Last year at this time my wife, Charmaine, was dying in a hospice program. She too had a tube that she could be fed with and like Terri Schiavo told her husband, Charmaine told me that she wanted nothing extraordinary done to prolong her life.
When she was no longer able to verbally express her wishes, Charmaine had to trust that I would stand firm and stop any move to keep her alive with artificial means. It was hard to do that. I loved her and didn’t want her to go. I wanted just a little more time with her so I could say everything I had said to her over again, but I also knew that I had the very awesome responsibility to live by her wishes.
Charmaine trusted me and that meant a lot. No matter what, I had to think about all the talks we had about her dying. I was lucky, because no one protested her wishes.
Michael Schiavo’s life would have been so much easier if he would have just walked away from his wife and let people keep her alive for as long as they could. According to the New York Times, Terri Schiavo’s "heart stopped because of an undiagnosed potassium deficiency, on February 26, 1990." That is fifteen years ago and since that time she has been in a "persistent vegetative state, meaning she could breathe on her own and had periods of wakefulness, but was incapable of thought, memory, or emotion."
Michael Schiavo tried for several years to rehabilitate his wife, even taking her to California for an experimental brain treatment, but nothing worked. The media never tells us about this, but there have been many reports of groups offering Michael big money to walk away, and he didn’t.
It took a lot of guts to do what this husband did for his wife. He stayed married to her when it would have been much easier to give the responsibility of her care to her parents, who challenged his right to make decisions for her.
CNN reported that Terri Schiavo’s husband Michael was with her when she died.
I was with Charmaine when she died too and even though she was in the hospice program and we knew she was going to die, when it actually happened, it was devastating.
My thoughts and prayers go out to Michael in his time of grief and to all of Terri’s loved ones. I have nothing but respect and admiration for the job Michael Schiavo did in keeping with his wife’s wishes. I know it was a gut wrenching job and there is no doubt in my mind, that many times he thought of walking away, but Terri put her trust in her husband and he honored that trust. What more can a spouse ask for.
Jim Glaser [send him mail], a Marine Corps Vietnam War veteran and Commander of VFW Post 3869, works to educate the American public on the consequences of war. His personal website is James-Glaser.com.