Nearly two years after Brittany Maynard ended her life following a 10-month struggle with terminal brain cancer, her mother has published a new book that her daughter’s widow says goes against his late wife’s wishes.
In the new memoir, "Wild and Precious Life,” Deborah Ziegler documents Maynard’s difficult medical journey, along with her own personal struggle to support her daughter's wishes to end her own life.
"It all began to unfold in a terrible nightmare that no parent ever wants to face and no young woman should ever have to face,” Ziegler said in an interview.
Maynard was a 29-year-old newlywed when she was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer. She captured the nation’s attention two years ago after she moved to Oregon to take advantage of the state's death-with-dignity law that would eventually allow her to end her life on Nov. 1, 2014, with the help of a physician.
The right to die on her own terms was an issue important to Maynard and her family, which is now arguing over how Maynard supposedly wanted to share her story.
Dan Diaz, Maynard’s widow, says Ziegler wrote the book against his wife’s wishes. He took to Facebook to reveal a statement he said Maynard asked him to share if “this situation were to arise” with her mom.
“I love my mother very much, but I don't want her to be a storyteller about me,” he claims Maynard told him. “She's been a great mom and I wouldn't be here without her but I don't want her to write about me. It is not her place to do so.”
But Ziegler disagrees with the claim.
“She never said anything to me about that and so I don't know what to think of this statement except that Brittany said many, many things in those last days,” she said. “I go back to honoring the Brittany I knew, not the brain tumor Brittany."
Diaz told NBC News that Ziegler’s memoir includes inaccuracies. He also said Maynard stated in her will that he should be the only one to represent her story, which he hopes will lead to further improvements in end-of-life care and legislation.
Diaz recently optioned film rights to Maynard’s story, so more of his wife’s writings and videos may emerge in the future.
Since Maynard’s death, right-to-die legislation has been enacted in her own state of California and is now being considered in states around the country.