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Lessons We Learned From Terri Schiavo

Let's talk about Terry Schiavo, since her death illustrated for me many aspects of grief and hope. Who among us was not moved by the drama of her last days? I know I was. Her death was not the way I would want my own death to be. When my time comes, I want no heroic measures, since for me they simply postpone the inevitable. And watching the family feud that took place between her husband and her parents, with all the tension and the anger, saddened me terribly. Peace should be the last emotion Terry felt, but who knows if she heard only the angry words passed between those she loved. No one should have to die as she did.

What a shame. At the same time, look at the two different approaches to grief presented to us, one by her husband Michael and the other by her parents the Schindlers. Michael was clearly ready to "lay her gently down," he was prepared to move on with his new life and to "begin again" with his fiancee and two young children. Some say he was ready a bit too soon, but I disagree. Grief takes as long as it needs, there is no clock for the soul. Her parents, on the other hand, were clearly unable to give her up yet. It is understandable that parents would be so protective of their kids, and I don't know what I would do if, God forbid, one of my own kids was in a similar state.

I am not judging, just pointing out the differences in style and approach in this wrenching drama. For Terri's parents, despite how they may feel now, they must know that there is still hope for them. There is a new future which they will soon help create; there will be new challenges for them and their family which they cannot yet know. When you are grieving, you often lose sight of the future, because the present is so draining. But no matter what has been taken from you there is hope. They still have each other and they still have a life in front of them. I certainly pray that they will find healing and consolation, and that Terri's memories will bring them peace.

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