Would you like to know the definition of an impossible choice? Here it is: Terri Schiavo!
I’m a husband and a father and I am deeply torn at every sight of Terri Sciavo. As a husband, I cannot imagine that my wife would want to suffer for over 15 years like this 41-year old woman. At the same time, as a father, I cannot fathom the difficulty of watching my daughter be starved and dehydrated to death. Who can make such decisions? Aren’t these questions beyond our ability to weigh?
Terri’s case is even more complex than most, because the information about her husband, Mike, is so conflicting.
There is suspicion that Mike had something to do with Terri’s condition in the first place. Terri’s parents claim domestic abuse was involved. Apparently, Mike went to great lengths to secure funds for Terri’s care saying that he would be true to his marriage vows and care for her in their home. According to Terri’s brother, as soon as Mike got the money he began his fight to have Terri’s feeding tube removed. Terri’s brother also claims that Mike has had several affairs, and been engaged at least once. What is undisputed is that Mike now lives with a common-law wife and has a family.
In addition, there has always been medical debate about whether Terri is truly in a Persistent Vegetative State (PVS). Some medical professionals say she is, others say she is not. What’s more, a nurse that cared for Terri immediately after the incident said she showed signs of abuse and her system did not release the enzymes typical of someone who had had a heart-attack. And, perhaps worst for the family, Mike Sciavo has reportedly not allowed his wife to receive Holy Communion–a rite of her Catholic faith!
On the other hand, just a look at Terri is more than enough for most people to know that they would choose not to live that way. Plus, are the suspicions of the parents enough to paint Mike Sciavo with a Scott Peterson colored brush? Early care-takers who were close to the situation said that Mike Schiavo was with his wife everyday for years. She never had any bed sores, which means she was being well taken care of. In addition, Mike took Terri from Florida to California for experimental treatment. In fact, Mike was so adamant about his wife’s care that many hospital personnel once believed that they would have to pursue legal action against him because of his persistent demands.
Who knows what is best in a case this complex? I don’t.
Here’s what I do know. As a husband, I would want my wife to enter peace and wholeness with our Father. I also know that if she could enjoy the life of our daughter–even just a little–she would want to live. I know I love my daughter, and I simply could not watch someone I didn’t trust have her starved to death.
Through this whole debate I’ve learned some things that I would like to share with you.
1. Get a Living Will…(Save your family the heartache, pain, and expense of having to guess what you want).
2. Raise Your Children to Marry the Kind of People That You Can Trust…(Of course, this is ultimately their decision, but who your kids marry is tremendously important. They may have to make life and death decisions about your child or you!).
3. Live Life Now…(Terri Schiavo was 26 years-old when she entered a Persistent Vegetative State. 26! Do you think you can wait to live your adventure and explore your dreams).
4. This World is Not Our Home…
…In the last few days I’ve heard Christian people talk about this case from myriad perspectives. Some say let her live, others say let her go. The ultimate thing to remember is that this world is not where we are intended to be. I spoke with one of my church’s elders this morning and he reminded me of something that our church’s previous preaching minister once said at a funeral: “We are not in the land of the living heading for the land of the dying, we are in the land of the dying, heading to the land of the living.”