Dear Mr. and Mrs. Schindler…

A Rose for Terri ShaivoBob and Mary, I am sorry, but someone should have told this before now.  Someone closer to you should have given you the news.  Someone who knows how to speak to your soul should have been taken the time to explain something to you.  But, apparently they haven’t, so please sit down.  Take a deep breath.  It’s awful information.  Your daughter, Terri Schiavo, is dead.

God (or “the universe” or “Allah” or whatever name is most familiar to you) took her from this life. 

This happened several years ago, apparently. And, I can’t pretend to know God’s mind about why Terri, why then, and why in this way.  But, God took her.  Terri is not here any more.

When God took Terri, he also provided a way for the spiritless physical body she left behind to die.  He left the body unable to care for itself.  Throughout millennia this condition has allowed the physical remains of a person to expire.  In the case of Terri’s body, God left it to finally cease its biological processes when it ran out of nourishment;  He left the body to starve.  And, although “starvation” evokes feelings of brutal winters or desert island desperation, it  is actually a peaceful way to end physical existence.  There is no pain, fear, or violence to mark the conclusion of physical life.  The body simply runs out of fuel and stops.  And, that’s how God intended Terri’s physical life to end.

Man bravely interfered with God’s plan. 

In the past 50 years or so, we have found out how to keep bodies alive. We have learned how to return the souls still inside damaged bodies to full consciousness.  God has allowed us to help him with many miracles. So, we stopped Terri’s body from dying, hoping that her soul was still around and able to take back control of her body.  We used our God-given tools to see if God wanted Terri to continue to live among us.

A Rose for Terri ShaivoBut, we have learned through the tools God has given us, that Terri’s spirit, her soul, her Terri-ness is no longer available to re-inhabit her body.  Terri  has been permanently taken from this life.  Our feeding of Terri’s body has been noticed by God, but He is keeping Terri.

Of course you and the world hopes for a miracle. And, because you and I and most of the world believe there is no limit to God’s power, there always remains a hope that Terri will suddenly open her body’s eyes and she’ll be there.  The gift of Terri’s resurrection would be some Easter story, eh? Wow! 

But, that’s just it, Bob and Mary, Terri is dead now.  If she returns to us, her return will be a true miracle. And, God does not need us to keep Terri’s body nourished by a feeding tube if he intends to give Terri back. He can do that with or without our human intervention.

Now, here’s another hard fact.  There are many people in this world who take advantage of tragedy for their own selfish purposes.  These self-serving vultures are now circling your family.  They are ready to use your emotions for their venal purposes. They speak of life and religion while they turn family members against each other and bring discord to our American community.  Please protect yourself from these false prophets.  They are eager to say now exactly what you want to hear.  That fact by itself should let you pause and consider whether they are truly your friends or if they are using your family’s tragedy for their own ends.  Please protect yourself from further hurt and reject the help from the deceivers at your doorstep.

May you , Michael, your other family, your friends, and your community find peace together in the face of your loss.

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