Bob Schindler never wanted to be in the public eye, but he was.
He never wanted to have his family’s private life exposed to a world-wide audience, never wanted the noteriety of being involved in a case heard by the U.S. Supreme Court, but he was.
But, more than that, he didn’t want his daughter to die, but she did.
Bob’s daughter Terri Schiavo died in March, 2005 after years of legal and political wrangling. She died after three separate court rulings that allowed her estranged husband to remove her feeding tube.
Bob Schindler Sr. followed her August 29, 2009.
I got to know Bob and his family while covering the Terri Schivao case for various media outlets. I spent more than five years reporting and photographing the story as it made it’s way through the legislature, the courts, the media and the White House. I learned a few things from Mr. Schindler along the way:
1. Family is always first.
2. Fight for what your heart tells you is right.
3. Never give up.
Bob didn’t just teach these lessons. He lived them every day. He stayed by his daughter’s side. He stood strong against immense opposition to those who felt that her right to breathe died when she had a cardiac arrest at a young age.
As a news reporter and photographer, you’re not supposed to take sides and I didn’t. I accurately portrayed what was happening during the case, but I never could lose the feeling that Terri’s mother, father, brother and sister should be able to hold her hand, brush her hair, talk to her, see her and love her regardless of her medical condition.
Bob Schindler Sr. will never be forgotten. His legacy will live on with everyone who knew him, but also to many who didn’t know him, only knew of him.
His memory to me won’t be as the father of Terri Schiavo.
It will be as the father we should all be so lucky to have. (I am)
I will miss you, my friend.