On New Year’s Day, 29-year-old Brittany Maynard (below), a newlywed planning to start her family, got some awful news: she had brain cancer. After months of treatment and doctor’s visits, she received even worse news: her tumor had not only come back, but grown larger.
Brittany Maynard Will End Her Life in a Few Weeks and, Despite What Some Christians Say, It’s a Very Brave Decision
Holy Moses, the afterlife is real! Or such is the impression that you might get, reading about the “AWARE” study (recently published in the Resuscitation Journal). The Telegraph‘s headline, for instance, trumpets, “First hint of ‘life after death’ in biggest ever scientific study.”
This is followed by a far less exciting, but more accurate, description:
Richard Dawkins wrote this memorable passage in Unweaving the Rainbow:
We are going to die, and that makes us the lucky ones. Most people are never going to die because they are never going to be born. The potential people who could have been here in my place but who will in fact never see the light of day outnumber the sand grains of Arabia. Certainly those unborn ghosts include greater poets than Keats, scientists greater than Newton. We know this because the set of possible people allowed by our DNA so massively exceeds the set of actual people. In the teeth of these stupefying odds it is you and I, in our ordinariness, that are here. We privileged few, who won the lottery of birth against all odds, how dare we whine at our inevitable return to that prior state from which the vast majority have never stirred?
Earlier this week, a football player at Gladewater High School in Texas was in a horrible car accident and lost his life. (His brother, the driver, was hospitalized but later released.) It’s just a devastating loss for that school and the boys’ family, as you might imagine.
I’ve been at a school when a student dies. It’s awful getting that phone call from an administrator. No teacher wants to think about lesson plans and no student can concentrate in class. At our school, counselors and social workers were made available to any students and faculty members who needed them, and we held a moment of silence over the intercom out of respect to the student and those who were close to her.