In October 2014, terminally ill cancer patient, Brittany Maynard announced that she was going to take her own life under Oregon’s assisted suicide law. Oregon is one of five states in the United States, along with Washington, and Vermont that allow assisted suicide for terminally ill patients.
In response to Maynard’s announcement, countless voices urged her to reconsider, including Joni Eareckson Tada and other terminally ill patients. One patient, Kara Tippetts, wrote Brittany an open letter sharing her own story of being diagnosed with stage four-breast cancer at the age of 36. In December, Tippetts entered hospice care but now her book publicist has confirmed that her family believes she is close to death. Kara and her husband, Jason Tippetts, have four young children and live in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Today Jason wrote about Kara’s final days.
Jason said, “Kara has written about the long goodbye, and as much as it is heart-wrenching it is also peaceful. As I write I am watching Kara wrestle to sleep. Her sleep is mixed with moving pillows for comfort, sitting up to relieve pain, taking medication, or trying to communicate with me. But sometimes her sleep is the quietest and most peaceful event of her day. My long goodbye is full of watching and reliving memories of our life together.”
He concluded, “I have an us that cannot be lost. And I still get small moments where we are us. But I grieve as I watch her fade. The peace that is in our house is amazing, peace in the midst of tears, peace in the midst of impending loss, but it is peace.”
Tippetts courage in the face of terminal cancer garnered nationwide attention and she recently published a book titled The Hardest Peace, Expecting Grace in the Midst of Life’s Hard. In her letter to Brittany Maynard she wrote, “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. With a heavy heart, I left my home and headed for my oncologist. I too am dying, Brittany.”
Tippetts continued, “Suffering is not the absence of goodness, it is not the absence of beauty, but perhaps it can be the place where true beauty can be known. In your choosing your own death, you are robbing those that love you with such tenderness, the opportunity of meeting you in your last moments and extending you love in your last breaths.”
Producer Jay Lyons, who is a friend of the Tippetts, raised more than 15,000 to create a documentary of Kara’s story. Watch the trailer for the documentary below.