04/04/05 — Learn from Terri: Her life, circumstances provide lessons for us all

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Learn from Terri: Her life, circumstances provide lessons for us all

Forget the circumstances of her death.

Forget the bitter words, the long court battles. Even, for a moment, forget how you stand on artificial means of sustaining life, and who should decide when enough is enough.

Think about the issues Terri Schiavo’s death raised, but never, ever forget that she was more than just the woman with the feeding tube.

She was a wife, a daughter, a best friend and a sister.

She loved her family and Danielle Steel novels. She was passionate, shy and had the kind of personality that made people feel comfortable. She laughed and smiled all the time, her friends say, and was always thinking of others first.

She had a lot of friends, but all of them say her best friend was her mom.

Terri Schiavo loved animals, especially dogs and horses — just another of the outward manifestations of a caring and compassionate spirit.

She went to high school, fell in love and then got married.

She made mistakes. She had doubts, phobias and self-esteem issues that probably led to the eating disorder that might have almost killed her.

In short, she could be anyone’s sister, best friend, mother, daughter or next-door neighbor.

Remember the circumstances of her death along with the lessons her life taught a nation.

Make sure your family knows what you want if you are in a similar circumstance. Build bridges between your in-laws and your family. Don’t let anger and bitterness erode those bonds.

But most importantly, grab that sister, brother, mother, best friend, son or daughter, and tell them just how much you love them. Don’t wait another day.

Terri Schiavo’s death should teach us more than simply how to end our lives. Her struggles should remind us how to live them.

Published in Editorials on April 4, 2005 11:09 AM