If you live in America, you are sure to have heard about Brittany Meinard and her terminal cancer which has prompted her to take matters into her own hands and decide the day she will die. It will be in 3 weeks from now, the first week in November. She is also advocating for the law to be changed throughout America and for everybody who is facing a terminal condition to be granted the choice to “die with dignity.”
This is my open letter to Brittany:
“Dear Brittany, I am so sorry to hear about your condition. But most of all, I am so sorry to hear about your decision to end your own life, before suffering and incapacitation set in. I do not write this letter from an idealistic and lacking real perspective point of view.
You see, this time last year, I was pregnant with expectation, joy and idealism. I was carrying what I thought to be the fulfilment, the completion of my picture perfect family, a wonderfully gorgeous baby boy.
Brittany, that boy was born in January. He brought us joy and he has done us proud. Proud of what, you would ask?
Oh, you wouldn’t believe it, but our baby boy was diagnosed with leukaemia three short months after he was born, shortly after Easter this year. If he had been a grown up living in the States, in the States you are advocating for, the States where death will be free to choose when life become too messy or ugly to look at, this would have been the end of his story, right here.
But you know what? He lived for another two and a half months after that diagnosis. And he fought, oh gosh, how he fought!
You see, Brittany, without trying to shame you or make you feel bad in any way, Georgie taught us so much about living in those two and a half months.
He taught us that suffering and extreme joy, to the point of waking up at night and singing to the top of his voice, can coexist.
He taught us that there is always, always something to smile or grin about. Georgie brightened our days with his happy and relaxed personality, he was the one who paradoxically gave us strength during the ordeal of his treatment and hospitalisation.
He taught us that death can be peaceful and in a way, beautiful. His death was like a candle being blown out, nothing grotesque or scary or terrifying about it. Just a passing from one realm into the next.
Georgie taught us that life is to be treasured. To the last drop. To the last breath. Until the moment he exhaled his last breath, we stayed deeply connected, soul reaching out to soul, deep calling unto deep. If we had been robbed of even one second of that precious connexion, we would have been devastated. If we could have prolonged his life by even a minute, we would have gladly done it as we understood, with our hearts, not with our brains, what life is all about.
We miss our darling and happy boy every second of every day. We probably will until the day we die.
But would we have chosen to shorten his time with us, in order to spare ourselves and him the pain of seeing his become less of himself and more of death? No, a thousand times no.
He was and will remain our precious boy. His body transformed and towards the end became unrecognisable but his soul remained the same throughout the whole experience. He was loved and loved us till the very end.