Brittany Maynard has received worldwide attention after revealing she plans to kill herself on November 1. The 29-year-old terminally ill patient plans to take the lethal pill to end her own life.
After suffering from severe headaches, Brittany Maynard found out she had stage II glioblastoma multiforme and had up to ten years to live. However, after she had surgery, doctors found out that she had the most deadly form of brain cancer, stage IV glioblastoma multiforme. The cancer usually kills its victims in a matter of months.
After her diagnosis, Brittany decided that she wanted to move from her California home to Oregon so that she could have access to the “death with dignity” prescription. She plans to die in her home surrounded by her mother, stepfather, husband and best friend.
But, now, in an amazing letter, a woman with a similiar diagnosies has written a touching letter in response.
“My heart ached for you, and I’m simply grieved by your terminal brain tumor, for the less than 6 months the doctor’s gave you, you just past your 29th birthday,” Kara Tippetts, who is also dying, says. “With a heavy heart, I left my home and headed for my oncologist. I too am dying, Brittany.”
Kara (below right) was diagnosed with breast cancer at age 36. She has 4 young children. She continues to battle that cancer two years later as it has crossed the blood/brain barrier and has metastasized into her entire body.
Here is an excerpt from Kara’s letter to Brittany:
Dear Brittany Maynard,
This morning my best friend and I read your story.
With a heavy heart, I left my home and headed for my oncologist. I too am dying, Brittany.
My oncologist and I sat for a long time with hurting hearts for your story. We spoke in gentle tones discussing the hard path you are being asked to travel.
I came home and my friend and I sat on the bed of my five year old and prayed for you. We simply prayed you would hear my words from the most tender and beautifully broken place of my heart.
We prayed you would hear my words that are on paper coming from a place of tender love and knowing. Knowing what it is to know the horizon of your days that once felt limitless now feels to be dimming.
So hear these words from a heart full of love for you.
Brittany, your life matters, your story matters, and your suffering matters. Thank you for stepping out from the privacy of your story and sharing it openly.
We see you, we see your life, and there are countless lovers of your heart that are praying you would change your mind.
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.
I think the telling of your story is important.
It’s a discussion that needs to be brought out of the quiet corners and brought brightly into the light. You sharing your story has done that. It matters, and it is unbelievably important. Thank you.
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.
As I sat on the bed of my young daughter praying for you, I wondered over the impossibility of understanding that one day the story of my young daughter will be made beautiful in her living because she witnessed my dying.
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.
Knowing Jesus, knowing that He understands my hard goodbye, He walks with me in my dying. My heart longs for you to know Him in your dying. Because in His dying, He protected my living. My living beyond this place.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.
You have been told a lie. A horrible lie, that your dying will not be beautiful. That the suffering will be too great.
But in 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 beautyYes, your dying will be hard, but it will not be without beauty
More importantly, will you hear from my heart that Jesus loves you. He loves you. He loves you. 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 His death happened, it is not simply a story.
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.
For everyone living knowing death is eminent- that we all will one day face this it – the question that is most important. Who is this Jesus, and what does He have to do with my dying? Please do not take that pill before you ask yourself that question.
It’s a question we all must ask, as we are all dying.