Statement of the Schindler Family on the Passing of Terri Schindler Schiavo
PINELLAS PARK, FL -- The following is the text of the statement read by Terri Schindler Schiavo's sister, Suzanne Vitadamo; and brother, Bobby Schindler, in front of the Woodside Hospice, in Pinellas Park, Florida, at a 4:30 PM, press conference.
As you are aware, Terri is now with God and she has been released from all earthly burdens. After these recent years of neglect at the hands of those who were supposed to protect and care for her, she is finally at peace with God for eternity. We are speaking on behalf of our entire family this evening as we share some thoughts and messages to the world regarding our sister and the courageous battle that was waged to save her life from starvation and dehydration.
We have a message for the volunteers that have helped our family:
Thank you for all that you've done for our family. Thank you to the hundreds of doctors who volunteered to help Terri. Thank you to the fifty doctors who provided statements under oath to help Terri. Thank you to the lawyers who stood for Terri's life in the courtrooms of our nation. From running our family's website, to driving us around, to making meals, to serving in so many ways—thank you to all of the volunteers who have been so kind to our family through all of this.
We have a message for the supporters and people praying worldwide:
Please continue to pray that God gives grace to our family as we go through this very difficult time. We know that many of you never had the privilege to personally know our wonderful sister, Terri, but we assure you that you can be proud of this remarkable woman who has captured the attention of the world. Following the example of the Lord Jesus, our family abhors any violence or any threats of violence. Threatening words dishonor our faith, our family, and our sister, Terri. We would ask that all those who support our family be completely kind in their words and deeds toward others.
We have a message to the media:
We appreciate your taking Terri's case to the nation. Please afford our family privacy to grieve at this time. The patience and graciousness of the on-site media here at hospice has been deeply appreciated by our family.
We have a message to the many government officials who tried to help Terri:
Thank you for all that you've done. Our family will be forever grateful to all of the outstanding public servants who have tried to save Terri.
We have a message to all of the religious leaders who tried to help Terri:
Thank you to all people of faith who demonstrated love for Terri and strength of conviction to defend the sacredness of all human life as a precious gift from God. Our family is highly honored that the Holy Father, Pope John Paul II, would speak out so boldly on behalf of our sister, Terri.
We have a message of forgiveness:
Throughout this ordeal, we are reminded of the words of Jesus on the cross: "Father forgive them for they know not what they do." Our family seeks forgiveness for anything that we have done in standing for Terri's life that has not demonstrated the love and compassion required of us by our faith.
We have a message to parents worldwide:
Our family would encourage parents to spend time with their children and to cherish each and every moment of each and every day with them as a precious gift from God.
We have a message to Terri from her family:
As a member of our family unable to speak for yourself, you spoke loudly. As a member of our family unable to stand under your own power, you stood with a grace and a dignity that made your family proud. Terri, we love you dearly, but we know that God loves you more than we do. We must accept your untimely death as God's will.
Terri, your life and legacy will continue to live on, as the nation is now awakened to the plight of thousands of voiceless people with disabilities that were previously unnoticed. Your family intends to stand up for the other "Terri's" around this nation and we will do all that we can to change the law so others won't face the same fate that has befallen you.
We have a final thought to share:
Our family had hoped this day would never come, but as it has now arrived, we ask ourselves a question in these incredibly sad circumstances: What would the Lord Jesus ask us to do in a moment like this? In John's Gospel, Jesus responded to the questions of the rabbis, who asked why a man had been born blind. He said: "it is so that the works of God might be made manifest through him."
God's plan for Terri is unfolding before our eyes. Our prayer at this time is that our Nation will remember the plight of persons with disabilities and commit within our hearts to defend their lives and their dignity for many generations to come.
Posted: April 1, 2005 08:32 AM
My husband & I would like to express our deepest sympathy to the family of Terri for her passing away. Your family & many others are held in the highest eteem for your fight for "LIFE". We know that with the grace of God something good will come from Terri's death. She is our newest little maryter. May she rest in peace. Thank you God for her life. Our prayers are with you.
Yours in Christ,
Robert & Jacqueline Messinger
Posted by: Jacqueline Messinger at April 1, 2005 06:48 PM
Prior to this moment,I have been deeply sickened by the way this story has ended. Now, I have come to realize this is truly the begining. Terri will never be forgotten, and in fact, I believe she will be fully "alive" now through those whose lives she has touched. She could not speak when she was here, but through us she will deafen those who refused to listen. She could not walk when she was here, but now, through us, she will stand up and work tirelessly to awaken others who turned the other way. Terri will live a full life through us. The life that she was unjustly robbed of by the hands of Michael. Terri is with God now and no one can ever hurt her again. We must all work to never let those who murdered Terri forget what they have done. We cannot allow them to suppress it as if it never happend. Hopefully someday, they will accept what they have done and repent to God for their terrible sin. They are not allowed to forget her, we need to allow her to live through us. God bless the Schindler family. You are all true heros.
Posted by: Heather Schneider at April 2, 2005 12:36 PM
I would like to say how sorry I'am for your loss of your Terri. As a parent and a christian I don't know if I could be as full of GODS love , I would have been a little like Peter in his young days and used a sword instead of prayer, I think michael showed is what this countrie is turning to and away from ,and your family showed us that having faith in GOD is the most important thing we can do , and second is our family,and I pray GOD will build around your fanily a hedge of protection one satan can not get through to cause any doubt ,Terri is home with our LORD ,and be assured Michael will one day stand before our LORD and have to make and account of his life and actions,I would not won't to be in his shoes. Please keep trusting in our LORD and be at peace
yours in CHRIST Wayne
Posted by: wayne higdon at April 3, 2005 07:28 AM
To Terri's parents,
It was a pleasure to advocate, pray for, and stand in front of Hospice in steadfast support for the LIFE of your beloved daughter, Terri Schindler. I love you guys . . . and Suzanne, and Bobby.
"Grace and dignity", the President of the United States commended you for these 2 traits, in the midst of your personal tragedy. As a long time supporter of Terri, I would like to add that I witnessed your "love and forgiveness" over the last 2 years. I was present in 2003, when the feeding tube was removed. And in both 2003 and 2005, your lack of "bitterness and revenge" spoke louder to me -- than any sermon ever could.
Personally, I will follow your admonition, and in memory of Terri and your bravery, I will continue to fight, and fight hard for the right of "individuals living with disabilities." Life is precious. All life is sacred. If I had to pick a person to spend time with, Terri certainly would be higher on my list than ____, or ____, or _________.
Who would have thought that after working so "dag gone hard" to earn a PhD (1997) in Special Education from USF in Tampa, Florida, that 8 years later (March, 2005)in Pinellas Park, Florida I would be a stone's throw from the murder of a person with a disability?
I was totally helpless . . . unable to prevent her long, painful starvation.
No amount of education could persuade a judge or the Florida Senate to stand for life.
Death occurred. I am deeply saddened.
God have mercy, and give grace to all.
Dr. Mary Porta
Pinellas County Schools
Posted by: Mary Porta at April 4, 2005 01:12 PM
Thank God for Living Wills to keep everyone out of a person's or family's private life!
Posted by: Steve at April 4, 2005 03:32 PM
please know that my family feels sorrow for yours. just want you all to know your in our prayers.may god comfort you in your time of sorrow.he is so mighty and able. god bless each and everyone of you.
Posted by: rita bass at April 4, 2005 11:08 PM
My heart and my prayers go out to you and your family. My family and my co-workers I know send theirs also. I cannot imagine your pain having to stand by and watch your daughter slip away because another held her life in their hands. I know we were appaled at the insanity of it all! We just want you to know we are prepared to keep our Terri alive by volunteering to do whatever we can to keep others from this terrible atrosity
Posted by: Sherry Dunn at April 5, 2005 12:05 PM
I have, and will continue to keep your family and the repose of the soul of Terri in my prayers. I have arranged for a mass to be said for her at one of the local Catholic churches. The horror of these past few weeks is beyond words. May the Blessed Virgin Mary give you comfort during this time of the physical loss of your most precious daughter/sister, just as she lost her Son to a cruel death. May the Risen Christ give you hope. Blessings,
Posted by: Teresa Danovich at April 6, 2005 01:20 AM
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