A few weeks ago, news spread around the world about a 29-year-old terminal cancer patient, Brittany Maynard, who plans to end her life before her disease becomes intolerable. Her chosen date of death was this Saturday, November 1st.
While it probably saddened or even shocked some that a vibrant young woman would plan her own premature departure from this world, I don’t pretend to know the many complex emotions of dealing with a terminal diagnosis.
However, there’s an update to this sad story that is actually pretty uplifting.
Last weekend, Ms. Maynard visited the Grand Canyon, supposedly as the last item on her bucket list. As I looked at the photographs of her smiling face surrounded by the majestic beauty that is the Grand Canyon, it was hard to reconcile that at that point, she was just days away from her chosen date with death. But in a video released yesterday, Ms. Maynard says she is postponing her decision to end her life.
"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," she said.
Her line "I still have enough joy” is so powerful. I can’t help but think that some of that joy comes from her visit to the Grand Canyon. Her smile in the photographs hints at a person so full of life and engaged with those around her.
It is still difficult to imagine what someone in her situation is thinking and feeling. But for now, I’m happy to celebrate that her joy trumps her escape from pain and agony.
If joy can overcome these tough challenges, just imagine what a little joy can do for the rest of us facing our much smaller daily hills to climb.