I did my level best to completely ignore the Teri Schiavo case, but a coworker and I were talking about how easy it is to sympathize with her parents, to understand their desire to keep her alive regardless of her state. And I do sympathize with that desire. I also suspect, though, that hanging on like they have these past 15 years has been destructive for their lives, and hope that now they may finally be able to grieve and move on in their lives.
Our culture has a long tradition of fighting to keep what we have, and institutions to help us fight. We have churches to bind us to our culture’s morality, political organizations to insure our rights aren’t trampled, medical research to hang on to youth and health for just a few years more. These are all good things. But I think we need more focus on institutions to help us accept when things change, death being the ultimate change that we all face. It’s not easy to let go of a an addiction, a loved one who’s gone or a belief that has outlived its usefulness. Sometimes we need help and support just to let go.