Terri Schiavo’s Family Reveals The Story Behind the Story in New Book

Bioethics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Mar 14, 2006   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Terri Schiavo’s Family Reveals The Story Behind the Story in New Book Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt
LifeNews.com Editor
March 14, 2006

Clearwater, FL (LifeNews.com) — More excerpts from the new book written by Terri Schiavo’s family have come out. Written mostly from the perspective of Terri’s mother, Mary Schindler, they tell the day of a family desperately wanting to care for the daughter and sister they loved but facing a daunting legal world that showed no compassion.

The book, titled A Life That Matters: The Legacy of Terri Schiavo–A Lesson for Us All, is due out in bookstores on March 28.

It challenges readers to hear the words and feel the emotions of the warm, intensely private family who never sought the media storm that enveloped them, or the devastating legal battle that broke their hearts.

The Schindlers describe Terri’s life and upbringing and discusses her marriage to Michael Schiavo, who abandoned the marriage after Terri collapse and eventually had two children with his girlfriend Jodi Centonze.

The family talks abbot their lack of experience in and understanding of the legal world that soon devoured their lives.

"I felt I was living in a parallel world, where a different language — legalese — spoke a set of incomprehensible rules," Mary Schindler relates, according to an AP report.

"I felt no connection to this world, yet knew that Terri’s fate would be decided by those rules, and not by anything that governed MY world, where humanity has less to do with the law than with the heart," she explained.

The Schindlers talk about not knowing what best course to take to prevent Terri’s euthanasia death, but describe the inventive measures attorneys and supporters took to prevent Michael from taking her life as long as possible.

In the 272-page book, the family also describes the circumstances leading up to Terri’s 1990 collapse, which the media attributed to a potassium imbalance.

Later, the Schindler family, relying on events and problems in the Schiavo marriage prior to the collapse and a bone scan showing signs of possible physical trauma, accuse Michael of possibly physically abusing Terri. They repeat those charges in the book.

An autopsy on Terri’s body after she succumbed to the painful two week starvation and dehydration death, confirmed a potassium imbalance did not cause her collapse. Yet, it couldn’t pinpoint the cause of the collapse that put her in an incapacitated state.

The book "may well change every assumption you have about Terri’s too-brief life and prolonged, agonizing death," according to Warner Books, the publisher.

"Here the people who loved her and knew her best tell the story not only of the fifteen years Terri struggled to stay alive, but of a gentle child who brought happiness to everyone she touched," Warner says.

Michael, who recently married Centonze, has his own book hitting stores the day before, on March 27. Written with military history author Michael Hirsh, his 288-page book is titled, "Terri: The Truth."

Hirsh offered Michael his services after becoming angry that Florida Gov. Jeb Bush signed into law a measure approved by the Florida legislature allowing him to stop Terri’s euthanasia death. After courts renewed their decision that Michael could take Terri’s life, Governor Bush tried unsuccessfully to again prevent her from being killed.

Schiavo’s book wastes no time in launching an assault at Terri’s family and pro-life advocates who supported them and painting Michael as the victim.

"A religious zealot offered $250,000 to anyone who would kill me. My two babies were threatened with death," he explains. " I was condemned by the president, the majority leaders of the House and Senate, the governor of Florida, the pope, and the right-wing media, all because I was doing what Terri – the woman I loved — wanted."

"I didn’t respond to their attacks. I didn’t confront their lies. Until now," he adds.

The book promises to explain why Terri collapsed and why Michael had an affair with Centonze for years before Terri died.

Both books are timed to come shortly before the anniversary of Terri’s death, on March 31.

Leading up to the book release dates, both Michael and the Schindler family have national media interviews scheduled.

Michael will appear on NBC’s "Dateline" on March 26 and on "Today" the following morning while members of the Schindler family will appear on "Good Morning America" on March 27 and 28 and will visit with Fox News’ Hannity and Colmes on March 27.

Meanwhile, George Felos, the euthanasia advocate who was Michael’s lawyer has a book planned. He is writing the philosophical "Beyond Schiavo: Searching for Death with Dignity" that will likely advocate legalizing assisted suicide.

David Gibbs, the final attorney for the Schindlers, is finishing "Fighting for Dear Life: The Untold Story of Terri Schiavo and What It Means for All of Us" which is due to hit stores in August.