Dear Brittany,

You don’t know me. We have never met. While you have probably received numerous letters starting the same way, I beg of you to read mine completely. Not because I am better than anyone else, but because … just because … I guess because I know how painful suicide is to a mom. I have felt the excruciating pain it brings and watched its effect on other people I love and others I didn’t know prior.

You seem like a talented young lady and you are certainly pretty. I realize this news of an incurable brain tumor was shocking news, and “shocking” doesn’t even come close to describing it. It is horrible information to try to wrap your brain around, especially for someone so young, with so many hopes and dreams. When all this comes crashing down it is devastating! But it is not the end. I am sure you just thought “What the heck lady! This is the end. I am going to die!” Please hear me out.

It is not the end, because your memories will live on and so will your soul. Your family and close friends will always remember you and miss you. They are the ones who will live with the heartache of your death. They are the ones who will cry when they look at your picture, hear a certain song, or hear a certain phrase. They are also the ones who will live with the stigma of suicide. And I can attest that is no picnic!

Others will also remember you. It is up to you how they remember you. Will you be remembered as a good person? Pretty or beautiful? Selfish? Heroic or brave? A fighter or a quitter? I know you already have people saying you are heroic because of your decision to kill yourself on November 1st. I don’t want to get into a debate on that. What I do want to do is give you some things to think through.

When I first read your story my heart broke for you. Tears swelled up in my eyes and streamed down my face with empathy for you. And then I had anger. Anger towards what some people are saying. Anger that you are throwing away your last days. That you are quitting on life. Yes, I realize life isn’t being fair and it is giving up on you, but you shouldn’t be giving up on it. Then, I had compassion for you and knew I need to at least try to reach out to you. Who knows, you may never even see this, but at least I will know I tried.

Oh sweetie, I know life hasn’t turned out the way you had planned in your mind, in your hopes, in your dreams. No on e plans on significant brain tumors! I don’t know what other heartache you may have already experienced in life, and while I am sure this is the hardest to deal with, it is also the most important decision of your life. You see, while some family and friends may think they are okay with you decision, they will be the ones left here to pick up the pieces –to deal with the aftermath. To live with the guilt of not doing everything possible to help you fight to the very end. To have never-ending questions if what they did was right. As a mother who has lost a 20 something child, I cannot imagine living with the pain knowing I didn’t do everything possible to help my baby live to the fullest. No matter how it is done, suicide is wrong.

As an athlete I am surprised you are not fighting harder. I get you want to die with dignity, but to give up on the last lap of a 500; to not try to make a 3-point swish the last 15 seconds when down by 2; to walk off the field instead of trying to kick the last goal, to not pass the baton to the last runner is beyond me. I can’t imagine that is who you really are!

What is dignity anyway? A definition from dictionary: “True honor; nobleness or elevation of mind, consisting in a high sense of propriety, truth and justice, with an abhorrence of mean and sinful actions; opposed to meanness. In this sense, we speak of the dignity of mind, and dignity of sentiments. This dignity is based on moral rectitude; all vice is incompatible with true dignity of mind. The man who deliberately injures another, whether male or female, has no true dignity of soul. “

Brittany, we all should have dignity in our last days. This is what the doctors should be doing for you. Providing you with the means to live your last days in as much comfort and dignity as possible. You may be thinking right now this is what you are doing. However, do you see the “high sense of propriety?” You are loved! Your life is worth fighting for! Did you also see the last sentence? “The man who deliberately injures another, whether male or female, has no true dignity of soul. “ You, your doctors, family and friends should all be helping you to fight the good fight to the end and not deliberately injuring you. What you are thinking of doing is not going to give you true dignity of soul!

And speaking of your soul, do you know where yours will be? Maybe you think we are born and we die, that is it. I assure you that is not the way it is. I firmly believe, as most people in the world, there is a God. I believe the Holy Bible. I believe we either go to Heaven or Hell. And there is certainly no “dignity of soul” in Hell! “The thief [Satan] comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I [Jesus] have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”(John 10:10) Satan is the one who has brought disease and all the bad stuff. He wants to steal your joy, kill you and destroy everything about you he can. While our bodies on earth are only temporary, our souls live forever somewhere. Are you willing to let Satan win not only your earthly body but also your eternal soul?

Maybe you did pick Heaven. Are you sure you are going to get there? There is only one way and that is by Jesus. I realize you may be anti-religion. Me too. I am a Christ follower. I believe the things Christ taught and try to follow his teachings. He didn’t like all the fake religious people in his day either. Too many people have thrown Christ out with the old religious laws. Yet, that is one of the reasons he came to earth –to do away with so many of the man-made laws (and the sacrificial laws). He was and is the final sacrifice for those who believe. So I need to ask – Have you ever placed your trust in Jesus –meaning are you trusting Jesus with your life? If that is the case, then why do you not trust him with your life? If you haven’t, then please, please buy a good Bible and read it for yourself. God loves you SO VERY MUCH! He created you to have a personal, intimate RELATIONSHIP with him! And that is the ultimate why Jesus came. Jesus takes away every sin standing between you and Heaven. Can you sit on that thought for a bit? He LOVES YOU! He created YOU to have a close relationship with HIM –the creator of the universe, of everything good – chose to put YOU at the center of it all! We all go through trials, and yes yours is HUGE, but please trust Him with your life and soul! When we go through hardship we have two choices: either do our own thing or follow Him. I pray you choose to let God take the wheel of life. He knows what he is doing!

I would suggest the following few chapters or verses for you to start with. (I used NCV, unless otherwise noted.)

  • Colossians Chapter 1, especially verse 10-13 “so that you will live the kind of life that honors and pleases the Lord in every way. You will produce fruit in every good work and grow in the knowledge of God. God will strengthen you with his great power so that you will not give up when troubles come, but you will be patient. And you will joyfully give thanks to the Father who has made you able to have a share in all that he has prepared for his people in the kingdom of light.”

  • Isaiah 59:2 “It is your evil that has separated you from God. Your sins cause him to turn away from you, so he does not hear you.”

  • Romans 6:23 ” The payment for sin is death. But God gives us the free gift of life forever in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

  • John 3:16 “For God so greatly loved and dearly prized the world that He [even] gave up His only begotten ([a]unique) Son, so that whoever believes in (trusts in, clings to, relies on) Him shall not perish (come to destruction, be lost) but have eternal (everlasting) life.(AMP)([a]The Vocabulary)

  • Ephesians 2:8-9 “I mean that you have been saved by grace through believing. You did not save yourselves; it was a gift from God. It was not the result of your own efforts, so you cannot brag about it.”

  • 1 Peter 3:18 “Christ himself suffered for sins once. He was not guilty, but he suffered for those who are guilty to bring you to God. His body was killed, but he was made alive in the spirit.” (Christ died for the sins of everyone who believes in him. The Holy Spirit is with believers now to help them understand since Christ went to heaven.The Holy Spirit will come upon you when you receive Christ.)

  • Acts 3:19 “So repent (change your mind and purpose); turn around and return [to God], that your sins may be erased (blotted out, wiped clean), that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord;” (AMP)

  • John 10:27-29 “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand.”

  • 1 John 1:9 “If we [freely] admit that we have sinned and confess our sins, He is faithful and just (true to His own nature and promises) and will forgive our sins [dismiss our lawlessness] and [continuously] cleanse us from all unrighteousness [everything not in conformity to His will in purpose, thought, and action].(AMP)

  • 1 John 5:12-13 “He who possesses the Son has that life; he who does not possess the Son of God does not have that life.I write this to you who believe in (adhere to, trust in, and rely on) the name of the Son of God, so that you may know [with settled and absolute knowledge] that you [already] have life, eternal life.” (AMP)

  • 1 Peter 1:21-23 “Through Christ you have come to trust in God. And you have placed your faith and hope in God because he raised Christ from the dead and gave him great glory.You were cleansed from your sins when you obeyed the truth, so now you must show sincere love to each other as brothers and sisters. Love each other deeply with all your heart. For you have been born again, but not to a life that will quickly end. Your new life will last forever because it comes from the eternal, living word of God.” (NLT)

I am sorry if what I said seems harsh. However, under the circumstances with death staring you square in the face, there is no time to waste. If you have recently proclaimed Christ, please know I look forward to the day we can rejoice together. And also know I am sad you don’t have more time here on earth to experience longer the pure joy that brings.

I also want to apologize for other Christians who may have been harsh, cruel or even out of control. I, and many others, have encountered such people after the death of our son. Please be assured, whichever way you choose, you are still loved. God is right there with you, every minute, until your last breath.

In closing, I don’t know if it is because of fear of how you will look, how you will act, what your family will go through, the unknown or probably a combination of it all that has caused you to pick a date to kill yourself. What I do know is fear causes us to make wrong decisions. Many times those decisions are based on emotion/feelings. Decisions that can have terrible, ongoing consequences for you and those left behind. Though you don’t know me, please trust me when I say I know this is true. I pray God will give you the strength, courage and wisdom to do what is right in His eyes and bless you during this hard time.