On March 30, 2005, Terri Schiavo had her last full day of life on this Earth and both her family and Father Frank Pavone of Priests for Life are remembering the last moments they shared with the woman whose former husband won a court order to take her life.
Terri was killed on March 31, 2005 when her former husband won a protracted legal battle against the Schindler family for the right to disconnect her feeding tube. Doctors who examined Terri say she was not in a persistent vegetative state and that her condition could have been improved has she been given access to more medical care and rehabilitative treatment.
Recalling the day before the day she died, after nearly two weeks of forced starvation and dehydration, Pavone said he prayed with her and read her a Biblical passage.
“I spent her last night by her side, praying with her, reading Scripture to her, and assuring her of the love of so many of you,” he said.
“Terri had not received a drop of water in nearly two weeks. As I reached out my hand to touch hers, I could also reach it out to touch the vase of flowers that was next to her, and that vase was filled with water,” Pavone recalls. “The flowers were nourished; Terri was deprived of nourishment. Court orders saw to it that none of us could give her some of the water that nourished the flowers.”
“In a culture of death, law is divorced from humanity, and we are all victimized in the process,” he said.
Suzanne Schindler, Terri’s sister, previously wrote an email thatt LifeNews received, reflecting more on the death of her sister, saying, “We must never forget Terri and the premature, unthinkable death she endured.”
“Terri was starved and dehydrated to death by those who value killing the innocent ahead of preserving life, and who put God second to the powers of a corrupt legal and government system—or leave Him out of the equation, entirely,” Schindler said.
“Terri never wanted to die, and in fact told us just the opposite—that she wanted to live. As we look back on all she endured, we realize that Terri did not die in vain. For years the “death cult” lurked in the shadows. Now, through the media coverage and public outcry surrounding Terri’s tragic ordeal, the evil of imposed death on the innocent and vulnerable has been exposed,” Schindler continued.
“Our family learned, in the most painful way possible, of the existence of this “pro-death culture,” as we fought to save Terri,” she concluded.
Following Terri’s death, the Schindler family created the Terri Schiavo Life & Hope Network to protect the rights of people with cognitive disabilities. It has communicated with and supported more than 1,000 families, and has been involved in hundreds of cases where it has helped disabled people get the care and medical treatment they deserve.
The Terri Schiavo Life & Hope Network, in collaboration with Priests for Life, sponsors the “International Day of Prayer and Remembrance for Terri Schindler Schiavo, and All of Our Vulnerable Brothers and Sisters,” which will be observed next weekend because yesterday was Easter.
“We invite individual believers to spend time on that day learning about Terri, and praying for all whose lives are threatened in the same way that hers was,” Pavone said. “We invite Churches to hold memorial services and to educate their people on the dignity of every human life, despite any disability or disease with which that life may be afflicted. We invite educational institutions to help dispel the myths and inaccuracies about Terri’s life and death, and to contribute to our society’s debate regarding the rights of the disabled by providing accurate, factual information and mature reflection on the ethical demands of caring for the weak and vulnerable.”
Pavone added: “We invite all people to use the resources on this website and to help us continue to draw good out of the sad and tragic way in which Terri was treated.”
The Terri’s Day Memorial Mass for 2013 will be held on Friday, April 5, due to Easter being on March 31. The mass will be celebrated by Archbishop Charles Chaput, Archbishop of Philadelphia, beginning at 5:00 p.m. The Mass will be held at Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul on 18th Street & Benjamin Franklin Parkway in Philadelphia.
Following the Memorial Mass, there will be the Terri Schiavo Life & Hope Network’s Award Gala, currently scheduled to begin at 6:30 p.m. with a cocktail reception. This dinner gala will be held at the Philadelphia Marriott Downtown, located at 1201 Market Street in Philadelphia. The first “Terri Schiavo Life & Hope Award” will be presented to the parents of Baby Joseph, Mr. & Mrs. Moe Maraachli.
A documentary about Terri’s life that presents facts that the mainstream media distorted has been getting rave reviews. Franklin Springs Family Media has put out a documentary called The Terri Schiavo Story that it says provides previously unexplored facts of the case through in-depth interviews with participants in the saga. The documentary is hosted by author and speaker Joni Eareckson Tada, who became personally involved in the case in 2005 and is herself disabled because of a diving accident.