11/07/2014 05:00 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Brittany Maynard: Where Does the Debate End?

If there's one thing my family and friends would probably tell you about me, it is that I can quite easily become fixated on one topic, headline or thing. Latest fashion trends, gender inequality, upcoming holidays -- you name it, trivial or serious, it's fair game. My fascination is limitless and truly knows no bounds, because once I become fixated, it's usually all I can think about until the day comes when I'm on to the next thing. Writing as an outlet lends itself nicely to this character trait.


If you were wondering, O.J. Simpson, JonBenet Ramsey and Anna Nicole Smith all made the cut.

Most recently, I've been absorbed by Brittany Maynard and the death-with-dignity headlines. Before you "X" out, this is not the typical post you've been reading. I promise.

I'm not going to talk to you about what I believe or would do, because I stand firmly in the "I've never been in that situation, and I have no idea what I would do" camp. I do have a tendency to feel like I would not have the courage to end my own life and would hold out for a miracle, however unlikely one would be; however, like I said, I can't be certain.

What I can't stop thinking about is the very realistic circumstance Brittany was faced with at my age. My age. Just the thought of it makes me shudder, which makes it seem all the more real.

Being told you have a terminal illness, at any age, is devastating. Being told you have a terminal illness at such a young age is something I cannot even begin to fathom. "Heartbreaking" doesn't seem like an adequate adjective to me.

Beyond Brittany's ultimate decision, I often find myself wondering, "What gives others, who have never been in that situation, the right to condemn this woman for something that has no impact on them?" In that same breath, are the ones who laud her, saying, "She did the right thing! R.I.P., Brittany!" the answer to the situation either?

Brittany had a choice, and she chose. What gives the rest of us the authority to judge or praise? I could spend several pages of writing breaking down the pros and cons, but that would surely not bring peace to either side, or to her family.

Whichever side you find yourself residing on, the reality is that this young woman brought to light a topic that, if I'm being honest, I didn't even know about. I will stand behind the assumption that many others did not either. Beyond that, Brittany spread a message of seizing the day, enjoying life and surrounding yourself with all the ones you love. Certainly, there is nothing to chastise about that.