A terminally ill woman who went public with her plans to end her life Saturday says she may delay her decision – but she hasn’t changed her mind.
Brittany Maynard was diagnosed with brain cancer and given six months to live last spring, and the 29-year-old moved to Oregon with her family to gain access to the state’s Death With Dignity Act.
She launched an online video campaign earlier this month with the group Compassion & Choices to explain her decision to end her life Nov. 1 with a doctor’s assistance.
Maynard said at the time that she might not go through with her plan if a stroke or seizure rendered her incapable of making the decision, or if she woke up “feeling good” – and she repeated her intentions as the date neared.
“So if Nov. 2 comes along and I’ve passed, I hope my family is still proud of me and the choices I made,” Maynard said in a new video posted online by People Magazine. “And if Nov. 2 comes along and I’m still alive, I know that we’ll just still be moving forward as a family, like, out of love for each other and that that decision will come later.”
Maynard recorded that video at her Portland home Oct. 13 and 14, about a week after the first video was posted online and went viral.
Her mother, 56-year-old Debbie Zeigler, said she has made it clear to her daughter that she supports her decision no matter what.
“No matter which way you want to do this – and the choice is yours all the time – if you want me to bathe you and feed you and go the long way, I will do that,” Zeigler said she told her daughter. “If you want me to be by your side and do death with dignity, I will do that. It is an honor to be with her in her last days no matter what they’re like. I mean that with all my heart, either way.”
Maynard suffered her worst seizure yet on a recent trip with her husband and family to the Grand Canyon, but she said she’s still able to enjoy life.
“I walk with my husband, I walk with my family and my dogs,” she said in the new video. “Things like that bring me the greatest feelings of health that I have these days … It sounds so cliché: ‘We take things one day at a time,’ but it’s like, that’s the only way to get through this.”
Maynard said she wished she could survive the brain tumor, but she’s making plans to ensure her loved ones will be happy in the likelihood that she won’t.
“If all my dreams came true, I would somehow survive this, but I most likely won’t,” she said in the new video. “So beyond that, having been an only child for my mother, I want her to recover from this and not break down, not suffer from any kind of depression.”
She also hopes that her husband can move on with his life after she’s gone.
“I want him to be happy, so I want him to have a family,” Maynard said. “There’s no part of me that wants him to live out the rest of his life just missing his wife.”
While Maynard has received an outpouring of support on social media, she’s also been the subject of intense criticism for her choice to end her life with dignity.
“When people criticize me for not waiting longer, or whatever they’ve decided is best for me, it hurts – because really I risk it every day, every day that I wake up, and I do it because I still feel good enough, and I still have enough joy I still laugh with my family and friends enough, it doesn’t seem like the right thing right now,” she said. “But it will come, because I feel myself getting sicker, and it’s happening each week.”
Watch the video posted online by People: