Because “God’s plan”?

According to some people whom I’ve seen commenting in regards to the 29-year-old who had decided to end her life after being given six months thanks to Stage 4 brain cancer. I won’t link the articles, you’ve already seen them.

But some of the commentary pissed me right the hell off.

Because “God’s plan”, and apparently cancer doesn’t matter because “you’re not God”, and therefore it’s A-OK to live out six months in debilitating pain and being drugged up to high hell because, again, it’s somehow better than actually dying on your own terms, because God.

Fucking A, use some common sense, people. Put your Bible aside for a minute and use the brain that your own God has given you, and THINK.

The girl has BRAIN CANCER. Her death is effectively INEVITABLE, and is coming much sooner than she’d like. We all want to die at an old age in our own beds and be surrounded by loved ones, but sometimes, that death comes a lot sooner than we’d like it to. And this girl is actually choosing that death: surrounded by loved ones, in her own bed. The only problem people have is the fact that she’s actually doing it herself and ending her life before cancer ends it for her in vastly different conditions.

And you will find that she will have my full support in doing so. None of us control where we’re born or how, or whom to. But we are given a life that is ours – ours and no one else’s – to control. And if you are in her shoes, and you know that death is coming a lot sooner than you’d like, it is your right to control how that death will come.

I’ve watched people die. Some slowly, some not so slowly. I saw my grandfather, who never bounced back from a bypass surgery. I saw my boss, who had terminal cancer eat away at him and the high-end painkillers wrecked his common sense as he approached the inevitable. I had a cousin, who went through extremely aggressive chemo to battle her pancreatic cancer, and who ended up dying anyway, miserable and sick in a hospital – and she was 27. I’ve been to nursing homes, and you have no idea what it’s like inside one of those places. I truly hope you won’t have to find out. I cannot handle being inside a nursing home most days because death is, literally, everywhere in that place.

But that’s the reality of death. We don’t talk about it because none of us want to face our own mortality. But guess what: you will have no choice. If you’re reading this and you’re breathing, you have no choice whatsoever in acknowledging that you are mortal and you will, eventually, have to die like everyone else. And if you had inoperable cancer, you have even less choice than most. But again: you can die in pain and in a hospital, or you can die in your own bed, surrounded by people you love – it just might require a decision on your part as to how to go. And it’s the idea of that decision that people are shrinking away from.

Guess what: death comes for everyone. But if it’s coming sooner than you’d like, you have the choice – in Oregon, at the very least – to control on what terms it will come.

She hasn’t asked for cancer at 29. She definitely hasn’t asked for a tumor that was inoperable and effectively incurable. She’s dying one way or the other, and she’s dying a lot sooner than she wanted to. But there’s one major thing she’s doing and that’s what people have a problem with: she’s choosing the way she’s going to go.

Somehow, the idea of making a choice, an active choice, is something people are vastly not okay with.

And the main thing people are saying that she has to live out “God’s plan”. Seriously?! That is just outright insulting, and it makes me question the empathy of people saying that. How is it God’s plan for a 29-year-old to have an inoperable brain tumor? How is it God’s plan that she should spend six months in agony before dying? How is that, in any way, shape, or form, the sign of a merciful and benevolent God?

They’re advocating prayer in the commentary to the articles. Prayer is fine, and a very nice gesture, but at the end of the day, the only person who will feel better is the person who’s doing the praying. Prayer is a placebo; it makes a person feel like they’re doing something without actually doing anything. You can pray for someone who wants to get a job, but sending their resume out somewhere does a whole lot more than appealing to a deity. That’s just fact, people. Get mad all you want, but I’m sure that if I had the flu, your prayers would have much less effect on me than hot tea, NyQuil, and chicken soup.

God’s plan… I’m sorry, but I cannot swallow those words. The fact that people pull that out in the commentary just galls me to high hell and back. I just cannot possibly fathom how people can pull out God’s plan to somehow talk someone out of a decision that is their own and no one else’s, and how God’s plan is somehow encompassing an inoperable brain cancer. The logic breaks on it. Faith is faith, but let’s face it: her decision to end her life in the face of a much worse death is her right. Don’t quote God or the Bible on this. Just think about it this way: what would you do in her shoes?

Me? I’d do the same thing. I’m healthy, yes, but I’m her age. What if that were me? What if that were me given less than a year to live?

It’s basic compassion, people. Pulling out the God’s plan line only makes it obvious that you lack basic compassion and being sanctimonious has never, not once, substituted empathy. You’re not better because you’re justifying your stance with religion.

Render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s, render unto God what is God’s. Remember that verse? Her decision is hers. She’s already on the way out; let her at least have that much.

K.G.

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2 thoughts on “Because “God’s plan”?

  1. Thank you for writing this piece. I found myself recently having to defend this woman’s right to make such a choice on separate occasions of articles about her being posted. That anyone should have to defend their right to make such a difficult decision at such a heartbreaking time is appalling to me. Hopefully at least some of these people will learn to be better people in future if they ever find themselves in a similar situation with a loved one.

    1. The fact that people can actually even get on their religious high horses in the face of someone having to even make that decision in the first place is galling.

      The sad part is, until they are in that woman’s shoes, and until someone close to them is in those shoes, it doesn’t even remotely cross their minds that they too would have to make the same choices. And what’s worse is that inevitably, when they are called on their hypocrisy in such a stance, they all go, “Well, my case is different”. No. No, it’s not. The only difference is that they haven’t given two shits until it happened to them.

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