Thursday, March 31, 2005

Guest Post Redleg

"On Terri Schiavo"

I haven’t blogged about this before. Not on my site nor originated any posts on any other. I have commented on it before and since there is so much awhirl about the topic in general I thought I would use this guest post to get it out in the open.

Feel free to flame away, but remember these are my personal opinions. And my wife has the diametrically opposite point of view on this one. So unless you call me a nazi (thus invalidating both your debate skills and POV), I’ve heard it on this one.

I think we ought to let Mrs. Schiavo go. Give her the dignity in death at least, that she hasn’t found in fifteen years. She’s gone and has been gone for at least that long. No, I am not a neurosurgeon, though I’ve been operated on by at least one. I don’t have a juris doctor, though I am married to a lawyer. My feeling on this is simply based on this, and this feeling is one I think everyone should base an opinion on in this matter: I look at Terri and think, “I wouldn’t like to live like that.” Medical science has progressed past the point where our laws are able to follow, at least for now. Not your garden-variety vegetable would be Mother redleg’s son.

Bottom line it seems that simple. I would not want to live like this woman has been allegedly living. For fifteen years. I’m not telling you want to think, far from it. That’s my reaction to this. Let her go. My wife wants Terri to continue on for all the same reasons. I respect that as well.

I see this tragic case and witness two families unable to reconcile what is best for their wife/daughter/daughter-in-law simply because they didn’t communicate. And now things have progressed to the point where the two sides can’t agree on anything. Worse, they have let the lawyers and the courts overrule common sense nearly at every juncture.

Simply because they haven’t, and now won’t communicate. There should have been a way to get through this rationally and compassionately and spare us the bloody partisan wrangling the whole case has taken on.

What this should teach us isn’t what side of the Schiavo battle we should be on.

It hasn’t taught us that life is sacrosanct and that there is a higher road to follow.

It hasn’t taught us that our courts make good decisions during tumultuous cases. In fact hard cases usually make for bad law. As Terri’s case will undoubtedly do.

It hasn’t taught us that both sides are able to reason rationally and logically.

What is has taught me and my wife is that we need to communicate about these medical issues and commit them to legal documents before the need ever arises.

Prior to deploying to Afghanistan on Monday last week (yes, before my ill fated jump) I executed with my wife a will, a medical power of attorney and a living will. She executed a will. I expressed my desire before and during this what I would wish to happen, while she voiced her opinion. We differ, but now we know what the other would want to happen. She trusts me to the point that if it came down to keeping her alive, I would use all extraordinary measures to keep her alive. She knows I don’t want to live like that. Simple communication bound by a legal document.

So if this has taught us anything, it’s to talk out these issues and get them down legally before it ever comes to pass. Because it might. Terri Schiavo and her husband didn’t think so, but it happened.

If this case does nothing else for you and your family, let it do that.

It is the least that we owe Mrs. Schiavo.

Redleg's site: A Redleg's Perspective

You have been released from your prison. Some that loved you wanted you to stay—they didn’t want to let go… as most parents don’t. I will not say rest in peace, you have rested in peace far too long …bound to this earth in a broken mind and body. But now you are free to soar, to walk again and talk with your maker. You are where you belong and the restraints of this world will bind you no more. I thank God for your release and return to him.


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