Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Eerie epitaphs

Today’s big news: yet another insult to Terri Schiavo and her parents. Yesterday, Michael Schiavo buried her ashes in a cemetery in Clearwater, Florida. Not surprisingly, Terri’s family was neither invited to the burial, nor informed of it. In fact, phone calls from media reporters came in before they were informed via a fax of the service.

The biggest shocker, however, is Michael’s choice of wording on Terri’s headstone.

“I kept my promise,” Michael states on her tombstone. Wow, that one sentence brings up so many questions. Is a tombstone the place to make such a selfish and controversial statement? What promise was that exactly, Michael? Are you trying that hard to justify your actions? Is this yet another expression of denial of abetting in murder?

He made her suffer. He made her parents suffer, too. Even IF Terri had said that she did not want any “artificial means,” pushing his agenda to the point of creating animosity between himself and the rest of Terri’s family was not worth it! He only wanted to cause her death, maybe out of spite toward her parents, maybe out of good intention. Why couldn’t he just let her be cared for, as any disabled person should be cared for, by parents who were willing to do?

Yet, another irony in this case is the fact that the wording on Terri’s tombstone is almost identical to the wording of the memorial to Nancy Beth Cruzan.

Nancy’s plight dates back to 1983 when, as a 25-year-old woman, she was in a car accident. Her injuries left her in what doctors called a “permanent vegetative state (PVS)” and after 7 years of disputes, her parents “won” their fight over Nancy’s husband and the hospital to remove her feeding tube. This case was seen in the halls of the Supreme Court.

Terri was injured at the age of 26. At that time, she was married to Michael. Though her injury remains a mystery, she was deemed to be in a PVS with no hope for recovery. Through 15 years of dispute, Terri’s husband finally succeeded in removing her feeding tube at the dismay of her parents and siblings. Her case was rejected by the Supreme Court, however the President did attempt to intervene to save her life.

Nancy’s memorial listed the date of her injury, January 11, 1983, as the day she “departed.” Terri’s tombstone listed the date of her injury, February 25, 1990, as they day she “departed this Earth.”

Departed? This statement is trying to justify the claim that these woman lacked any dignity or worth after sustaining injuries. (Maybe a tomb for an aborted child should say “Exercising the right to choose.”)

Nancy’s memorial remembers her as the “most loved daughter-sister-aunt,” which completely ignores her role as wife. Her husband was the one vying for her life.

Terri’s headstone remembers her as the “beloved wife,” which completely ignores her role as sister and daughter. Her parents and siblings were the ones fighting for her life.

In both cases, the person who advanced the “cause” of her death was the person who “remembered” her in stone as their own.

“MWMW thank you -----” is Nancy’s epitaph. The squiggly line of a beating heart… a common phrase of gratitude… the straight line of death. How sick.

“I kept my promise” is Terri’s epitaph. A political statement… a slap in the face… the final words belong to the perpetrator, not the victim. Again, how utterly sick.


An article in The Empire Journal explains this correlation in detail with pictures of the tombstones, links to pertinent Supreme Court cases, and links to other articles about the Terri Schiavo tragedy.

How many more tombstones like this will we see? How about those born with severe handicaps, will their tombstone state, “Never really entered.”

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