June 22, 2005

Abusing the Dead

Many, many heated words were exchanged in years of legal battles over Terri Schiavo, who finally died March 31 of this year after Michael Schiavo won the legal right to have her feeding tube removed.

Even in death, the battle still continued between Michael Schiavo and Terri's parents Bob and Mary Schindler, as Michael wanted Terri cremated and her ashes interred in a family plot in Pennsylvania, while the Schindlers wanted her body buried in Florida. Once again, Schiavo won in court, and most suspected that her ashes would be interred in Pennsylvania.

When I saw yesterday that Michael Schiavo seemed to relent somewhat and decided to inter Terri Schiavo's ashes in Florida as her parents had requested, I thought he'd decided to compromise. I had a bit of hope that this was a small gesture of goodwill and reconciliation towards the Shindler family.

That bit of hope was all too brief.

To backtrack for a moment, I don't think any of us are in an empirical state where we can categorically claim with absolute certainty which side was right and which side was wrong in this case. If Michael Schiavo truly believed that her was carrying out Terri's wishes, I can completely understand that at least in his mind, he was carrying out his promise. I would hope that under similar circumstances, that my wife would fight for me if she really felt that is what I wanted.

At the same time, I cam sympathize with the Schindler family, who felt that they were doing what they thought Terri would want. I am both a husband and a father. I see both sides, and I am torn between the two. While it is irrelevant here, my biggest gripe was the manner of Terri's death once it had been decided that she would die; but that is a subject for a different day.

At this point, only two things are certain.

Terri Schiavo is dead.

Michael Schiavo is an ass.

Michael Schiavo firmly ensconced himself as a first class heel as he went for the literal “last word” in against the Schindler family, using Terri Schiavo's bronze grave marker to strike out at her family one last time.

The marker lists February 25, 1990 as the date his wife “Departed this Earth,” and March 31, 2005 as the date she was “At Peace.” The obvious implication of this was that the Schindler's prolonged legal battle to keep Terri alive kept her soul in limbo from the time Michael claims she “departed this Earth” to her physical death fifteen years later.

Whatever their disagreements, using a dead woman's grave as a final insult to her family is unusually petty and cruel.

It may very well be true that Michael Schiavo never abused Terri Schiavo while she was alive, but he certainly abused her in death.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at June 22, 2005 12:17 AM | TrackBack