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My Open Letter to Brittany Maynard

October 12, 2014

Dearest Brittany Maynard,

I am heart-broken through your situation. I have seen your video on Dying With Dignity’s website and although I am not experiencing your pain or facing the loss of my life, nevertheless, I think I can share a bit in your struggle. I am sorry you are going through this.

I have hyperacusis. This affliction makes normal everyday noises very painful. I have said goodbye to visits with friends and family, weddings and funerals, restaurants, and events. Even my own voice is like stabbing daggers in my ears at times. The accompanying 24/7 tinnitus that comes with this can be maddening. I am isolated from sound, yet I have a cacophony in my head. It’s quite a position to be in.

Like yourself, the affliction occurred just after being married. I became a wife on August 24, 2013 and this happened on January 18, 2014. Like yourself, I love to travel. I have said goodbye to that too. I have said goodbye to everything that exists outside the walls of my home. I too have many losses.

Thankfully I love to write and read (which comes in handy for my now needed closed captioning!), however, unfortunately, for half of my life I’ve had repetitive strain injury which limits the extent of what I can do. Inflammation and pain from my fingertips to my elbows have been my constant companion for 21 years.

So why am I writing to you? Certainly it’s not to complain.

Suicide has been an answer to some in my situation. I want to tell you why it’s not an answer for me.

I know there is a God who loves me. A God who created me in His image and granted me life for purpose. His purpose. Even if pain and suffering is a part of it.

Please know I am not standing in judgement over you, I am in tears beside you.

In your video on Dying with Dignity’s website, you said, “The reason to consider life and what’s of value is to make sure you’re not missing out.” I can assure you, by the world’s standards, I am missing out. I can also assure you that the value of our lives is so much greater than our experiences. The value of our life is not found in this world.

My value is found in what my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ did for me when He died on the cross. You know when your conscience tells you you’re doing something wrong? That’s the moral code put there by God, letting you know you’re breaking His laws. We all have. But even though I have and will continue to say and do things that offend God, Jesus chose to sacrifice His life so I am forgiven and reconciled with God. He did that for you too. God’s love and mercy is what makes us valuable.

When I die it will be on His timetable and by His method despite my weak moments when I am hoping that day will come sooner rather than later. I’m still getting used to this and it’s not easy. Just as I know your situation is not easy. But when I go to Jesus in my suffering He is always faithful to give me comfort and strength for another day. There are some days when I feel there is more purpose and joy in my life than before the hyperacusis.

When the time comes for God to allow me my last breath, I know I will have eternal life. Are you sure of what happens when you die? In this painful circumstance you are given time to think and pray about it. Many die without expecting it. You have the opportunity to come before the Lord Jesus Christ and ask for forgiveness, live in obedience, and enjoy your remaining days reconciled with your Heavenly Father. You will have assurance of eternal life in heaven. God loves you Brittany Maynard. He “desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth” (1 Timothy 2:4).

Don’t buy into the lie that you are free to murder yourself. Don’t sell yourself short by the world’s standards. You are accountable to God’s standards. You are fearfully and wonderfully made by your Heavenly Father who loves you (Psalm 139:14).

In love,

Pamela Couvrette

Our wedding August 2013

Our wedding August 2013

 

 

 

 

 

 

34 Comments

34 Comments on My Open Letter to Brittany Maynard

  1. Walter Kahler
    October 12, 2014 at 4:32 pm (3 years ago)

    Thanks Pamela for sharing the truth about suicide. In 1991 I had reached that dark place and made an attempt to end my life. God rescued me when my brother found me unconscious from carbon monoxide poisoning and called 911. I am grateful for being saved that day and It is only by His grace that I was spared. Everyday is an opportunity to do His will through Christ and I give it my best.

    Reply
    • Pamela
      October 12, 2014 at 4:36 pm (3 years ago)

      Wow Walter, what a testimony! Praise God for saving you. His acts of love never stop amazing me. Thank you for sharing.

      Reply
  2. ernest
    October 12, 2014 at 4:40 pm (3 years ago)

    Well said Pamela.
    I am praying for you both.
    I AM PRAYING THAT OUR LORD
    Will present himself Brittany and help her in this dark time..
    Lord bless you both especial you Brittany.. may God direct your every thought..

    Reply
    • Pamela
      October 12, 2014 at 4:43 pm (3 years ago)

      Hi Ernest, amen brother! Thank you for your prayers. Yes, may the Lord reveal saving knowledge and repentance to Brittany and all who are deceived. God bless you.

      Reply
  3. Margaret Welwood
    October 12, 2014 at 4:44 pm (3 years ago)

    Thank you for writing this. For some reason, this reminds me of a conversation I had with a colleague many years ago. She said that God had shown her that she could follow Him and also practice Transcendental Mediation. I was astonished, and asked, “He did?” That was all. Some time later I received a letter from her thanking me for the question. No, she concluded, God had not shown her that. Then, like Jacob, she wrestled until victory was hers.

    Reply
    • Pamela
      October 12, 2014 at 4:47 pm (3 years ago)

      Incredible! Thank you for your obedience and faithfulness! Praise God for granting victory and truth to your colleague. Our God is a good God.

      Reply
  4. Pamela
    October 12, 2014 at 4:50 pm (3 years ago)

    Thank you Lori for your comments, and I publicly thank you for your and your husband’s prayers and encouragement throughout this process. Yes, Glory to God alone! As someone once said, “I don’t do anything for the Lord, it is Him doing things through me”.

    Reply
  5. N
    October 12, 2014 at 6:12 pm (3 years ago)

    I think that she should have the choice to do it if she wants to, but she will have to face the consequences of that decision. We should pray for her and her family. 🙂

    Reply
    • Pamela
      October 12, 2014 at 6:17 pm (3 years ago)

      True, God did give us free will…”choose this day whom you will serve” (Joshua 24:15). Absolutely, prayer is vital since our battle is not with flesh and blood…but with spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places” (Ephesians 6:12). Thank you for your comment! Grace to you.

      Reply
  6. patsy
    October 13, 2014 at 3:21 am (3 years ago)

    You are a brave woman. My challenges are sooo teeny tiny compared to yours. You show me that nothing is impossible with God. Thank you for sharing! And I hope and pray, God will heal you. Lord I pray for Pamela. I think she is amazing, and I know you have a wonderful plan and purpose for her life. Forgive me if I don’t see why you won’t heal her sooner rather than later. I speak to this mountain of hyperacusis to be removed and cast into the sea. You are against every destroying mountain, Lord. Even if we go through trials, we declare that You are a faithful God, a loving God. You will not allow Pamela to face things beyond what she can stand. In Jesus’ mighty name I pray, amen.

    Reply
    • Pamela
      October 13, 2014 at 12:42 pm (3 years ago)

      Thank you so much for your prayer Patsy! A healing touch from God would be amazing. That being said, God has used hyperacusis to bring me out of a lot of false teaching. “It is good for me that I was afflicted, that I might learn your statutes.” Psalm 119:71. If He chooses not to heal me, as He chose not to with the Apostle Paul, then I’m in good company lol. Have a blessed day!

      Reply
  7. Jana Bezuidenhout
    October 13, 2014 at 4:17 am (3 years ago)

    Pamela

    I am speechless and so deeply touched that I can’t even cry. I was wondering about assisted suicide, whether it really is such a bad thing when people are in extreme pain or situations like yours, and Brittany. I discussed it with someone thinking that it might be ok, when immediately afterwards I realised that we are not our own. We were bought with a price, the blood of Jesus. Therefore He is our Master (and Friend) but we submit to His timing for our life. Reading your answer settled the issue completely for me. Still sitting with a huge knot in my throat, you just proved that God can use people in whatever situation. I can’t image what it must be like for you. I have sensory integration dysfunction so I am also often overwhelmed by any sound, but not a fraction of what you have to live with. I will be praying for you for grace.

    Reply
    • Pamela
      October 13, 2014 at 12:48 pm (3 years ago)

      Hi Jana, thank you for writing. I looked up sensory integration dysfunction as I had never heard of it. What a challenge it must be! One day we will be out this fallen world and our bodies will be perfect. Can you imagine?! You are so right, we are slaves bought with a price. Bless you sister, you have spoken the truth! Nothing is more beautiful than that. I too will pray for you. May the peace and comfort of our Lord be with you.

      Reply
  8. Rose
    November 3, 2014 at 1:48 pm (2 years ago)

    Pamela,
    I am sorry that you are going through an illness that has obviously changed your life but you have found strength and love through the Lord. Somehow I am not feeling that you truly understand what it’s like to have cancer. And especially the type that Brittany had endured. My husband of 35 years died in July of cancer. He died in our home. Thank God he was not in horrific pain, thanks to his oncologist and then hospice but he was uncomfortable, no longer able to walk or stand, barely able to eat or drink, turn himself in bed, diapered and toward the very end, breathe very well. His mind never went and he was positive until the end. No one wants to die. Brittany did not want to die, but she was going to and knew it. She made a choice not to die in pain and who knows what else. Please do not bring God into this equation, your equation. It is demeaning to that person who is in pain and is dying. I would never go through that. I am haunted by watching my husband slip away in 10 months. He was healthy but cancer killed him anyway. I was diagnosed one year earlier, to the day, with breast cancer. So, I often think of my mortality. I know that I am right with God. And He is the one who has put in my head that there is such a thing as assisted suicide. Everything on this earth is of God. Including how Brittany wanted to die. Until you are in that exact position, no one knows what they will do.

    Reply
    • Pamela
      November 3, 2014 at 2:30 pm (2 years ago)

      Hi Rose,

      Thank you for writing. I can’t imagine what you are going through. I am so sorry for your loss. I am glad your husband did not have horrific pain.

      You’re right. I do not understand what it’s like to have cancer. I have read of the pain and loss of functioning that Brittany would have experienced and it’s horrendous. And that impression is just from reading mere words. I cannot understand the daily, or rather minutely, struggle it would be.

      I bring God into this equation because we are to consider Him in everything (Proverbs 3:6). Also He is our Creator – why should we not consider Him when choosing whether to murder ourselves?

      Isaiah 55 tells us how our way is not God’s way. Our decisions should not be made by our finite understanding of things. The book of Job relates his horrific dealings and while his friends gave him terrible advice and his wife told him to “curse God and die”, Job remained faithful to God.

      True, God did create everything. He even created people to speak out against assisted suicide 😉

      You are correct – I don’t know what I would do if I were ever in that situation. I hope I would have the strength and courage through my Lord to bring me through the suffering to death on His time that glorifies Him. As the horrible and torturous deaths of Jesus, the apostles, and countless martyrs have been through. They knew what was going to happen and they could have murdered themselves before others did.

      Rose, I will pray for you. Know that when I say that, I mean it. Such a difficult time of loss and uncertainty. May the Lord Jesus Christ – the great I AM lead you and comfort you.

      God bless you Rose,
      Pamela

      Reply
      • Rose
        November 3, 2014 at 3:23 pm (2 years ago)

        Pamela,
        Thank you for your thoughts. But when one uses the word “murder” it is judgmental, in my opinion, and makes me uncomfortable. It’s semantics. People tend to go back and forth with scripture which is open to interpretation for many reasons. Christians have a tendency to even judge different denominations of Christianity. Do you think Jesus would be happy with that?
        Leave Brittany to God and let her rest in peace, that is all I am saying. Regards,
        Rose

        Reply
        • Rose
          November 3, 2014 at 3:45 pm (2 years ago)

          Pamela,
          If you haven’t done so already, read the opinion piece on the CNN website: “My mother deserved to die with dignity” by Loren Stanford. It is where I found your piece, in discussions regarding Brittany.

          Reply
          • Pamela
            November 3, 2014 at 4:22 pm (2 years ago)

            Thank you Rose, I had no idea!
            PC

        • Pamela
          November 3, 2014 at 4:22 pm (2 years ago)

          Hi Rose,

          If you are uncomfortable with the word “murder”, then I will use the word suicide which means “the act of killing oneself intentionally”. So it’s the same thing. You’re right, it’s semantics. People like to use words which make them feel better about wrong things.

          Scripture is clear once you study the original word definitions and context. We are called to judge within the church (1 Thessalonians 5:21, 1 John 4:11, etc – we are to discern what is right and wrong – how can we do that without judging?). John 7:24 even tells us to “judge righteously”. Perhaps you are referring to the verse which says “do not judge”. That verse is referring to hypocritical judging within the church body. For instance, if I were to support suicide for myself, but judge others for that act, that would be hypocritical and I am not to judge hypocritically.

          Do I think Jesus would be happy with judging (righteously)within denominations of Christianity? Well, Paul said in 1 Corinthians 11:19 that there must be divisions within the church because some people were following wrong teachers. So naturally there would be divisions. I think Jesus is happy when we obey God’s commands to judge righteously.

          I would be happy to leave Brittany to God – I wrote this letter weeks ago on October 12. I’m just responding to you. Which I am happy to 🙂

          Peace to you Rose.

          Sincerely,
          Pamela

          Reply
  9. Greg
    November 3, 2014 at 1:49 pm (2 years ago)

    Enough with this lord mumbo jumbo. This woman is living in the here and now. This is HER life..nobody else’s. Nobody has ANY right to tell her what to do with it,…especially some sky magician. Leave this woman alone. She made a sound decision. She owes nobody anything

    Reply
    • Greg
      November 3, 2014 at 1:51 pm (2 years ago)

      was living i mean..RIP Brittany

      Reply
    • Pamela
      November 3, 2014 at 2:12 pm (2 years ago)

      Hi Greg,

      Thank you for writing. If “nobody has ANY right to tell her what to do” then by that logic what right do you have to tell me what to do? She made a PUBLIC decision so I am responding publicly. As you did. I see nothing wrong with that. One day we will all have to face the “sky magician”. You are “wonderfully and fearfully made” Greg. I pray you are granted the saving knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.

      Sincerely,
      Pamela

      Reply
      • Fathima
        November 6, 2014 at 7:02 am (2 years ago)

        Hi Pamela,

        I was going through your post and indeed I am very impressed with you,your belif your courage.Its nothing other than faith in the almighty that keeps you going and I hope and pray your journey is eased out.

        I am a muslim,and I totally agree on what you say about how God is the giver and taker of life.Pamela so many complications exist on the face of the earth when Man with very limited knowledge tries to advocate decisions about every single thing.
        People have lost faith about God and they think that with all the developments that have happened in the world(which is also by the knowledge bestowed upon by god) that they could think for themselves every single thing and blindly follow rules advocated by man and not god and you could see for your self all the problem’s that man face for themselves.

        Its a pity there are only a few, deep thinkers like you.

        Good luck to you my prayers are with you.

        Reply
        • Pamela
          November 6, 2014 at 11:12 am (2 years ago)

          Hi Fathima,

          You are correct – my faith and the comfort and strength of God keeps me going.

          Very well said Fathima – that complications exits when Man tries to advocate decisions with very limited knowledge. We are a created being – how can we know what is wise, correct and good within ourselves? We need to look to our Creator. He has given us right and wrong in our conscience – do not murder, yet hearts are hardened to that command!

          So true – people have lost faith in God. Despite all of man’s lofty opinions of himself and his ways, this world is getting worse.

          Thank you my friend for your wise words and taking the time to write.

          Sincerely,
          Pamela Couvrette

          Reply
  10. Jennifer Pattison
    November 3, 2014 at 4:07 pm (2 years ago)

    Pamela,
    Hello first I am sorry about your illness however I agree with Greg, If there is a god then why all the suffering. I think she is courageous for herself and family. I have watched people die suffering and it is as hard on the family as them. Everybody to there own and bringing god into it is just tacky in my opinion. She had enough to think about without your opinion…….RIP Brittany Maynard your suffering is over.

    Reply
    • Pamela
      November 3, 2014 at 4:54 pm (2 years ago)

      Hi Jennifer,

      Thank you for writing. The Problem of Evil certainly is a popular one. I’ve included a link below to address that. You are free to have your opinion just as I am free to have mine – as you said, “everybody to their own”. I’m sorry you have had to watch people die suffering. Such tragedy.

      http://www.gotquestions.org/God-allow-evil.html

      Sincerely,
      Pamela

      Reply
  11. Laura
    November 3, 2014 at 4:31 pm (2 years ago)

    Thank you Pamela, I too do not understand how and why our Lord would afflict someone with such pain and enduring disease. I too had to watch and see my uncle/father wither away as cancer took over his life and body. But the experience made me realize there is so much to life. At the same time I had a baby with Downsyndrome and at the time it was the worst thing that could happen to me. It was a burden, it was a time of “why” “how come”.. the answers never came.. Until years later I realize the Lord didn’t give me a burden he gave me a gift. And all i have for him is gratitude. He has entrusted me with a precious gift I am to guard with my life. I know he has a special plan for each one of us. I for one will no faulter.

    Reply
    • Pamela
      November 3, 2014 at 4:58 pm (2 years ago)

      Hi Laura,

      Thank you for your comments.

      Ugh, I’m so sorry about your uncle/father. I have lost a cousin to cancer and it’s just terrible.

      I am just elated to read about your baby – your gift, and your gratitude. I have read a lot of stories about children with Down Syndrome being a joy – that they bring so much love to a family. Yes, He has trusted you with a precious gift – what a blessing!

      Peace and joy to you Laura,
      Pamela

      Reply
  12. Tom
    November 3, 2014 at 8:24 pm (2 years ago)

    So basically your entire argument boils down to ‘ending your own life is against my religion, so you shouldn’t do it either’.

    Thankfully this is not a country that runs on religious laws. You are free to believe whatever you like about suicide and the terminally ill, but don’t for a second that just because your book says it, the rest of us should take that seriously.

    Reply
    • Pamela
      November 3, 2014 at 8:54 pm (2 years ago)

      Hi Tom,

      Yes, we’re all given free will and the opportunity to believe what we like.

      Thank you for writing.

      Pamela

      Reply
  13. D. Cobb
    November 4, 2014 at 1:33 am (2 years ago)

    WOW… to compare your di-“ease” to Brittney’s death sentence. then to post your wedding photo. Plus quoting Scripture…
    Matthew 7:1. “Judge not, that ye be not judged. For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye measure, it shall be measured to you again…

    Reply
    • Pamela
      November 4, 2014 at 10:35 am (2 years ago)

      Hi D

      WOW is right! I’m not sure how to exactly respond as you didn’t give reasons for your criticisms, but I’ll do my best.

      Where did I compare my affliction to Brittany’s? In fact, the very second sentence begins to say the opposite!
      Women share wedding photos with each other.
      What’s wrong with quoting scripture? What should have I quoted from? The Quran? The Origin of Species?
      Regarding Matt 7:1
      1. You misinterpreted it. That verse is for hypocritically judging within the church body.
      2. How am I judging?
      3. While you have your bible out, check out John 7:24 which commands us to judge righteously.
      4. Aren’t you doing to me what you are accusing me of?

      Thank you for taking the time to write.

      Pamela

      Reply
      • Tom
        November 4, 2014 at 12:58 pm (2 years ago)

        “Women share wedding photos with each other.”

        Oh please, are you kidding me? ‘Yep, just writing an article against legal suicide for terminally ill people and decided to separately throw in some wedding photos, definitely no subtext here!’

        You posted that picture for a reason, and I suspect that the message you intend to send is ‘look how happy I am with my husband! you have a husband too, so don’t die!’ Please have the courage of conviction to be honest about that, or at least come up with a better excuse than ‘it’s lady stuff, not at all a comment on the topic at hand!’

        “What’s wrong with quoting scripture?”

        Nothing, just so long as you understand that it’s not an argument for or against assisted suicide.

        “2. How am I judging?”

        You’re essentially saying ‘I wouldn’t do what you’re doing, because I have faith in Jesus’ and then go on to accuse her of selling herself short and buying into lies. That’s a judgment.

        Reply
        • Pamela
          November 4, 2014 at 1:43 pm (2 years ago)

          Hi Tom,

          If you read the letter you will see I mention that I too just got married and I too love to travel. So I too shared a wedding photo.

          I never said scripture is an argument for assisted suicide.

          I was sharing my opinion. That’s not judging.

          I’m not going to go back and forth when we can simply agree to disagree and when you’re making assumptions and putting words in my mouth.

          Good day Sir, I bid you farewell.
          Pamela

          Reply

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