Terminally ill woman tells Brittany Maynard death not 'without beauty'

by Vanessa Rodriguez |

(thebrittanyfund.org)

PORTLAND, Ore. (Christian Examiner) -- "Will you hear my heart ask you, beg you, plead with you—not to take that pill?"

This was the heartfelt appeal of terminally ill Kara Tippets, 38, to Brittany Maynard the 29-year-old newlywed diagnosed with stage 4 brain cancer who is days away from terminating her own life this weekend, Saturday, Nov. 1, with legally prescribed lethal pills.

Tippets, a breast cancer patient and mother of four has publicly addressed Maynard and asked her to reconsider her decision to end her life in a guest post written for the blog A Holy Experience.

"Yes, you're dying will be hard, but it will not be without beauty," Tippets wrote to Maynard.

Brittany Maynard's decision to take her life days after her husband's birthday instead of dying in hospice has publicly drawn both criticism and compassion in recent weeks.

Maynard uprooted her family from San Francisco, California to Oregon because the euthanasia laws there allow her the use of end-of-life medicine, giving the option of assisted suicide. She has since spent her last days traveling and enjoying the little time she has left with family.

From the medical community to the media, the subject of her decision has brought controversy around the issue of "Death With Dignity."

She has publicly claimed that choosing death and volunteering her story serves to shed light on the "DWD" movement and to further the cause of "choice that should be available to all terminally ill Americans."

Her most recent statement defending her decision was in response to comments from Dr. Ira Byock of Providence Institute for Human Caring during a Diane Rehm radio show. It was there that Byock said Maynard was "exploited" by the end-of-life group Compassion & Choices. The organization helped Maynard launch an online video campaign on Oct. 6.

After the show Maynard wrote on Diane Rehm's website, saying "I made my decisions based on my wishes, clinical research, choices, discussions with physicians, and logic. I am not depressed or suicidal or on a 'slippery slope.' I have been in charge of this choice, gaining control of a terrifying terminal disease through the application of my own humane logic."

But can logic be made of the "impossibility of understanding" that one day a loved one's story could be made "beautiful in her living because she witnessed my dying," Tippits notes in regards to her young daughter and her own family's path toward her eminent death.

Tippetts has thanked Maynard for sharing her story and shedding light on what is happening in Oregon, but implored her to know that "When we trust Jesus to be the carrier, protector, redeemer of our hearts, death is no longer dying."

"Hastening death was never what God intended. But in our dying, He does meet us with His beautiful grace."

Tippets is also the author of the new book The Hardest Peace. You can follow her story on her blog Mundane Faithfulness.

As both women face terminal illnesses with their respective convictions, researchers continue to chase ways to treat and cure cancer.

According to BBC News, a potential brain cancer cure that uses artificial stem cells to create cancer-killing toxins is being tested successfully on animals. The next stage of the research requires testing on different brain tumors. Human clinical trials are about five years away.