Monday, March 27, 2006

Small Doses

Wrongful death. That's a phrase we hear every single day on the job. People die that shouldn't have to, it's a constant part of the life cycle. A baby is born, someone dies in their sleep. Another baby is brought into this life as an elderly person succumbs to illness. A child takes its first breaths while another child takes its' last in a split second car crash. It cycles, painfully when it hits close to home, but the cycle is a constant.

Wrongful life. It's a term I've thought of frequently but I guess never in a million years did I think that I'd be handed a case that it applies to- at least in the minds of a few. I didn't think I'd speak the words "wrongful life" outloud to Eames on any occasion. Families are complicated and sometimes even dysfunctional disasters, I'm a product of that, as is my brother. Tucked away in one of the deepest, smallest corners of my mind, I know that my dad really wished we were never born. Not just because he told us so, but because I could feel it. His eyes burned with hate and resentment most of the time and even sober he was never very good at hiding his emotions. I knew. I'm sure that my brother knew as well.

Last week we worked on a case that involved a young teen with spina bifida. She was confined to a wheel chair but I think she really dealt with her physical limitations very well. She really had a good attitude and I got the impression that as long as she felt loved and supported, she would probably accomplish the goals that she set for herself. Her mother, a money hungry lush drunk alcoholic was trying to sue the Ob/Gyn that cared for her during this pregnancy. The gist was that if they had run the proper tests then she would have known about the likelihood of her daughters' condition and could have chosen to have an abortion.

Her daughter knew about the lawsuit and understood all to well what was being not only implied, but publicly aired. I know how awful it is to suspect a parent regrets having you and even moreso when you finally accept that what you've feared is in fact real. But to have it discussed over dinner in passing, listening to your mother focus on the financial windfall she sees in the future because she couldn't choose to kill you inutero... This was one that even I had to detatch a bit from. I couldn't let my mind fully understand the strength of the words being tossed around- not while looking at a 100 pound girl in a chair trying so hard not to be a burden to anyone.

If I let myself really get it, I would have completely lost it. It is awful enough just knowing that some parents devalue their children in private, but to have the calculating, heartless ability to make your feelings known to the media...

That takes a touch of evil in my opinion.

Even now, I can only touch this topic in small doses.

13 Comments:

Anonymous A mom said...

Evil. No doubt about it.

The hardest thing I've ever had to face was being told that something could be wrong with the baby I was carrying. It happened when I was pregnant for the second time... they saw things on the ultrasound that concerned them, and so they did further tests to see if something was wrong with the baby.

During the days in between that ultrasound and receiving the results of the amniocentisis, I was a wreck. I had never imagined what would happen if something was wrong with the baby, and never imagined when I got pregnant that I would think about terminating. I was happy, my child was wanted (100% planned!), and it broke my heart to think that it might be ill... or "starting life behind everybody else" as i mostly tried to think of it.

As a loving parent, you want to give your children the best possible chance at a good life, and to have a setback like that before they're born... that's something you don't use to your personal advantage. gosh I can't even explain how twisted I think that is. I thought it was bad that people entered their little daughters into beauty pageants... that pales in comparison to this.

Wrongful Life... families Are complicated, and most of the time what goes on in them stays behind closed doors. I only told one friend about the experience with that pregnancy, and it turned out that she had a friend with a similar experience. Nobody knew though because it's such a personal thing. The thought of putting it out there for the world.. and profiting from it... it breaks my heart for the child that's involved.

I rambled, i think you get the point. The world would be such a better place if only people capable of loving children had them.

8:57 PM  
Blogger The Rev. Dr. Kate said...

We have so much power to do each other good or ill . . . we choose to create or destroy other people. And children are the most vulnerable to the emotional, mental and physical power adults have over them. "A touch of evil"? I disagree - it is a large evil - a great sin. And so was what was done to you (and your brother) by your father. Small doses . . . because it is only bearable that way? What are you afraid will happen if you let yourself "really get it?" "Completely lose" what? It is ok to feel the anger inside you on behalf of the little boy you were too. It will just keep coming back to haunt you if you don't. You are a mature enough man to manage that anger appropriately . . . keep talking and working it through. You aren't alone.
Praying for you.
Kate+

9:12 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Many sluts,who have "Sugar'Daddies'(and there are loads of them in this world) want to hang on to them, by getting knocked up on purpose. These" moronic men want to do the Right Thing, by marrying these whores." sooner or later,these idiot men finally realize that they were conned.it's too bad the kid has to suffer. Truth

9:18 PM  
Blogger VDOFan said...

I am sorry for what you are going thru Bobby.. As a mom I feel the same way you do about the case. Even tho my case wasn't the best of situations to become pregnant. I wouldn't change having her for the world, even if I would have known about the disabilities she would endure during her lifetime on earth, and the struggle she and I would have to face during pregnancy and after.

It is all worth it in the end, and God blessed me with a miracle truly. Some women, just don't care and see only one thing when it involves a child "Money"..

Money brings out the worse in people and it is the root of all evil.

hugs and God bless you Bobby.
Have a wonderful week!

hugs Janice

7:40 AM  
Blogger Unrequited said...

I was horrified by this case and the outcome.

The plea agreement arrived at -forcing the mother to take care of her daughter. That's cruel and unusual punishment for the daughter. Complete strangers would have given her better care and love than that woman.

How could you let that happen? I know it's not within you're power to establish a plea arrangement but was justice served in this case? I suppose for the dead boy and for the mother.

But what of the beautiful young woman? Where is her justice?

I ache for your awareness of your father and his lack of love.

I was an "accident". Yes, Bobby accidents happen in the best of families.

But I was loved even if I wasn't planned. Even as a young child I knew that no one knew quite what to think of me. I was different, an alien, a misfit. My mother, my spinster aunts, none were prepared for a late in life accident. No I didn't just imagine it. It was reinforced vocally all the time. "She's so unusual, what do you think she's thinking?, she's so quiet, you're not like the other little girls."

But as alien to my family as I was they loved me even if they didn't know what to do with me.

When my father died when I was eight I'm sure my mother was at a loss. Not just losing my father but what to do with me. My father knew me, my father wasn't afraid of life. My father always knew what to do. She probably thought "Will love be enough?"

But in the end love is all there is. You're mother loved you and did her best as did mine.

Please know you're loved, Bobby.

8:55 AM  
Blogger Gracie said...

I, too am the mom to a miracle child who suffers life-long disabilities. If I had known the truth when I was pregnant I wouldn't have changed a thing. But that's just my belief. Once again, I believe that Rev. Dr. Kate has seen the real feeling behind your posting. I would love to have her on my side.

10:15 AM  
Blogger Bryde said...

I can imagine what being in a wheelchair must be like any more than I can imagine 20/20 vision.I was wanted by my mother (she wanted LOTS of kids)...I was born 3 months premature.Thankfully,amm that remains of that is some atrophy of my optic nerves,thus I do not see particularly well.I can never drive,which is the pits living in the southeast and my nerve damage cannot be corrected.

But,wether this girl knows it or not,people who have "disabilities" are here to teach lessons to others as well as ourselves.I am sure there are many lessons but the most obvious is to gain strength from hurdles and push your strngth,even when it seems you have no more.

12:09 PM  
Blogger ann said...

I have read and re-read your post and the comments. I am not familiar with the case; did this woman treat her child badly? Was she just being thoughtless discussing it in front of her daughter? What was the daughter's feelings? Was she really evil?

I have three children and lost a much wanted fourth baby, but I didn't want all the tests (there were not so many then anyway). I didn't want to be presented with that choice. I wanted my babies whatever and I'm sure there are very few women who would willingly abort their baby if it wasn't perfect.

As for your life with your own father. In his own way he was a sick man too, addicted to alcohol and probably not capable of rational thought drunk or sober. A lot of men don't relate to their children; believe me you're not alone there.

take care of yourself Bobby and try not to beat yourself up over this one. You've seen more than most and you know life's not fair.

lotsa luv ann xxxx

2:25 PM  
Blogger Nicole Wallace said...

Even posion in small doses can be deadly, love.

4:19 PM  
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9:06 PM  
Blogger Julie said...

I think though, that the truth is just that...the truth. There is the comforting, slighty darker night in which we are able to catch a few more moments of sleep, and there is the sun that streams through the window and keeps us awake. Which do we pursue? I think you know it, Bobby. You wouldn't go through life thinking you were a product of love and fate...that would be a misappropriation of certain flaws, wouldn't it? Neither should this girl. The beginning of life is the first moment of awareness, and I think that one day, she shall be able to transcend to pain of what was lost in process to begin what is, essentially, all that is left. What is that? Only what she makes it.

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