Straight Up with Sherri

Friday, April 29, 2005

Finally, From the HEART: I Found the Words About My Trip To Florida and How Terri Died for Me, Just as Christ Died for Me.....

My trip to Florida was NOTHING as I expected. I have often tried to write about it, but always failed to truly express what happened to me there. I could try again, reaching for every morsel of writing ability I have to ensure the piece be BETTER and MORE PROFOUND than the rest, but instead I have chosen to just share the spontaneity of what I really feel- brought on by the right questions, at the right time, by the right people. This is not a perfected piece- or even a writing that I have bothered to try and "fix" in order to make every word carry impact and meaning. It is just a sharing of my heart. It is a copy of the email I just sent to Bobby Schindler...


Bobby

We met in Tallahassee. I know you have met many people in the last few years, so let me just refresh your memory. I am a blogger- short- red hair- talk too much- and we got to chat again in the hotel restaurant....

I have thought many times of writing to you and your family about how much Terri meant to me, about how she changed my life, to offer sympathy.... but the pain was too fresh for words to ever convey..... I guess it is finally time...

I first heard about Terri through Glenn Beck. It was after 9/11 when I first started listening to talk radio. I listened to Neal Bortz (I late found out what a moron he is)- when he finally ticked me off enough by belittling my faith- I found Glenn..... it was fall of 2003.

There was a woman in a coma......or was she....and her husband wanted to starve and dehydrate her to death.....but yet- he wouldn't allow a swallow test- for fear she might choke? HUH? I learned more and more each day..... I wasn't all that familiar with Glenn yet, but when he started his BOBO the dog stunt- I knew something was amiss. This guy just seemed way too MORAL to do this, let alone too smart to BROADCAST IT. Then the day came and he made his point.....I was so PROUD! He had a listener FOR LIFE!

The days that Terri went without care in 1993 were hard to bear, forgive me- I know not nearly as hard for me as it was for your family. When Governor Bush stepped in and saved the day, I went back to my life. After all, this was just a "rare" case. But it ended well, and all was right in America again.....Forgive me for being so WRONG!

Fast forward to 2004. Election season is upon us, and the likes of John Kerry is staring me in the face. AAAAHHHHH! I am a single mother of 3. I hadn't seen nor heard from my husband in 3 years - my son is 14, my daughters are 5 and 3 (neither in school- so day care is astronomical). I am working myself through school by taking care of an elderly woman- I plan her meals- shop for her, cook for her, make sure she is bathed, wash her hair, invite her friends over for birthday parties, etc. I also care for a man paralyzed form the waist down. Clean his house. I mow lawns and scrub toilets for anyone who will let me. All while raising 3 kids (no father taking them every other weekend. Just me- 24/7, 365- for 3 years- no child support). I somehow earn a 4.0 the whole way through school, and now have been named student of the year. I even went on to state competition and made the top 12. A man at my church asks me to run his campaign for his run for State House of Reps. We are out financed by 7-1- but we lose making the run-off by 20 votes! I had NO IDEA WHAT I WAS DOING WHEN I STARTED, and it was just the two of us- BUT I had a knack for promotion, politics, and people.....he saw something in me that I never knew was there.... I was then sought after by many candidates- from city council to US Congress for the run offs. Suddenly politics was my life. Also- my dream of being a writer from when I was a child had been rekindled by attending school. So what did I do... I started a blog.....

WRITING and POLITICS! I WAS IN MY ELEMENT! The blog was just a way to "practice" and "develop" my writing skills. Within 3 months of writing my blog- I had a higher readership than my church teacher who had been sowing his for years.....Then- then- in December- my best friend's husband committed suicide... I didn't write for 3 weeks...... I finally found the strength to write again... within a week I had twice the readers than when I stopped.... HOW? WHY? I was NOBODY! I certainly had not 10% of the knowledge or experience this AWESOME man had!

Income tax came in.... God told me-- I had 3 months to pursue my blog- then back to real life if it didn't work..... but how do you make a living at blogging? how do you "make it work?" I just said okay-- and went to it..... The elderly lady's granddaughter got pregnant and needed a job- I was let go- with love and appreciation- but still, let go.... The handicapped man moved to Florida- closer to his parents.....my income tax was paying my bills....

Within a week I wrote a story about Sarah Scantlin... someone left a comment on my blog....it was about BLOGS FOR TERRI..... TERRI? What? I thought she was safe? I thought all was well in America?

I spent the next two months living and breathing Terri. I was up 'til 5:00 am many mornings reading court transcripts... I think you may remember.. I could rattle off dates and the pages of the testimonies.......

This time... was going to be different... this time I was going to have a voice (the blog), this time I was armed with info and facts ( the court transcripts), this time I was part of a team (Blogs for Terri and the readership that I had acquired), this time............I would not ever stop- not until Terri was safe.... be that with God- or as your family as guardians.. this time.. I would not stop... 'til Terri was safe....

Funny how life works.......Terri is safe..... but I have not stopped..... Not only have I not stopped.... I have found a new purpose for my whole life..... it is Terri's legacy....

My whole life I have had PASSION! I am one of those that has the drive beyond all others... just needs it to be focused..... how do you harness a firework...?

Rather than sit here and fill you with well thought out words..... manipulating the art of words... let me share with you something I wrote from the gut... purely spontaneous... to a friend....
HERE IT IS:

Let me just share this....

When I went down to Florida- I was kinda torn on my role. Part of me was there to Support Terri- but part of me was also there to "cover the story." This was so awkward for me. I wanted to be there to pray. I wanted to be there to support the family. I wanted to be there to talk to people about the FACTS that I knew on this case.

I also wanted to keep you all informed on inside information and bring you the experience. When I talked to the people (just casual talk with other supporters) about the FACTS- I would cite the things like "On November 19, 1993 Michael Schiavo stated in court..... (blah blah blah)."

It was amazing to watch. There were some in the media that came looking for me after my conversation- asking me for an inteview. They "overheard" my conversation. Who were they? They were mostly radio or small print orgs. Then the others would avoid me like the plague. I was sensible and articulate and factual. The TV cameras didn't want this.

The images people saw on TV were NOTHING like what was really going on. Most of us were just down there to support Terri. PERIOD! When you see the HUGE demonstrations on TV -the ones that get the coverage are RADICALS! In fact- If you look back at the TV coverage- you see few people really. Because some people were running around saying- "The cameras are on. Come over here and hold this sign." People were like, "HUH? Who cares. I am not here for the cameras." Others just did as they were told- just wanting to know WHAT to do....

Most of the people were sharing meals, blankets, praying, singing, etc. Others were maneuvering themselves ANYWHERE a camera was. The TV media was very apt in deciding who to cover. This is what they do. I avoided the cameras- and they avoided me. The cameras chased the NUTS. And the whole time- the REAL CIRCUS (until the dern juggler showed up- a very special shout out to that moron) WAS THE MEDIA!

Most of us came and went quietly. Most of us prayed and gathered around for information when Gibbs or Randall came out to fill us in on Terri's situation. Yet some sought out attention- knowing their "passion" would be what "made the news."

I learned a LOT there. When I was there- I would never picture myself carrying a blood-spattered sign. This was about Terri. Nothing else.- at least not to me. Don't get me wrong- I know there is a much bigger thing here- the euthanasia movement, etc. But THAT fight needs to be done in a different way- a different battlefield- the field of ideas and thought. Fighting for TERRI was about Terri. Being down there was about TERRI. Not politics.

The line may seem very blurred and thinned. But Terri was personal to me. She was real- not a political football. As with most of us. Many believe in the cause behind Terri- but it is Terri's story- her family- her whole ordeal that inspired our passion. Now that the cameras have gone away- who is still fighting the fight? The ones that were there- FOR TERRI. The ones that drew Terri and her family near to their hearts.

The ones that thought Terri was about politics have gone back to their lives. A battle lost. If Terri had lived- If she had been SAVED in the 11th hour- the politicos on pro-life would still be touting the win. Just as some in the media continue to use her name in the headline- just to catch the eye of people. But those that fought for Terri- would now be going back to their lives- of worship and raising families, etc. (NOT IN ALL CASES OR ON ALL LEVELS- but we would have derived a sense of security in the fact that America had done the right thing in the end and all was well.)

But instead- it is much like the story of Jesus. His death brought the strength of true believers to take notice and look around. His resurrection brought them the movement to spread the word. If he had lived- spared in the 11th hour- haw many would have said, "psssst, Jesus. Look- I like what you are doing here- but that was a real close call. Hanging out with you is just a little too risky these days. I got a wife and kids to think about. Wish ya the best- glad God spared ya- but I better get back to my "real life"- and.... uh.. keep in touch! Send me a post card from Damascus...."

By
Straight Up with Sherri, at 5:45 PM


I know this is a lot to read... But I finally found the words... I am usually so full of words.. but when it came to Terri, and how she touched me.... How she changed my life... it was just so hard to really convey it.... How do you convey that someone's selfless suffering finally woke you up from your selfish little life? How do you ADMIT that someone you come to LOVE and CARE about MUST SUFFER SO HORRIBLY before you finally take a stand for what is right....?

It is shameful that Terri had to suffer, you had to suffer, your family had to suffer, before I BOTHERED to INTERRUPT MY LIFE! GOD FORGIVE ME! I can't imagine the strength and faith that your family have come to know.....Please forgive us all..... especially me.....I am so sorry for your pain and loss...... I promise to never let Terri's legacy be in vain- as long as I live.... these are not words... I promise.....

Thank you

Sherri

Don't Change Minds....Change LIVES!

9 Comments:

  • Well done Sherri.

    I think that Terri's plight woke many people up. I know it woke me up. I don't mean for this to be hyperbole, but in many ways the injustice carried out on Terri was on a par with 9/11. The realization that America had sunk to the point where an innocent woman could be murdered by the very institution responsible for dispensing justice was devastating. At least with the terrorists we could turn to our military and demand punishment. To whom do we turn here? I'll tell you where we turn. We turn to the good and faithful people who make up this country. We turn to the modern day Paul Revere's to sound the alarm that our nation is in grave danger, we are under attack. We turn to people like you and Earl at CURE and Juleni. All ordinary people, all with extraordinary passion to see that justice and mercy are not lost.

    Ride on Sherri, ride on.

    By Blogger Tom, at 1:04 AM  

  • Thanks for the opportunity to know you better Sherri. I consider it a priviledge to know someone who has done so much in the face of adversity. I like your straight up style of writing and straight upright walk and life that you live. I will continue to read your blog as an admirer of your true grit.

    By Blogger Alnot, at 1:09 AM  

  • Sherri, you put that into words perfectly
    the morning that Terri died from being dehydrated to death i did not know how to feel - i was just numb how could this happen , how could this happen in America for the first time since Sept ll i had those same feelings of disbelief

    the very next morning i had to go to court because i have a very sweet golden retriver and one of my neighbors called the cops cause he got out of his fence

    so while i was sitting in court - i knew i would not win the case - lol i almost thought i would be held in contempt - i was angry and outraged and sitting in front of judge - i had more than enough Terri flyers in my bag and the only thing that made me feel better was handing out her flyers to everyone , court reps, secretarys, who ever was there i put them on cars up and down the parking lot
    and afer i felt better
    i went to churh and prayed and felt better - Teri truly showed me where the lines are drawn in our country and its not dem or rep its life or death

    By Blogger keeka, at 10:32 AM  

  • Sherri,
    Remember what I told you when we spoke on the phone while you were in Florida - that your life had changed, that you could never go back... It has been a seminal moment to your future. It was St. Paul Lightning! You were transformed into something different, driven by a whole new passion in your soul. You had feelings before, but that wasn't the same. No longer is this all something you feel or believe. It is something you are! Does the word ZEALOT mean something different now than it did last February, or even in November? You don't just want to write anymore, you want to proselytize, to spread the truth, to make a significant difference not just in the world, but in every person's life that you touch.

    I knew that immediately back then. It was obvious in your voice, your intensity, your emotions, and your plans. This is a strong idealism you have adopted and it has changed you forever.

    By Blogger Right Wing Nut Job, at 11:21 AM  

  • You must never stop writing. Your words are alive! To read your words is to hear and know you. You are dynamic and I am so excited that we are on the same team! The day Terri died was like watching a terrible movie that could not be stopped. Having cried and prayed so much during the days prior, I sat dry eyed yet my soul was sobbing and weeping ; I shook from within. I am a special edcuation teacher....disabled people are my life...I was beyond despair. How Could This Happen In America? How could the legal profession extend its tenacles into areas like rehab and education and rule as if they have a crystal ball infront of them? What abhorrant arrogance!...and Terri's life..a harmless precious life .. ruled insignificant...unworthy of living. Each fact screamed more awful thant he next...the judge never even met her ! My depression sank deep because I saw societies' idilic facade peel away infront of me as Terri lay dying with NO help in sight. How could this be? I could never be the same after this...how could I ever make believe this is a wonderful world ever again??? I was changed forever.
    I am sure the Schindlers will never recover fully from the trauma of watching a loved one tortured to death on their native soil..and within the LAW'S sight. I am not sure if any of Terri's faithful supporters will recover fully. I know my life has been changed forever...I am closer to God...I hold my work with the disabled as a lifeline of God's miracles: vital and dynamic , yet shadowed by the impending evil of the threatening Courts. I look at the ADA as a joke..dependant totally upon the individual interpretation of a JUDGE. And I feel the silent fellowship with thousands of strangers of similar heart as mine...BlogsforTerri. Peple I have never seen or met..but have read and written to ...We are holding spiritual vigil together for the future of life in our country. When I settle into my nocturnal Blog reading in the safety of my home with my cup of coffee and slippers after a long day's work..I envison the early Christians worshipping Christ while hidden in the safety of the dark catacombs..obscure nameless shadows; yet collectively, the living body of Christ in the world.. I feel the same way today..Excuse my analogy, but the fellowship of Bloggers and readers intent on saving lives from the right to die movement rallies a spirit in me of commitment and reverence for the overwhelming power of our collective actions. I believe we are spirit driven...we are being moved into action by a power greater than each/ all of us. Terri, whose death being a terribly painful loss to each of us..will empower us to remain relentless in our awareness and our activiity. Our love for Terri has indeed brought each of us closer to God . Our expereince in working for her cause ; a life changing event.Our love of God will direct our words and our steps.
    Sherri, thank you for sharing yourself ..for telling your story..for sharing your passion. You have become important to my day.

    By Anonymous JoMarley, at 11:34 AM  

  • WOW. I am actually speechless Sherri. Terris fight was about life and death, not dems or reps. We do have a lot in common, the passions. Whereas I tend to strike on my emotions, you hold all together. Very Articulate. I am very Proud to know you, and look foward to working with you, maybe we CAN change the world.

    By Blogger KC, at 10:54 PM  

  • KC

    ONE STARFISH AT A TIME!!

    We are a TEAM with amny different gifts, talents, etc.. TOGETHER we can cahnge many things!

    My personal motto:

    Don't Change Minds....Change LIVES!

    By Blogger Straight Up with Sherri, at 11:00 PM  

  • Yo, This blog is pretty neat. You should check out mine sometime. It pretty much covers online income opportunity related stuff.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10:24 PM  

  • Nice blog. Check out my cat fancy magazine blog.

    By Blogger unixlinux, at 1:43 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home