The reaction in my home was mixed. Grief, relief that her suffering was over, and anger that her husband seemed to do everything in his power to make sure that she died, even though Schiavo's parents had offered to care for her. He had already moved on, starting a relationship with another woman that led to two children. Why would he not simply divorce Terri, and allow her parents their daughter, whom they loved unconditionally?
I struggled with dark emotions until later that week, when I learned that Pope John Paul II was dying. It moved me that, in one of his last acts on earth, he accepted a feeding tube. He was actively dying, and Church teaching for that situation was that he didn't have to use one. However, it was as if he chose to die that week, using the feeding tube which Terri was denied. His feeding tube was only removed when death was imminent, when it was truly his time to "go to the House of my Father."
Pope John Paul was teaching us how to die well. I was sad to lose my beloved Papa, but his death, surrounded by thousands keeping vigil outside his apartment, was so inspiring, I was uplifted.
It was this week of death in springtime which made me into an advocate for those with disabilities. I knew that I had to work on making the world a place where your intelligence, your ability, or your income didn't make you a person worthy of love; your very existence did.