Brittany Maynard, the “terminally ill newlywed” suffering from brain cancer, decided to end her life nearly two months ago. Today, her husband, Dan Diaz, speaks about his late wife for the first time on The Meredith Vieira Show.
Dan discusses their final day together, November 1, the day Brittany chose ahead of time to take a lethal dose of medication and end her pain. “She had a small seizure [that morning],” Dan recalls. “And it’s funny because I could tell, I noticed it and I said, ‘Why don’t we sleep in a little bit longer?’”
“We got out of bed around 9, we took a walk, we went for a hike,” he says. “She loved being outside...We got back to the house and she just knew it was her time.”
When Brittany was diagnosed with brain cancer in early 2014, she and her family moved to Portland, Ore., the first state with a right-to-die law. In her final weeks, she became the face of the Death With Dignity advocacy group Compassion & Choices.
In Dan’s heart, did he also know it was Brittany’s time to go? “That’s the thing, you don’t want to let go of your loved one but to suggest that she should suffer for me, for anyone, no,” he says. “That’s what you struggle with, here’s the person I love and I don’t want to see her go but the seizure that morning was a reminder of what she was risking.”
Dan also reveals whether his late wife had any second thoughts about ending her life, a notion that surfaced when a video of Brittany explaining that should November 1 be a good day, she might delay her death, was widely misinterpreted.
“No,” Dan maintains. “I appreciate the opportunity to set the record straight there. The weeks leading up to Brittany’s death, her symptoms were getting bad. Those videos were taped two or three weeks before...Unfortunately, that video, just because of when it came out, gave the impression oh, well she looks healthy but that was not the case whatsoever, her health was deteriorating daily leading up to November 1st.”
Instead, Brittany’s message remained the same until her very last moment: “She was trying to get point across that it is the patient’s option to decide when, for them, it is their time,” Dan explains.
Tune in to The Meredith Vieira Show today to see Dan’s complete interview.