I also watched as some of those same children lost their fight, became too worn and weary to go on. Twice, I witnessed the death of innocence. It all happened so fast that there was no time for me to leave the room in a show of respect for the child, the family. It didn’t matter that I didn’t know the families involved or that I’d never held the baby. What mattered was that I felt the loss as keenly as any other person in the room. The loss of light, heart, hope —potential.
A child dying so young, dying before a parent or grandparent is not the natural order of things as we know them. Nor should it be, would it be in a perfect world. The tragic and senseless murder of Katie McCarron, at the hands of her own mother no less, strikes me as even more horrible a thing to occur than the death of a child from illness or insurmountable congenital defects.
Having watched the most stoic and gruff of doctors weep uncontrollably at the bedside of a child they had known mere days —or hours, it is inconceivable to me that Karen McCarron could have so coldly and calculatingly have murdered her own child —for any reason. How could she not see the potential within her beautiful little girl? I didn’t know Katie, but I know from reading the words of her grandfather, Mike, that she was a loved and loving child, a child full of energy and vitality, full of a zeal for girly things, a girl with an infectious smile. What made Karen McCarron decide that there was no hope for her child —or for herself? What crystal ball did Karen purport to have that she could ever possibly predict that the challenges she thought were so awful when Katie was just a toddler of three would last a lifetime, that there was no hope?
It is beyond my comprehension that Katie should have died at all, but to have suffered so cruel and surely frightening a death? Reading the reports from the trial have sickened me to the point that all I can do is stand over my beautiful sleeping boy —who is about the age Katie would have been now —and weep. I pray in the silence of his darkened room for continued strength on the difficult days, and with gratitude for the presence of mind to walk away when I feel too overwhelmed.
Why couldn’t Karen McCarron do the same? It is too late for Katie, but it is never too late for another child. In the name of Katie, in her memory, I would ask of any parent feeling so overwhelmed that you simply walk away. Run if you must. Then call a neighbor, a friend, or the police for help. Death is permanent and is not a solution.