The 15 year struggle of Terri Schaivo is over. Our acquaintance with the 41 year old only began this year. But her struggle was going on long before most of us had ever heard of her.
Unless you have been visiting another planet for the last few months, you know all about the story. Or do we? The problem may be just that. We don’t and may never know the entire story. (Where is Paul Harvey’s "Rest of the Story" when we need it?) I will not be so brash to say I know all the details.
But some of the facts, I do know. I do know that a young woman was in a place she never thought she would be. I do know that the family would have much rather not be celebrities. I do know that the family had way too many "spiritual advisors" who were more interested in making a name for themselves than advising the family on a spiritual level. I do know that political operatives took this tragic family situation and will try to turn it into a cheap way to get votes and campaign contributions. I do know that as a country we will be divided over whether it was handled properly. I do know that there will be an overabundance of spin, most of which is bull. I do know that families, without written directives, may disagree about care for their loved ones. I do know that I ache as a person for all involved. I do know that I am appalled by those calling for Terri’s life to be saved and at the same time issuing death threats to Michael and his family.
So what good will come of all of this? Is there a purpose to all of the tragedy that poured out in front of us recently? I think there is. One of the largest searches going on presently on the internet is for living wills and last directives. This is a good thing. The more folks know about the wishes of their family and back it up in writing, the fewer situations that we will have that will resemble the Schaivo fiasco. Take time to discuss this issue with your family and sign an advanced directive for your health care wishes. If the folks who have spent the last 2 weeks focused on Terri’s struggle between life and death will follow-up personally, her struggle will not become our own. That situation will allow Terri’s life and death to become purpose driven.
Peace to her memory.