Brittany Maynard’s death: Does suffering have spiritual meaning?

by Cathy Lynn Grossman  |  published on November 4, 2014

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When Brittany Maynard became the youthful face of the right-to-die movement, she brought to the public table several fierce debates.

Some people wouldn’t call Maynard’s death a “suicide” because, overwhelmingly, the people who commit suicide are people who have a choice to continue to live. People with a terminal diagnosis — like Maynard’s aggressive brain tumor that was robbing her of the life she said she very much wanted to live — don’t have that choice.

So is she the public face of “suicide”? Many would find the term “physician-assisted dying” more accurate.

Like the word “suicide,” “suffering” is another word that is used — and valued — very differently. By dying at age 29, Maynard signaled that carrying on while she no longer knew herself was pointless and would only prolong the agony of those who loved her.

She saw no value in suffering.