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 will never forget 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.”
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“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, wrote an email LifeNews received, reflecting more on the death of her sister, saying, “We must never forget Terri and the premature, unthinkable death she endured.”
“This upcoming March 31st will be the seventh anniversary of my sister, Terri Schiavo’s death. 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.
Terri’s brother Bobby Schindler wrote an op-ed at LifeNews saying he will never forget seeing his sister’s face after she died — deformed from the two weeks of starvation and dehydration she was forced to endure.
Nonetheless, the never-ending propaganda about the peaceable nature of forced dehydration compelled me to make public this image of my sister created from my memory. This (right) is what Terri looked like just before she died. It was horrible to see.
And yet, Schiavo’s attorney falsely told the public during a press conference, just days before Terri’s death, that she looked “beautiful”. This is what they want you to believe, not the harsh truth about the madness of what we permit in the rooms of hospitals, nursing homes and hospices every single day across this country.
These are the hard facts my family and I will have to live with for the rest of my life: After almost two weeks without food or water, my sister’s lips were horribly cracked, to the point where they were blistering. Her skin became jaundice with areas that turned different shades of blue. Her skin became markedly dehydrated from the lack of water. Terri’s breathing became rapid and uncontrollable, as if she was outside sprinting. Her moaning, at times, was raucous, which indicated to us the insufferable pain she was experiencing. Terri’s face became skeletal, with blood pooling in her deeply sunken eyes and her teeth protruding forward. Even as I write this, I can never properly describe the nightmare of having to watch my sister have to die this way.
What will be forever seared in my memory is the look of utter horror on my sister’s face when my family visited her just after she died.
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.
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.