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When Tara Met Blog
Sunday, March 27, 2005
Teri, euthanasia and my sister
I try not to have my blog be political and for the most part I keep it fluffy and stick to non heated issues. But I?d like to briefly talk about Teri Schiavo, after all she is currently the #1 blogged about person right now.

I feel for everyone involved in this case, Teri, her husband and her parents. I do believe that it is a personal decision and that it should be up to the family as well. I?ve held my tongue on the subject even when my fellow grad students were discussing the issue in class. One student commented that Teri?s husband obviously does not love her anymore. But if that was the case he would have taken the money that was offered from the anti-euthanasia people and let his wife continue as is.

Some feel that it?s not right to take life into your own hands and that taking Teri off the machines goes against God?s natural plan. But there is nothing natural about having machines breathe for you. Fifty years ago Teri would have died naturally by now--modern technology is what is keeping her alive. If her family allowed the media?s cameras to show Teri's current condition with her laboriously breathing in her hospital bed and photos of her bruised body, then there is no way you could think that this is natural. Not that starving the poor girl is any more humane, urghh its just a hard case because we have no idea what SHE wants.

Let?s go back 23 years, when my mother was pregnant with me (although she didn?t know it) and my sister Serina (isn?t that a beautiful name?) who was three years old. One autumn day she chased her dog Toto across the street in front of her house and was hit by a careless driver. Going through what no parent should, my mom saw her daughter lying lifeless underneath a car.

When I was 11 and taking a bath with my mom, she pulled me into her arms and told me she could still see Serina?s little feet when her body was lifted onto the stretcher and brought into an ambulance. Desperately holding one another, we both cried as my mom went into real detail for the first time about Serina?s death. The doctors said she was brain dead and would never truly be ?alive? again; she would only be a vegetable and would never breathe on her own. After a month of my parents living in the hospital, watching their daughter being poked with needles every couple of hours, and seeing her chest being lifted off the bed as the machines pumped air into her tiny lungs every couple of seconds, they realized as desperately as they wanted their child alive and always with them, they could not stand to see her exist like this. With a priest in the room, my parents turned off her machines and my mother gathered her child into her arms one last time, like she did to me in the tub that day, while she told me of how Serina?s skin turned blue and how her baby was finally able to rest peacefully and not simply existing in a comatose state for the rest of her days.

This was obviously not an easy decision on their part, nor anyone forced into a situation like this one. So, it seems the only way to have your beliefs be carried out in an event like this is by writing instructions in a living will for your family. I know several people who have done so already.

Live Wire Article: "NYU Students Prepare for Death" by Jennifer Richards

Stat: A woman's risk of untimely death increases by four times in the three years following the loss of a child (Newsweek)

Posted by Tara at 9:01 PM PST
Updated: Sunday, April 24, 2005 10:48 AM PDT

Monday, March 28, 2005 - 8:46 AM PST

Name: Lank
Home Page:

Wow. That was a very powerful post. Thanks a lot for sharing it.

(By the way, Serina is a very beautiful name)

Tuesday, March 29, 2005 - 6:00 AM PST

Name: Jennifer
Home Page:

i feel like i should say something, but i don't know what...

Tuesday, March 29, 2005 - 6:51 AM PST

Name: Tara

Thank you Lank and Jenn. Yeah, if I read this post on someone else's blog I don't think I'd know what to comment either. thanks for doing so though! I had debated doing this post, afraid people would yell at me and my family.

Tuesday, March 29, 2005 - 11:07 AM PST

Name: SL

Dear, dear Tara,

I commend your parents for making a decision which was the hardest thing in the world to do. I pray that I NEVER have to make that decision.

I definitely have an opinion on the case, but I can't do it here.



Tuesday, March 29, 2005 - 9:40 PM PST

Name: Drea

Tara, that breaks my heart. What a terrible thing for parents to go through. {hug} Thanks for sharing your story. It's too easy to judge such personal situations when it's not your family.

Wednesday, March 30, 2005 - 9:46 AM PST

Name: Hammertime
Home Page:

A touching story, heartfelt and honest. Thank you for being open about it.

However, Mrs. Schiavo is not on a breathing machine. She breathes suffciently on her own. She was being given food and water - that's it.

I don't know if that affects your opinion at all or not - but I think it's a big difference.

Peace be with you.

Wednesday, March 30, 2005 - 11:31 AM PST

Name: annush
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that was a very powerful post. I can't begin to imagine how hard that must have been for you and your family.
I don't think most people really understand the complexity of a situation like this. All most people see is that someone is pulling the plug. It's unfortunate. There is so much more.
This week I filled out my living will form. It seems like the logical thing to do. I wouldn't want to see my family in the situation that Teri Schiavo's family is in right now.

Friday, April 1, 2005 - 8:12 PM PST

Name: pia
Home Page:

Again, I can't imagine being in that situation and how it affected your parents, and you being born after that.

It must have been hell for your parents--not just your sister's death, but having you, and not knowing how to explain it to you--because there's no correct protocol or book of "the right thing to do," because there isn't any right thing to do..

I commend you for sharing this with the world.

Personally, I'm proud to know you

Sunday, April 3, 2005 - 11:18 AM PST

Name: Stacy

In response to the comment that was made earlier with regards to whether or not someone can breathe on their own making a difference: It is not the number of tubes running through someone's body that is at issue here, it's quality of life. Breathing either dependantly or independantly of tubes and machines does not ensure a quality of life that is worth living for a lot of people; and those closet to them should be allowed to make the decision. I think people need to start examining their position on this issue for the Teri Schiavo case and how the courts determine "life" is going to be another Roe v. Wade situation, and we all know the danger that decision faces every day from the conservative right.

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