If Terri Schiavo Could Talk
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If Terri Schiavo Could Talk
I’ve been humbled and amazed that my life could generate so much attention and discussion, but please don’t worry about me.
No matter what happens to me -- and I may be gone before you even read this -- I’ll be well. If my feeding tube is reinserted and I live, I’ll be surrounded by people who love me. If I die, I’ll go to a better place, where I’ll wait patiently to be rejoined by the people I love so much.
No, it is America I am worried about.
A Fox News poll showed that 59% of Americans believe my feeding tube should be removed. I’m not on a respirator, mind you, but merely need nourishment to live, and yet many Americans are eager to withhold my food and water until my body slowly shuts down.
The “reasoning” behind this thinking is what is troublesome. If you were in my situation, some of you say, you wouldn’t want to go on living, and that is your justification for letting me die.
Others among you won’t say it aloud, but you view me as an inconvenience. In your minds you compare me to your elderly parents or grandparents who may require extraordinary love and care one day -- sacrifices you’re too selfish to make.
So you determine that if I am not 100% of what I was -- if part of my brain is damaged and I cannot take care of myself -- then I should be left to die. You feel this way, even though I clearly display a level of awareness, and even though my voice and facial expressions show that part of me is still there.
I think you are willing to believe I should be left to die because you have become a cynic. Your cynical worldliness blinds you to the fact that I am a human of extraordinary blessings.
Look at the love that surrounds me every single day. My parents, sister and brother adore me, nurture me and shower me with compassion. It is a gift that I wish everyone could experience.
I have given to them, too. Yes, they wish I was healthy and vibrant and had a family of my own. But the tragedy that befell me brought us all together -- it brought out a depth of love they did not know they were capable of.
Millions go to bed praying for me every night, and you have no idea how this calms my soul. I feel the pull of their spirits connecting me more closely with our God, who I know is watching over me.
Of course, the cynics among you say that if God existed, He never would have let such a tragedy befall me, but there you go again.
Whether or not you understand it, every human life has meaning and purpose -- even a life like mine. God works in mysterious ways -- ways that no human can fully grasp. And maybe this has been my purpose in this life.
Maybe God is letting my “husband,” with the full sanction of the courts, rush me to my end to see how you respond. Maybe it’s time that a country that celebrates individual freedoms and rights rethinks how the most vulnerable among us are treated.
Maybe God is using my pain and suffering to remind us all that there is nothing more precious than life, and that all life should be treated with dignity and compassion, as my family has done so beautifully.
Maybe God is trying to remind us all that it is His role, not ours, to determine when life shall be taken. And make no mistake, withholding food and water is tantamount to taking life.
I don’t know why this fate has befallen me, but please don’t worry about me. It is hard for some to see, but I’ve been very blessed. It is you I worry about.