Pine Nuts: Dying on her own terms
October 29, 2014
Humankind in this 21st century is finally getting imaginative about creating options when it comes to the infernally awkward act of dying. We no longer have to wait for that tap on the shoulder when the Grim Reaper comes calling, no, now we can make that call ourselves, with pastiche and élan.
Oregon is leading the way with their Death with Dignity Act. If you are an Oregonian and terminally ill, which all of us are after the age of 40, you qualify for mercifully lethal medications, and bingo, you have a ticket to, "Hello St. Peter, Hello!"
Unless you are an exalted personage who is assassinated, like Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria, and your death ignites a world war, most people are likely to remember you for how you lived, rather than how you died, as it should be. So the sooner we remove that final resignation, "Well, at least he's no longer suffering, " from the end game, the better.
We sometimes show compassion when it comes to capital punishment, then turn a blind eye to that poor soul whom has been given six months to live and might be facing an even more cruel and unusual punishment than those on death row.
In 1997 our Supreme Court ruled 9-0 that the Constitution does not include a right to suicide. Well, how could our founding fathers have conceived of physician-assisted suicide to provide death with dignity to individuals otherwise destined to die a pathetic death, as in stage four of glioblastoma.
Onto this stage steps Brittany Maynard, a beautiful bride of 29, who in January was diagnosed with stage four glioblastoma and told in April that she had six months to live. Brittany has chosen to move to Oregon and administer her own death with dignity in her own bed, with her husband and her mother at her side on the first of November.
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"Because the rest of my body is young and healthy, I am likely to physically hang on for a long time even though cancer is eating my mind," she has said. "I probably would have suffered in hospice care for weeks or even months, and my family would have had to watch that. I quickly decided that death with dignity was the best option for me and my family."
I'll be celebrating our 150 years as the Great State of Nevada on the first of November, but I will also be keeping Brittany and her family in my heart and on my mind throughout the day and beyond.
Mark Twain liked to remind us, "A man may plan as much as he wants to, but nothing of consequence is likely to come of it until the magician, circumstance steps in and takes the matter off his hands."
Well, in this instance, Brittany Maynard is taking the matter out of the hands of the magician and taking the matter of a dignified death into her own hands. She will be remembered not only for how she lived, but how she determined to die.
May Brittany Maynard rest blissfully in eternal peace.
To learn more about McAvoy Layne visit http://www.ghostoftwain.com.