.- Hours after the death of 41-year old Terri Schiavo following a tumultuous decade-long legal battle, her sister, Suzanne Vitadamo, and brother, Bobby Schindler made a public statement of gratitude yesterday to those who have offered their prayers and support.
Speaking to a worldwide audience, the Schindlers said that, while they know "that many of you never had the privilege to personally know our wonderful sister… we assure you that you can be proud of this remarkable woman who has captured the attention of the world."
Terri's husband Michael Schiavo finally convinced courts in February that his wife would have never wanted to be kept alive in her brain-damaged state, and successfully lobbied to have the feeding tube, which provided her with food and hydration, removed.
From March 18th, until yesterday, family and supporters fought valiantly--all the way to the Supreme Court and President George Bush--to save their daughter from what would become immanent starvation
"After these recent years of neglect at the hands of those who were supposed to protect and care for her," Terri's brother and sister said, "she is finally at peace with God for eternity."
They added that, "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."
From lawyers, to doctors to religious leaders, government officials, and even those who cooked meals for the exhausted family, the Schindlers thanked all those "who have been so kind to our family through all of this."
Speaking to their sister herself, they said that "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."
Bobby and Suzanne concluded by asking, "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."