Mrs. Schaivo is 41 years old. Why do I call her Mrs. Schiavo as opposed to Terry as everyone else does? I’ve never met the woman, I have to right to use her name as if she is a friend of mine.
I’m 34 years old. When I was 26, I was living in Singapore with my parents. I was going to clubs and dancing and meeting people. Mrs. Schiavo had a heart attack brought on by a potassium imbalance. Her brain was deprived of oxygen for 5 minutes and parts of it died.
When I was 28, I came back to the United States to attend Library School. I spent a summer in New York City. I moved to Chapel Hill North Carolina. I was elected President of my School’s student association by my peers. I made friends with some of the best people I have ever met in my entire life.
When Mrs. Schiavo was 28 she lay in a hospital bed with parts of her brain being turned into spinal fluid.
When I was 30, I had moved to Los Angeles. I was working on a brand new career. I had my own apartment. I had bought my own brand new car. My parents and I had visited Disneyworld.
When she was 30, Mrs. Schiavo was in a hospital bed, unable to swallow, unable to communicate. Unable to think.
When I was 32, I had season tickets to the Los Angeles Opera. I saw some of the most glorious pieces of operatic work ever composed. I saw Mamma Mia with my friends. I saw Robin Williams at the Universal Amphitheater. I read books, I saw movies, I spent time with my family. My father turned 60. My grandmother turned 80. One of my best friends got married. I promoted to branch manager. I now had a branch library of my own. My own staff. A budget and a building to manage.
When she was 32, Mrs. Schiavo was in a hospital bed. Visited by her husband and her parents.
I turned 34 in January. My brother’s wife had a baby. A beautiful, happy adorable baby that I have been able to hold and love.
When she was 34 Mrs. Schiavo lay in a hospital bed. Unable to acknowledge her family. Unable to chew or swallow. Unable to think.
I’m sure that many things will happen to me in the next seven years of my life. Many new experiences. And many old ones as well. My family will continue to grow, I will continue to be an active part of it.
In the seven years since she was 34, Mrs. Schiavo has been used as a pawn. She lies in a bed, unable to do anything. Her mind literally no longer exists. But she is no longer able to be an active part of her family.
Mrs. Schiavo should be allowed to die. She deserves peace. And she deserves dignity.