Wednesday, June 17, 2009


When you click on that story link about the puppy being flushed down the toilet, you see two different rants from commenters: 1. that the parents are to blame for not watching the child, and 2. conversely, kids can't be "watched every minute."

Last night, sadly, I attended the wake of a baby who couldn't be "watched every minute."

Nineteen months old. A beautiful baby girl with huge blue eyes who crinkled her nose when she smiled. I could barely reconcile the photographs of her displayed in the viewing room--the baby in a purple Easter dress, laughing at the camera, cuddled on the couch with her old sister, etc.--with the tiny casket that looked more like a plastic, upside-down planter.

It only takes a second to look away while your precious toddler wanders off and falls into a pool. The memory of finding that floating body will haunt everyone involved the rest of their lives. The faces of the family will haunt me: the great-grandmother, teary-eyed but tenuously stoic; the very young dad, red-eyed and awkward; and the teenaged mom who had to be forcibly removed from bed and escorted to the wake 20 minutes before it ended.

Don't look away, people. Keep your babies close to your heart.

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