Oct 10, 2014

let's go there

Sometimes you just have to say things. And not be afraid of a reaction or consequence. No I am not talking about white hot anger saying things. But things that my not be to everyone's liking.

There's a young woman called Brittany. Who is terminally ill with the same cancer that my Dad had. Multiforme Glioblastoma. Highly aggressive brain cancer. Brittany has grade 4 cancer, again the same grade that my Dad had. Incurable and the worst stage you can have. I have walked the path that Brittany's loved ones will walk. I know.

Brittany & her husband have moved to a state in the US where she has access to a suicide pill. And she plans to take it on November 1 this year. In her interview she has researched the disease and has a very good, rational grasp on what the months ahead would look like for her and her family. And she is 100% right in what she says. I know. I have lived it.

Then there is a response.

From a christian lady called Kara Tippets with terminal breast cancer via Ann Voskamp's blog, A Holy Experience. The price is entitled "Dear Brittney: why we don;t have to be so afraid of dying and suffering that we choose suicide."

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.
I have no doubt that Kara is well meaning and believes in what she is saying. And perhaps Brittany is scared of dying. But I can say that different cancers mean very different deaths. I am not sure what breast cancer is like at the end but I can tell you what brain cancer is like. It is vile.

Watching my Dad suffer for the last months of his life, robbed of speech, the freedom to go to the toilet when he chose, to eat more than liquid slop was horrific. I am a daughter and watching the life slowly ebb from by fathers body did not make my story beautiful. We eventually had to keep the grandchildren away as Poppa was so scary looking. We did not meet Dad in his last moments, his final weeks were torture and he went to heaven alone. And looking at him afterwards, his death was not peaceful. (Sorry if this is too much information)

I just think we need to be careful of what we say to people who are suffering. Brittany has a cruel and highly aggressive brain cancer. It is not breast cancer or any other cancer. She is not going to die in a way that is in any way shape or form, kind or tender.

Yes, I know that God's Grace was in my Dad's life and death. But if my Dad had wanted to take a (legal) suicide pill, I would have helped him. I would have done anything to spare him his suffering.

God does give life and God takes away. But my God is also incredibly graceful and loving. And I believe that he meets us where we are.

Brittany is now the poster child in the states for "death with dignity" movement and I am not sure how I feel about that. But I do know that I am less judgemental than I was 7 months ago and much more merciful. And I would have done anything, anything to spare my Dad even a moment of what he went through.


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  1. Oh Sammy thank you for sharing those final months weeks moments of your Dads ;( silent tears fell as I read xxx

  2. I personally think she should be able to chose that path without judgement. Its a shame people feel that way. No one knows what its like unless they are the ones walking that path and every situation is different.....good point! xxx

  3. It's so easy to judge when you aren't the one living the moment. Life is not black and white even though we mostly try to make it so. I so enjoyed spending those precious hours with you the other night. I have so much admiration for you lovely lady, in the inspirational way you live your live, and your willingness to fight so fiercely for those you love. So blessed to call you friend xx

  4. how come some of the comments that were here before are gone (deleted?), including your own?

    1. Hi Maria, its the comments system I have called intense debate. Sometimes the link between it and my blog fails. It drives me dilly ;-)

    2. Oh, good to know - sort of. At least it's not you being upset by what was said here before :)

    3. Sammy and Maria, the Intense Debate comments disappear if someone comments via their phone, because the old Blogger comment system shows up instead; it's a real pain. To get around this, I have my blogger comments set to "moderate" so if one person comments via their phone I don't lose all the other comments. I can choose to cut and paste the mobile phone comment into Intense debate if I want (or not). Hope that helps? xx


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