Closer to the End

This time last year I went to see “The Passion of the Christ” and I can still remember how difficult it was to watch the scourging and crucifixion of the innocent Christ and to witness the callousness and even fervor of his persecutors who were blind to what they were really doing. Even though I knew every bit of Jesus’s suffering was for a just and vital cause, it was hard to look – but even harder to look away.

Though her situation is nowhere near as significant, I have had the same feelings of grief and frustration this week watching the Terri Schiavo passion play. Once again an innocent is flayed on the flimsiest of pretenses, but with a certain horrific inevitability. You have it all – betrayal, distortions, pride, prejudice, the midnight hearings, a fickle populace, the washing of hands. It even appears, again, as if the players have no choice but to play the parts assigned to them. Believe me, I want to look away, but I simply cannot.

Of course, soon enough we all will. Certainly injustice and tragedy are all around, and it’s sometimes hard to know what leads any of us to take up one cause and ignore 10 others. I also know that this life (on earth) is not the one to hold dear, and that God’s plan always results in justice at every level, even if that justice occurs on a grander scale than I can comprehend.

At some point we will realize just what has taken place here, and it may come as soon as the time it takes for the books and movies to come out featuring the suppressed testimony and affidavits from doctors, nurses and others.

Here’s a sneak preview: The National Review Online posts the following affidavit from William P. Cheshire, Jr., MD. Dr. Cheshire is a neurologist and certified by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology and is an appointed volunteer with the Florida statewide Adult Protective Services team. In that capacity he conducted an independent, 90-minute examination of Terri Schiavo on March 1, 2005.

The link is to a PDF file of the original document and is somewhat fuzzy. I have retyped an excerpt of seven observations made by Dr. Cheshire below. You can use the link above to read the document in its entirety, including the footnotes to clinical studies in the original that I have omitted in my retyping. These observations, again, are from an expert who has been able to visit Terri Schiavo recently, and may be illuminating to anyone who has the impression that she has been little more than a houseplant. Dr. Cheshire says:

Based on my review of extensive medical records documenting Terri’s case over the years, on my personal observations of Terri, and on my observations of Terri’s responses in the many hours of videotapes taken in 2002, she demonstrates a number of behaviors that I believe cast a reasonable doubt on the prior diagnosis of PVS. These include:

1. Her behavior is frequently context-specific. For example, her facial expression brightens and she smiles in response to the voice of familiar persons such as her parents or her nurse. Her agitation subsides and her facial demeanor softens when quiet music is played. When jubilant piano music is played, her face brightens, she lifts her eyebrows, smiles, and even laughs. Her lateral gaze toward the tape player is sustained for many minutes. Several times I witnessed Terri briefly, albeit inconsistently, laugh in response to a humorous comment someone in the room had made. I did not see her laugh in the absence of someone else’s laughter.


Bear with me a little longer. There are other topics I want to get to, and the Minfidel has been trying to get to the keyboard as well. Soon enough “The End” will appear on this particular movie. And then the credits will roll.

One thought on “Closer to the End

  1. Your comparison with Schaivo to the Passion is uncanny. I do believe that there is something metaphysical, and inevitable at play here. Although a horrible situation, I do believe that Divine Providence is taking hold. I also believe that just like many other dark chapters in Earth’s history, this will turn out for the greater glory of God.

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