Published 10:56 pm Monday, April 4, 2005
Make wishes known to family members
Terri Shiavo died this week, after living in a vegetative state for 15 years. One would have to live under a rock to have avoided the media coverage that surrounded the legal battles between her husband and her parents and their opposite views of whether her unlively life should continue or end.
In the end, the courts upheld her husband's position that she would not have wanted to live in her diminished condition.
Contrast the indignity of having one's photograph plastered all over the world, one's family "airing the laundry" publicly, with what appeared to be Pope John Paul's last days. As The Standard went to press this weekend, it appeared that Pope John Paul would not be of the world much longer. The pope chose to end his life in his home, rather than to return to the hospital.
No doubt, the pope made clear his wishes that at some point, the medical community would no longer intervene to sustain his life when his spirit was gone.
Like most of the pope's life, the end of it provides a lesson to us all, a lesson underscored by the Shiavo case: Make known your wishes. No matter how one feels about the Shiavo case, one shouldn't put the burden of the decision on one's family. Take time to make your wishes know, get a living will if needed.
No family should have to face what Shiavo's has.