When I first checked Twitter this morning, I wasn't surprised to see that Brittany Maynard had went ahead with her decision to end her life.
For those of you who haven't heard about this woman, she has been all over the headlines recently. A young woman diagnosed with stage 4 malignant brain cancer, she had publicly declared that she would take her life in the manner of her choosing.
Thus the media firestorm. People on both sides of the issue chimed in, although now that she actually went ahead with it, the critics seemed more muted than the supporters.
Either way, this is what Ms. Maynard is quoted as saying:
"I would not tell anyone else that he or she should choose death with
dignity," she said. "My question is: Who has the right to tell me that I
don't deserve this choice? That I deserve to suffer for weeks or months
in tremendous amounts of physical and emotional pain? Why should anyone
have the right to make that choice for me?"
This is a direct quote out of a piece she wrote for CNN.
I have never known anyone in such a difficult position, therefore I chose to reserve judgment, and when I found out the news earlier today, I decided that I must have fully moved into adulthood.
My words to my husband were, "I can't say as I blame her. Only God knows the heart."
And that has been the deep truth that I have been living in for the past two years. I have been judged harshly for my decisions: to have my child, to have thoughts about perhaps not having my child, to express those feelings here, to share my deepest fears, to lay it all out in typical Stella fashion.
I learned the hard way that sometimes people are afraid to deal with my level of truth; to embrace what is not easy, to reserve judgment, and to be a friend, whether or not they understood my dilemma.
These people are no longer a part of my life.
Oh, they may think they are...it's easy to hide behind the word "busy" and make assumptions about me in my absence; but if I haven't heard from you in over a year, I think it's safe to say that our relationship has ended.
The good news is that although certain people chose to stand rooted in their judgements of me, other people stepped up and chose to support me no matter what.
I've always said that friendship is not just for the good times. It's kind of like a marriage: for better, and for worse. The problem is that most people don't believe that any more.
My husband and I do, but we're rare specimens.
The even better news is that I figured all of this out before my son is old enough to understand, and to feel the first harsh sting of judgment in his own life. I am quite sure he will be judged, as we all are...but I hope I can teach him to not listen to the noise. Most people's judgments have to do with them anyway.
I wish Ms. Maynard's family peace in time. It will come. There are many things we don't understand in this world, and I believe that's where God comes in.
Like I said: Only God knows the heart.