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Terri Schiavo's parents could never have imagined

Posted By Kevin McCullough On 10/17/2003 @ 1:00 am In Commentary | Comments Disabled

Being a newly married husband myself, I often wonder what it will be like to take my future daughters on walks to the park. To see them run and pick flowers. To see them chase butterflies. Or, when they are all tired and worn out, I wonder how many times they will come say to me, “Daddy carry me, please, I don’t want to walk anymore.”

This week, I wonder what Bob Schindler imagined as he was raising little Terri. I wonder if he ever imagined his little girl would ever grow to be too big for him to hold. I wonder if he ever imagined that when she was grown and having survived some incredibly horrid circumstances that his touch and his holding her would so tickle her with delight that she literally bursts out laughing.

I wonder what my wife will tell our little girl in the evenings as she brushes her hair for her before she goes to bed. What kinds of things will they share as secrets between mother and daughter. I wonder what kind of dreams they will discuss and ponder. Will it be fanciful tea parties and dollhouses and will they dream together about that day when she marries.

I have wondered this week about Mary Schindler as the news goes by day after day.

Did she tell secrets and dream dreams with little Terri as she was growing up? Did she sit on the edge of her bed and brush her hair and tell Terri things about life, or cause her to feel like a princess? How many times did mother and daughter sit and cry over a romantic movie together, or laugh uncontrollably because they saw humor in the same things?

Did Terri Schindler grow up pleading with her mom to get her a pretty lace dress for Easter? Did she give Mary a hard time as a teen-ager? And when Terri had her heart broken by her first love, did Mary’s heart break with her?

Did Robert Schindler imagine that when Terri told her that she had found the man she was going to marry that he would do anything other than protect her? As the day approached, did Mary and Terri get into small arguments about the look of the dress, the location of the ceremony, or how many people to invite? When the day arrived, did it ever occur to anyone sitting in the audience that “in sickness and in health” meant exactly that?

Could the Schindler’s have ever imagined that the call would come one day in 1990 alerting them to the fact that Terri had suffered a massive heart attack? Could they have imagined the hours of pain and waiting hoping in those few weeks that Terri would be her old self again?

Could they have imagined the grief at the reality that Terri would never be able to care for herself again? Did they imagine the pain that Terri went through in having the feeding tube that would give nutrition and health to Terri’s body? Did they imagine that Terri’s husband Michael would receive a large settlement for Terri’s injuries?

Could they have imagined that, according to reports in the Washington Dispatch, Michael Schiavo would begin an extramarital relationship with another woman and father two children by her – all while remaining married to their Terri.

Could they imagine that most likely because of his extramarital interest and the substantial cash settlement he had received that their Terri would have become such a nuisance to Michael that Michael would wish her dead? Could they have imagined that judges in the United States of America – county probate Judge George Greer, District Judge Richard Lazzara and the Florida Supreme Court – would find Terri to be “a life not worth living”?

Could they have imagined their little girl’s plight becoming so serious that it would be necessary for their governor to step in and try to help on their behalf?

Could they have imagined that these same judges would also restrict their final few days of opportunity to visit with or see Terri, to take pictures, final video of her? Could they have imagined that because the court had ordered them not to give “therapeutic support” and barring them from video taping, that they themselves would have to defy a court order for the public to see that Terri was not brain-dead?

Is it fair or proper for this son-in-law to try to deny the rights of Terri’s parents to tell the truth about Terri’s condition? Shouldn’t people know that when Terri’s mom walks into her hospice room and calls her name that Terri’s eyes widen with joy, a smile comes on her face and she tries to sit up? Shouldn’t people know the truth that when Terri’s mom nuzzles with her and kisses her on the cheek that it tickles Terri’s heart so much that she breaks out with laughter? Shouldn’t people know that Terri began to cry when she was told of what was going to happen to her.

Could we ever imagine that the day would come when someone would be allowed to starve and dehydrate to death simply because they had become an inconvenience to the husband who had promised before God and man, “in sickness and in health”?

When Mary Schindler was brushing Terri’s hair out at night when she was little could she have ever dreamed that Terri’s future husband would prevent her from being with her in the final 10 days of life?

Terri began starving two days ago. Doctor’s say she will be dead within 10 to 14 days of when it began. Download the video yourself and watch Terri delight with the tickle of a feather. Read the account of how she responds to her parents.

It frightens me to think this is the state of where we are today. Could you ever have imagined?


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