Having read the accounts of coma victims who have returned from the "living dead," it occurs to me that Terry Schiavo may have spent the last fifteen years in a similar kind of personal hell.
Her new diagnosis, which elevates her to a level of consciousness instead of a persistent, vegetative state, could mean that she has spent all this time well aware of her circumstances, but helpless because of them.
It is within the realm of possibility that the Terri Schiavo, the one who can speak and talk, lives on trapped inside her brain. The same way people who are having memory problems can be acutely aware of their loss, she, too, may be aware that she is in a mental prison, her soul locked in a dungeon of fog and incomprehension. Anyone who has tried to wake up from anesthesia knows how it feels to be in that twilight. Struggling for clarity. Struggling to communicate. And feeling helpless to do anything.
What if all this time the Terri who was left behind fifteen years ago really is alive, but assigned to a dreadful exile, trapped in a place where no one can see or hear her, locked behind a door she can never open. Now that she no longer gets food or drink, she lies there, dying of thirst and hunger, conscious of all that is happening to her. And, if her husband is in any way responsible for her plight, she also knows why. At least when her body finally dies, she can be free.