Brittany Maynard, the woman who said she wanted to end her own life because of a terminal brain cancer diagnosis, lived out her final months exactly as she wanted.
Before going public with her decision to move to Oregon to “die with dignity” in a state with physician-assisted suicide laws, Maynard, 29, had clear goals that she wanted to accomplish before dying.
She was diagnosed with an aggressive form of brain cancer Jan. 1 and doctors predicted she had months to live. She decided then to take life-ending medication on Saturday, Nov. 1, and was sure to fill those 11 months with the top trips on her bucket list.
"The world is a beautiful place, travel has been my greatest teacher, my close friends and folks are the greatest givers," she wrote in a Facebook post she wrote shortly before she died.
Her struggle and advocacy for the controversial right-to-life cause was publicized by a group called Compassion and Choices that is working "to expand the death-with-dignity option to all," according to its website.
In Maynard’s last video posted on the site, she said, "When people criticize me for not, not like waiting longer or whatever they've decided is best for me, it hurts because really I risk it every day that I wake up and I do it because I still feel good enough and i still have enough joy and I still laugh and smile with my family and friends enough that it doesn't seem like the right time right now but it will come because I feel myself getting sicker I feel it happening each week."
When she first announced her decision to end her life, she said that she picked Nov. 1 as her final day because it is the day after her husband's birthday and she wanted to spend Halloween celebrating with him. She followed through on Saturday.
"If November 2nd comes along and I've passed, I hope my family is still proud of me and the choices I've made," she said in the undated final video.
She noted that her health has been deteriorating in recent weeks, and that there had been one day where she experienced two seizures, something that had never happened before.
"I remember looking at my husband at one point and thinking I know this is my husband but I can't say his name," she recalled thinking after one of those seizures.
"If all my dreams came through I would somehow survive this but I most likely won't so beyond that having been an only child for my mother I want her to recover from this and not break down and not suffer from any kind of depression," she said in the video.
When she first went public with her plan, she said that she was going to die in her bed after taking prescribed medication to end her life, with her husband, mother, stepfather and best friend by her side.
"I even have a ring of support around my bed as I type," she wrote in her final Facebook post.