The Choices We Make

This is one of the hardest blog entries that I have ever sat down to type. It’s not the first time that I have wanted to share these heavy thoughts; this is something that has weighed on me for over a month now…it is something that will stay, because I live with it: terminal illness and the choices made in light of that life~

It was a typical day. Earlier that week, I had noticed my left eye starting what you view in swollen optic nerves–darkened, fuzz at the top of the eye. It came and went, but I knew that at my neuro ophthalmologist appointment the next day, there could be news I didn’t feel like facing the realty of–more vision loss or waiting for the glasses. In short, my eyes were concerning me. For some normal routine, I sat down to check my email. CNN is also one of my Home page tags, so I like to try as best possible to keep up with the news. On this particular day, one bold headline read: “Dying Young: Why Brittany Maynard’s Story Resonates.” Assuming it to be a story that could bring some inspiration to my day, I stated reading the article. I couldn’t even hardly finish it. I couldn’t even watch the news video in that sitting. Like a child learning lessons of reality, I felt I lost a sense of innocence. I felt everything in me just crumble, world turned upside-down and I literally thought I was going to be sick.

I got up from the table and my mind is a whirlwind. It didn’t help  that I was home alone at that time…even then, I am not sure that would have made a difference then anyway. I emailed my Dad at work and told him that I was struggling with this–and added the article link. I figured he had already read it. After sending it, my inbox popped in a new message from a dear friend, just checking in and replying some possible dates to get together. I responded and asked for prayer, because I truly just felt so lost. As if instant message texting, she said she would and that I should also talk it out with someone. That night, Dad and I briefly did–and I went to bed still distraught: how could choosing to end your life be one of dignity? All I saw was selfishness.

Brittany’s decision to end her life, “freeing” herself from physical suffering, by the Death with Dignity is the first that I had heard of this medical choice. Not that I live completely sheltered to these things, but it certainly is the complete opposite of what I discuss with my doctors. So my first few days after reading the article, I went back and forth in my own mind, body and emotions from thoughts of pride–“I have terminal illness too, rare with no cure, brain and spine tumors, a dying body with no treatment options, pain and frustrations…if I can, you can!” Then I would get sad, my soul just burdened for the loss of hope she had, as if she had none…and then I thought of others who would or have followed in those steps…then I thought of their families and loved ones and how it affects them; I thought of my family and the sacrifices they make and we never really talk about how they feel, because they are wanting to help and know how I feel. I struggled so bad with the concept of selfishness, because when you turn to dependent living, you struggle with the thoughts that your needs are too much and taking of other people’s time (plus just throw in my personality anyway) and there is not a day when I do not struggle with these thoughts. I am having to learn to  be my own voice and give a single answer, no more mingling in the middle and as I am learning this, I am dealing with all these other emotions that I never talked out, only but once to my old roommate over Skype a week before Brittany ended her life. I often wondered how much I could not see–the spiritual battle inside me.

On the day Brittany made her choice, I stood in the study room, grasping my walker handles for balance, because I wept. It was only in the following days that I talked in tears to my family and slowly began to release what I had in my heart for so long. How can one person’s choice make such a forceful impact? It wasn’t just me that was effected, this I am sure. It no longer penetrates, but it did stir in me the need to continue to share the hope I have found in physical suffering–

Everyday, the choices we make echo into eternity.

A choice is set before you now
Living or dying, blessing or cursing
You know, the time has come around
To turn from your fighting and rest in his mercy

Choose life, that you might live
The life that He gives, He gives you forever
Choose life, the way that it’s true
From the One who chose you, your Father in heaven
Choose life

Trust the Lord with all your heart
All of your soul and all of your being
Hold on, listen and obey
Surrender your life into His keeping

Choose life, that you might live
The life that He gives, He gives you forever
Choose life, the way that it’s true
From the One who chose you, your Father in heaven
Choose life

And the weight you’re under
Will be lifted away and the world will wonder
What happened here today?
Then you’ll stand right here and say

Choose life, that you might live
The life that He gives, He gives you forever
Choose life, the way that it’s true
From the One who chose you, your Father in heaven
Choose life

Big Tent Revival. “Choose Life.”


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11 responses to “The Choices We Make

  1. Your posts always touch a chord, but this one especially so – we find out soon if hubby needs surgery on an NF2 brain schwanomma, or whether (keeping everything crossed), the chemo has worked to at least stop growth. Please keep on writing. You are not alone.

    • mel

      I will keep this in prayer. Never hesitate to send me a message to my email (via Contact Me tab) if you ever need anything else to pray for or just need to vent NF2 thoughts. 🙂

  2. Sheron Gibbs

    Melinda you are such a Blessing to so many. Thank you for sharing your heart in truth and with Love for others. You may never see the impact of your testimony, but may many lives will be turn to God in in their desperation. God has gifted you in His word and ability to express all that He means to you. What FAITH ! Keep holding as we keep praying for you. Love your insights…

  3. Calli Morgan

    My dear sweet friend. I love you and your words so much. I so wish you didn’t have to suffer or have any pain at all, but you suffer BEAUTIFULLY. Your life glorifies God in profound ways. I am so thankful for your heart and the grace with which you live your life. You have and continue to teach me and I am so grateful for every day you live.

  4. Wanda Couzens-Smith

    Melinda, my heart hurt so much when I read this post. I too had followed Brittany’s end of life choices. I then came across another woman who is fighting the same type cancer & has made the opposite choice. She posted information to Brittany…………although it probably never got to her. Yes we all make choices. I know that God is with you in the choices you have made & are making every day. I can see His light shine through you. Nightly when I pray for you, I thank God for your witness, for your love & caring of others. I know you don’t always feel like you are shinning God’s love…….but you are in many ways that you will never know. I so wish you had no pain, could see clearly & hear totally. BUT I know that God is right there holding you up & you are growing closer & closer to him………you do teach others. Sending a BIG hug to you.

  5. A.B.

    Mel – you are beautiful. Your choice for life strengthens us all. The ache of your suffering, when touched by the hand of God, becomes something of glory to those of us who love you.

  6. Kim Jenerette


    I often wonder what you are thinking …. your blog … this word seems so empty … as this is a peek into your soul …. your sharing of your heart encourages me immensely …. yes, Brittany had a choice …. as I view this, I ask is is this a means to self or God? I do not pretend to understand and I do not criticize the Maynard family …. I just know that you are making a choice and your choice, much more than MANY of us will ever have, is making an impact for the Kingdom of Christ …. we love you and pray for you often ….

    Uncle Kim

  7. Jolene & Richard Dutton

    Mel that was one of the best blogs. The faith is what carries us when we cannot carry ourselves I love you dearly and know any one would help you gladly if given the chance. Always your grandma

  8. Kayla

    Keep fighting Melinda. Our family loves you!

  9. Your thoughts and emotions were so touching Melinda. The way you are living your life for our Lord and Savior is such a testimony to His strength. What a strong witness you are for God. We continue to pray for you as you continue to go through changes with your health asking that our Lord helps you through each thing that happens to you and that He continues to give you the strength that you need. HE PROMISES TO BE WITH US ALWAYS IN HIS WORD. TYJ! You are loved.

  10. janloyd

    I’m hugging you, dear Mel, in my heart! With love and prayer, sweet friend! Jan

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