Six years ago, Linda La Grande died from ovarian cancer at the age of 60, and her husband John La Grange watched how she was succumbing to a slow and painful death since she was 38.
John never forgot her agony, or his sorrow over not being able to do something about it. Several weeks ago, when la Grange was driving and listening to the radio in Solana Beach in California, he stopped himself in his tracks when Brittany Maynard was brought up on a call-in show.
This 29-year-old woman, who was diagnosed with brain cancer, got the world’s attention several months ago when she said that she would end her life under Oregon’s death with dignity law. With her husband, Dan Diaz, and her family by her side, she took a fatal dose of barbiturates prescribed by a doctor in accordance with the law on November 1.
“The radio discussion of Maynard immediately caught my attention. This is an option I wish my wife would have had.” – La Grange, a retired commercial fisherman said to the media. This 66-year-old man decided to go public with his opinion in a column which was published on Zócalo Public Square. Maynard and her family partnered with Compassion & Choices to promote andexpand death with dignity laws nationwide, and La Grange is also a longtime member of the same organization.
“Brittany Maynard’s story has inspired more and more people like John La Grange to go public with their stories about the needlessly painful deaths of their loved ones.” – A spokesman for Compassion & Choices Sean Crowley stated. “John La Grange speaks so clearly and eloquently in this article.” – Maynard’s mother Debbie Ziegler wrote to Crowley when she saw the column.
La Grange wrote in his column that one radio listener called into the show to say that he had lost his beloved wife to heart disease. La Grange also wrote that Maynard’s husband Diaz should have talked out his wife of her decision to end her life. “The caller said that he would give anything to have one more hour with his wife. I would give anything to not have experienced the last week of my wife’s life.” – La Grange wrote in his column.
“I went through a very long process with my wife’s cancer and no one told us how bad it would truly be at the end. If she had had the chance to end her life so that she wouldn’t be in so much pain at the very end, she would have taken it.” – La Grange said. Father of four children and devoted husband said that Diaz was spared of the additional pain which prolonged period of dying would have caused. “Brittany gave her husband a gift.
To have a person you love so much suffering so badly and not being able to do anything about it is very hard. He didn’t have to see Brittany go through that.” La Grange said.”When you know someone for a long period of time and then that relationship ends – it just seems like the last times that you’re seeing that person is what is going to stand out in your mind more than the earlier experiences,” he continues.
“I don’t want to remember it but it’s there in my mind. When I dream about her, she is always sick. But then I wake up and remember all of the love and amazing times we shared together.”