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I stuck my finger in the Easter bread batter last night, meaning to taste just a little of it to make sure I got it right.

While our mind holds all our memories, it is our senses that truly bring those memories forth. The taste and smell of the batter, all that lemon and sugar and butter, was like a one-two punch to my gut. Memories of my grandmother flooded my head. Baking on Good Friday, her hands covered in flour, deftly working the dough. The smell of the lemon zest, the squishy feel of the batter when she made me stick my hands in the mix as she would pour in the beaten eggs, then the flour, then more lemon peel, and I would whine that dough, at first, was gluey and stuck to my hands. The more I complained, the harder she made me work the dough until she threw enough flour in the pot for the batter to finally seem...doughy and it began to feel soft and pliant and I could take it out of the mixing pot to knead it.

Years of memories in one swoop, just from tasting that batter. In every single one of those memories, I am standing in Grandma's kitchen on Easter weekend and we're baking, watching The Price is Right. I'm small, in green plaid pants and a sweatshirt with the sleeves rolled up. I'm a grouchy teenager afraid to get my band t-shirt crusted with flour. I'm an adult and I'm laughing at something Grandma said and I have no idea that it's going to be the last Easter she'll be alive.

I have a picture of Grandma on my fridge. After the memories subside I glance at the photo - she's standing in the kitchen with her sister, Aunt Jo - and smile.

The smile fades later when I open my email and it's kind of strange that today is the day I get this one particular mail - amid a flurry of many, many diatribes calling me many uncharitable things - that says "how does it feel to wish your grandmother dead? Did you smile when she died? Did you want her to die just to alleviate your suffering, you selfish thing?" And I know they are referring to this and I shake my head in disbelief.

I remember my grandmother's last days. I remember sitting in her hospital room in December 1998 and marveling at how her hands were fleshy and bony at the same time and how, even on her death bed, she still smelled like a mixture of cheap lipstick and burned garlic and that may sound terrible to you, but it was grandma to me.

I miss her. I miss her terribly. There are some days I think I see her in the supermarket and I have to remind myself she's dead. There are days I go to my mother's house, across the street from where Grandma - as well as my own family - lived and I think I hear her yelling at me to put a coat on.

Did I want my grandmother to die? At that particular time and place, yes I did. I wanted her to be free from suffering. I wanted her to be with her husband, my grandfather, which is all she wanted after he died, anyhow. I wanted her to stop needing so many wires and tubes to keep her going. I wanted her to have peace.

That does not make me a killer, a nazi, a bringer of death, a terrible person or any of those things I have been called. The fact that I said If I were Terri Schiavo, if I were in that situation, I would want to die, that in my personal opinion she's not alive so much as being kept alive, does not make me selfish or a bad person or spokesperson for the culture of death.

Who's behaving badly here? Who is making death threats to judges, throwing their kids out to the wolves to get arrested, sending horrible emails to people who disagree with them, calling us nazis and Hitlers and killers, claiming that we want to kill the disabled and meek and that only good Christians can understand what's at stake here? Or that if we disagree with you that means we must be ugly liberals at heart or you start attacking us in other ways, dragging people's sexuality into the fight?

I would like very much for my grandmother to be here with me today, baking Easter bread and watching Bob Barker together. But she's dead and I'm not afraid to say that I was relieved when she died. For her. Not for me. Not for anyone else, but for her.

I'm not going to read any more of these emails. I know, I said I wouldn't do that before, but this particular email was disguised as something friendly. What a lovely thing to do. What a Christian way to behave, my friend (and that is directed toward the emailer, not all Christians).

Happy Easter. May we all rise above this.

[See also LGF, Glenn and Jeff]

[Previous posts on this here and here]


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Good thoughts to you, dear. Your description of your Grandmother makes me smile. I can smell lemon and yeast while I read it.

Happy Easter!

I'm not as eloquent as you, but I feel ya.

What a hateful and ignorant thing to say to you, Michele.

I made the Easter Bread today. I even made one loaf braided with colored eggs in it, just for fun. As I made it with my mom, I thought about how one day I want to make it with my goddaughter, and make it a tradition, maybe on Good Friday. I thank you for sharing your tradition with me, and helping me to create my own.

very nice words...i am reading so many of us on the right having to defend not only our REPUBLICAN credentials, but also our HUMAN credentials...that I am having to defend the latter is dampening my enthusiasm for the former.

enjoy your easter.

Just keep on being true to yourself, Michele.
Pissing off people who believe that the government should control every aspect of our lives is a noble endeavor. ;-)

Happy Easter


I just wanted to say I am sorry that some slobbering idiots are venting at you in such a way. I have read some of the other disturbing incidents where people on the right (and I am definitely one) have gotten mean and nasty and have acted like moonbats to people who simply disagree on this case.

I myself have conflicting views over this whole Schiavo issue, and as complex as it is, I can see and accept the arguments from all sides. While I believe as Glenn Reynolds does that the majority of people backing Terri's parents in this are well intentioned, some are not and are being zealous creeps.

A while back I got into a discussion in your comments over the Kid Rock performance at the Inaugural ball. We disagreed then, but I was very pleased that we were able to disagree while being civil. In fact, thinking about it later, I felt I substantially reevaluated my opinion of it because both you had a point, and you communicated it without rancor. You respected what I had to say, but respectfully disagreed with it. Its a shame others have not in this case.

Anyway, just know that not everyone on the right is going off the deep end. Enjoy your weekend.

Captain Wrath

I want your Easter Bread recipe, please.

'Round these parts, the only bread related to Easter is Sunday morning biscuits. With gravy, of course.

Ya know what Michele?

Some people are just jerks.

I don't care what their politics are, I don't care what their religion is or isn't, I don't care what part of the country they live in, I don't care what their current cause is. They are just plain cruel and hate filled jerks.

Don't let em get to you, they don't deserve your time or your energy.

Have a wonderful Easter, enjoy your family, your Easter bread and the warm, loving memories of your Grandmother.

I am really sorry that someone felt they had the right to do that to you. That is not what this holiday is about.

You keep remembering your time baking with your grandmother. And you can be happy knowing that she is peaceful. Because it would be cruel for you to do anything else.

I had a girlfriend many years ago that when I had just begun dating her, had been the member of a pretty hard core Christian church and had stopped attending a few of the many church meetings they had to spend time with me.

One day, while at her house, she received a phone call and as she spoke she was getting visibly upset. When she hung up, she had tears in her eyes.

What happened? I asked.

"That was one of the girls from my church group," she said.

"Is everything ok? Did someone pass away? Why are you crying?"

"She just told me that they were praying I would not be at peace until I came back to them."

I completely lost it. She never went to that church again.

Just because I think you're wrong in the Schiavo case (or anything else) doesn't make me right or you a bad person. Anyone who can't disagree under those general rules is, um...how you say..."the more asshole ever!"

Happy Easter!

One of your very best, ever, and I'm not saying that just because I totally agree with you.

I have my own personal reasons on why I moved from ambivalent on Terri's case and finally brokedown and wrote about them here. And as dBill says above, while we may disagree, I think hate directed in either direction is appalling beyond words.

Believe me, I've gotten some rather nasty stuff myself and the viciousness of those that mock Terri are beyond the pale.

I can almost understand the sheer crazymaking desperation of the Shindler's in watching their child imposed death by being denied food and water, but they finally did tell the protesters outside the hospice to just go home. Their grief isn't over, but I hope the burning anger has been dampened if not for any other reason is that we ALL have to find a balance here and learn some important lessons not the least of which is the flawed Laws that allow now for a death default based on an ever elastic consideration of "personhood."

The nastiness is not justified AT ALL.

May this weekend, when Easter and Purim have coincided, be one of reflection, family and the quiet joy at the coming of spring.

Peace and love be with you.

I agree, Michele, this thing has gone completely and utterly batshit insane. I have friends who agree with me and friends, like you, who disagree with me on this issue, but they're all still my friends, at least as far as I'm concerned.

I believe what I believe because it's right for me and because I have read the arguments and come up with my conclusion, but that doesn't make me think that I and only I have the right answer. It sounds right to me and that's why I believe it, but I'll be damned if I'll throw out friends simply because they've reached a different conclusion, especially considering that their arguments, while not convincing to me, obviously aren't something that they just dragged out of their behind. They thought long and hard about it, just like I did, they just reached a different conclusion, 's all.

As to that scuzzball's remark about you and your Grandma... Well, I find myself at a lack of words for once. Besides, if I were to type my true feelings about that b*stard, your blog might melt.

G-d Bless You and Your Grandma.

It would be far better for your e-mailer to have a millstone hung around his neck and be cast into the sea than for him to attempt to separate you from the memory of your grandmother.

I know exactly what you mean, Michelle. I think the problem here is that some think death is the worst thing ever. I agree with your take on Terri and as I listen to a lot of people on the opposite side of the issue rail against the injustice being done, calling people Nazis and murderers, and suggesting that anyone who disagrees is just as bad as the demons who are executing Terri, there is one natural fact that they seem to miss.

We're all dying. Death has a fabulous track record, and it's coming for all of us. Dying is as natural a part of living as birth is. Sometimes it's right. Sometimes it's the right choice. Sometimes it's better than living, and anyone who's ever put down a suffering dog understands that.

I've also wanted people to die. Not because I hated them, but because I loved them and I could see that it was their time and that peace would be preferable to what the rest of their lives would be. I have faith that there's a better place on the other side of death, and that when my loved one has gone there, our parting is temporary. But even if I didn't it's clear that sometimes it's the right time to die. Medicine is a great thing, and it has given a lot of people a lot of good life that they wouldn't have had without it. That's wonderful, and I hope we continue to find ways to help people live better, longer lives. But just because we can sometimes prevent or forestall death, doesn't mean that it's always the right thing to do.

Death is nothing but the end of life. Sooner or later, we're all going to get there. I hope that when my time comes, it isn't a circus. I hope I'm surrounded with peace and love, and allowed to die with the same dignity I've tried to live with.

well said.

Solonor told me about what happened to you, Michele.

I'm saddened that people chose to behave this way. Some "Christians" have been far from Christ-like in their behavior.

Enjoy your Easter bread and the warm memories that it evokes.

People like those who wrote that hateful letter, will be feasting on the filth, lies and hate that they try to feed all of us.

All the best to you and yours...

The nutjobs are around on both sides of just about every major issue. They are the mosquitoes of blogging, kinda like comment spam. But I don't think they should be the basis for a broad brush tar-and-feathering of all of Terri Schiavo's supporters. I don't think you really meant it that way, but that's how the words read to me today.

I think it's still a shame that the people who think Schaivo should be kept alive are her "supporters". You're not. You're her parents' supporters. Get it right.

"Terri's Supporters" don't support her any more than the people who believe she should be left to die in dignity. Everyone that feels strongly in this case does so because they care about her.. because they care about her enough to want for her what they'd want for themselves or their own loved ones in that situation. I don't claim to have any clue what she'd want--because there simply isn't any evidence to state so. To simply assume that she would want to stay in the state that she is and call yourself her "supporter" is ignorant and self-centered.

As far as all your hate-mail Michele, I apologize on behalf of all of them. They know not what they do. Love They Neighbor.. right? Unless of course, your neighbor doesn't hold the same beliefs as you. In which case, damn them to hell.

A damn shame, indeed.

I hope you all had a happy day this past Sunday. I hope your next Sunday is just as happy. Oh yeah, the one after that too.


I respectfully disagree with your conclusion that all of "Terri's supporters" are merely supporting her parents.

My support of not imposing death on Terri comes not from what her parents said but due to what I saw as an abbrogation of Terri's rights as a profoundly disabled person.

And isn't ironic now that Terri is truely dying from the imposed starvation/dehydration, that the same Congressional Democrats who sneered at "Republican theocracy" last week are now just a tad worried about the precedence that lax FL laws create?
After a string of fruitless legal and legislative efforts, the central question in the Terri Schiavo case - Who makes end-of-life decisions when the patient's wishes are disputed? - is headed back to Capitol Hill, where debate over broader legislation has already begun.

On Sunday, lawmakers of both parties agreed that Congress has a role to play in such cases and should contemplate legislation that would give added legal recourse to patients like Ms. Schiavo.

"I think we should look into this and very possibly legislate it," said Representative Barney Frank, Democrat of Massachusetts, who opposed Congressional action in the Schiavo case. Mr. Frank was speaking on Sunday on the ABC News program "This Week With George Stephanopoulos." Mr. Frank added: "I think Congress needs to do more. Because I've spoken with a lot of disability groups who are concerned that, even where a choice is made to terminate life, it might be coerced by circumstances."

Well, doah.

Next, we'll start to kill people in nursing homes because they have a stomach tube and we are tired of them. These people aren't on life support just a feeding tube. You wouldn't kill your dog that way!

Yes, John. That's exactly what we're going to do.


Michele, why the name-calling?

"she's not alive so much as being kept alive..."

Utterly false.

Terri is alive. As alive as you and I.

She is not being "kept alive" as the mainstream media wishes you to think. Nor is she brain dead, or being kept alive by machines. She is simply being fed by a tube because obviously she cannot eat on her own. Should this be counted against her? Of course not. If it did, then Christopher Reeve should have been starved to death years ago. (Not to mention babies and toddlers.)

Terri Schiavo is being starved to death because she is viewed as an inconvenience. I suspect that her husband stands to gain signficantly by her death. (His assertion about "what Terri would have wanted" is pure hearsay and worthless.) Ultimately, those in favor of her death are afraid of a culture that values life, afraid of what this might do to their sacred sacrament of abortion on demand.

I am saddened by a society that is so eager to essentially give up on human life. Every human being has suffered many obstacles and experienced adversity. Human life is not a car that can be discarded once "depreciated." It is valuable in all its forms, in all its stages.

Tom, it's a reference to his email address. Scroll over his name.

Mark: your assertion about how I feel about abortion, babies, toddlers, the value of life and Christopher Reeve is pure conjecture and worthless.

I feel strongly that important issues are at stake in the Terri Schiavo case- however- having said that, I can remember when it was a word of comfort to the survivors when a loved one passed away and we said " They are not suffering now". or such things.

I am sorry that this thing has evolved into a "define Christian" for you and so many; one of many such things.... I understand your personal feeling on it, I just mean I'm sorry about it.

I greatly dislike the new "culture of death-culture of life" phrasing I see so much of now,too. What are we really saying with that anyway? Isn't it just one more pigeonhole?

I've read your blog many times- you are a funny, reasonable, and insightful person. Next time the issue is about what is or isn't a Christian... I hope I can join in the discussion. Right now isn't the time.

Who is making death threats to judges.

Are you serious? Good thing Osama bin Laden hasn't voiced his disapproval of Terri being starved to death, or you'd be saying "Who is killing thousands of innocent American citizens by flying jets into buildings?"

Not sure where you're going with that, Sean. See...the judge in question is Judge Greer. And he got death threats because of his ruling.

Got it now or do you need it explained further?

They thought long and hard about it, just like I did, they just reached a different conclusion, 's all.

This, coming from "Death Threat" Misha, is some funny, funny shit. Not so much ha ha funny, but still. However, I hope at least some of you on the right take a long, hard look at your religious zealot compatriots that now run your party. You may not have noticed, but they react this way to everything.

Lay down with dogs, wake up with fleas, folks.

Did you even read Misha's comment, apostropher? Try again.