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Terri Schiavo's Unstudied Life

She remembers how excited Terri was. How she lit up. Michael was the first boy who ever really looked at Terri. The first boy to ask her on a date.

"I remember she called me, and she asked me to come home for the weekend," Meyer said. "She wanted me to be there."

Terri Schindler and Michael Schiavo on their wedding day, in 1984. (Family Photo via Zuma Press)

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The first date was dinner, a movie, and that first-ever kiss. On the second date, Terri took Schiavo to meet Pickwell and her family. Pulling aside Pickwell and her big sister, Terri confided that Michael wanted to marry her.

"What? Are you crazy?" Pickwell remembers telling her then.

But Terri was giddy with excitement. "Everything happened so fast and it was such a good feeling for her," Pickwell says. "He was good-looking and it felt good to have someone pay attention to her. I think she was overwhelmed."

In one of his rare interviews, Michael Schiavo talked about how hard he fell for her. "She had this presence, this aura, that just attracted you," he told CNN. "She was shy and outgoing at the same time."

He introduced her to his big, boisterous family -- Michael is the youngest of five sons -- at a family birthday party. She hung back at first, but surprised the brothers by engaging in their games of sibling grief. All those years of water fights. All those years of little-brother abuse.

"She fit right in," says Scott Schiavo, one of Michael's brothers. "Mike was always a happy kid, but when he met Terri he just perked up tenfold."

Terri and Michael were engaged relatively quickly, and Terri began making plans for an elaborate wedding at Our Lady of Good Counsel, the Catholic parish the Schindler family attended. She was still a month shy of her 21st birthday when the big day came. In that interview with CNN, Michael Schiavo said when he first saw Terri come down the aisle, he thought she was "just gorgeous. All I saw was this big smile."

Their first dance was to "Tonight I Celebrate My Love," by Peabo Bryson and Roberta Flack.

After the wedding, Terri drifted apart from her close girlfriends. She and Meyer had a falling-out and never really spoke again. Terri remained friends with Pickwell, but, Pickwell says, "they were newlyweds. You wanted to give them space."

Meanwhile, Terri was folded into the big, tight-knit Schiavo family. Karen Schiavo, a sister-in-law, says that she instantly became one of them, and that Michael and Terri were "deeply in love."

A few years later, the Schindlers decided to move to Florida, and Michael and Terri followed. She got an office job at an insurance company, he went to work managing a restaurant. Their hours were opposite -- Terri on days, Michael on nights -- so they didn't see a lot of each other.

At work, Terri made friends with some co-workers, including Jackie Rhodes. They went shopping together. Visited Terri's grandmother at a nearby nursing home. Went swimming at the pool where the Schindlers had their condo. Terri loved watching the dolphins in the Intracoastal Waterway.

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