Terri is caught between two worlds. And I think she knows it. Maybe her brain doesn’t know it. But I think the essence of her, her soul is fully aware. Whether she wants to stay or go really depends on her attachment to this world and her desire for the next. She’s had 15 years to mull it over. I suspect that time doesn’t measure out for her now the way it does for us. So maybe it only feels like a few moments, or maybe it feels like eternity.
Does she look at her long suffering husband and the agony of her parents and strain to loosen the cords that bind her brain so that she can hold them again? Or does she pray that God gives them the strength to let her go, so that she can return to Him? It’s got to be torture for everybody concerned.
I wish Terri could live. I wish she could live in the world she longs for most. I wish we could respect her right to do so. She is not some suicidal person firmly planted in this life who is simply giving up. She is clearly between this life and the after life. Like a person with dual citizenship in two great nations. Where does her allegiance fall?
I can’t help but think, if it were me… I would hate to leave this world with my life so unfinished. I would want to live. I would stand by my body pleading for someone to pray for me. Longing for their faith to make me whole. Praying to God for a reprieve and a second chance. But how long would I do that? 15 years? If 15 years felt like 15 years, or if it felt longer, I think I would eventually just want to go home. But if 15 years flashed by in a breath, I would be standing there screaming for life.
Unless… unless I saw the 15 years destroying my family. Tearing away at them piece by piece. Never letting them heal or move on. Watching them suffer, knowing it was because of me. Pounding the walls with fleshless fists as they imagined seeing light in my soulless eyes. Then even 15 years in a heartbeat would be hell for me. I would be tortured that they were keeping me here in this prison.
But then, what if I WERE there, just beyond my own eyes, looking out? What if I were navigating the labyrinth of my own mind trying to find the switch that would turn me back on? And what if my time was running out? What if my body was hungry and drained so that I was now falling behind in a losing battle? Would I be angry at them for trying to kill me? For standing by and watching me die?
Or maybe. Just maybe. I am already gone. Maybe I have been gone for so long that when I do come by the hospital to visit my family on occasion, I find myself marveling that the people I love are having such a hard time figuring out what to do with my old clothes. Why are they beating each other up over those old rags? What’s the big deal anyway? --- “I wish you guys could see all the amazing stuff I’ve seen. It’s so cool! Stop crying for a minute and let me tell you about it.” --- But they don’t and after a while I give them each an ethereal kiss, turn to Jesus and ask him to take care of them, and then head off to explore another corner of creation.
I don’t know the answer. But Terri does. I just hope she holds fast to the world she wants to live in. And, if it’s not this one, I hope she’s already free.