Brittany Maynard shows there's more to life than vital signs

To the editor: As Meghan Daum concludes, there's no such thing as "too much information" when discussing the sad plight of terminally ill Americans. ("Brittany Maynard's date with death," Op-Ed, Oct. 8)

Prudent end-of-life laws like Oregon's remain the exception in this country. That's because religious conservatives stridently oppose such laws. They contend that if it's medically possible to sustain one's life for another day, then that's what God willed; it matters not that one's suffering becomes unbearable or restoration of sentient functioning becomes impossible.


Religious zealots should heed the stories of 29-year-old Brittany Maynard and others facing an inevitable, slow and painful death. They might conclude that a truly merciful deity would not view the mere presence of vital signs as a mandate to prolong one's life.

With courageous people like Maynard willing to share their poignant stories, the day when death-with-dignity laws apply nationwide is fast approaching. That day can't come too soon.

Sandra Perez, Santa Maria


To the editor: I read Daum's article and started to cry. My wife of 54 years, who was 75 when she died, begged me to take her to Oregon.

Before falling ill, she saw a trainer twice a week. She would go speed hiking along nature trails with people half her age. She walked so fast that she would be a block ahead of me after I had gone half a block.

On Jan. 17, 2013, we were at a wedding and got up to dance. We stumbled all over, and I thought that we had gotten so old that we could not keep time to the music. Four months later, she was dead from widespread cancer that also involved her brain.

Day by day before her death, my wife would lose more of her physical mobility. She would make lists of what to each day, including trying to go down our stairs unassisted and walk a quarter of a block. Still, her mental abilities never changed.

How we all wanted to fulfill her wish to "make a date with death" and to die with the dignity and grace that characterized her life.

Arthur S. Friedman, Newport Beach

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