and it would consist of an overdose of sedatives that would take her into a coma and further into the dark and bony arms of death. She said that her disease was a bitter painful reality and she didn’t want to face it. She chose to die with dignity instead.
"My glioblastoma is going to kill me and that's out of my control," she told PEOPLE last month. "I've discussed with many experts how I would die from it and it's a terrible, terrible way to die. So being able to choose to go with dignity is less terrifying."
She started an online video clip campaign with Compassion & Choices on October 6 that popularized this method of voluntary dying. Brittany was very vocal about the whole thing. She said that ultimately it was a choice and there was nothing wrong about it. Those who termed it suicide were evil for they didn’t understand the gravity of the situation. If they had to die in extreme pain and frustration they would want to end their lives too.
"For people to argue against this choice for sick people really seems evil to me," she sid. "They try to mix it up with suicide and that's really unfair, because there's not a single part of me that wants to die. But I am dying."
Brittany worked for expanding the laws even beyond Oregon so that people who shared a similar fate with her could end their lives peacefully and of their own accord. She had made her choice after many hours and days of cogitation. A lot of thought had gone into the decision. It was not like she suddenly decided to kill herself on a whimsical note.
She had been told by the doctors that you simply did not survive such a terrible disease. It always returned no matter how many times the tumor in the brain was operated upon by the doctors. After reading an article regarding the right-to-die movement, Brittany began having other thoughts.
She thought about it seriously and after reading all about the terminal nature of the illness on Google, she said yes to euthanasia as a method of ending her misery. Brittany simply would not consider chemotherapy or radiation as viable treatments. They made you even sicker and had bad side effects.
If she was going to die, she was going to die. It was a hard fact and she had to face it instead of hiding behind a medical establishment that proved to be in a neurotic state of denial. Finally, she shifted to Oregon which is a state that allows euthanasia on a limited basis. Her husband, mother and stepfather moved there along with her.
She did express the fact that she was tired of pretending. She didn’t want her loved ones to worry too much about her but she was feeling sicker as the days progressed and just getting through the day was a tiring experience. The last place she visited before her self-induced death was the Grand Canyon.
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She described it as breathtakingly beautiful. Brittany leaves a legacy behind her. She said that she was a good daughter and wife and that she wanted her extended family to carry on campaigning for the right-to-die movement after her death.