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Letter: We should have the right to die on our own terms

We should have the right to die on our own terms

In the My View titled, “Life is a great gift, even amid suffering,” the writer stated that we haven’t the right “to run from suffering and … to decide when we will snuff out our own magic.”

She took issue with the late Brittany Maynard’s decision to die by taking a drug cocktail to end her life before her terminal brain cancer caused her intense physical suffering, and to spare her family emotional pain.

The writer implied that Maynard, rather than face death naturally, chose to run, referring to her as “the poster child for euthanasia.”

The common belief that God gave humanity free will should be noted – one point the writer overlooked.

As one who witnessed my husband and stepmother die agonizing deaths from cancer, I respectfully disagree with the writer. Bedridden with pain that no opiates could alleviate, my stepmother wished I could “just pull the plug” to end her suffering. She had breast cancer that metastasized to her bones. Those who have witnessed someone die from that can attest to the horrific pain their loved one endured.

Maynard’s seizures caused her increasing pain and physical decline. Her decision to end her life on a predetermined date wasn’t made lightly.

For the writer to assume that Maynard’s mother, given the choice now, might “prefer to help her daughter through her suffering,” is debatable. Maynard gave her family the unselfish gift of memories filled with a life well lived, and a “good death with dignity,” not lingering images of horrific suffering.

How we die when handed a painful prognosis should not be forced upon us by other’s political or religious standards. How we live matters. That’s the magic!

Deborah L. Chambers

Tonawanda