Monday, October 23, 2006

No typical days

What is your typical day like? I have no typical days.

Last Friday (my birthday, by the way) began with a 2 hour meeting of the regional Child Death Review Team, of which I am a member. We discussed 3 child death cases in the region and whether anything could have been done prior to them to prevent the death or if something could be done in the future to prevent similar deaths. Quite often these can be disheartening discussions, because nothing could have been done to prevent these deaths or can be done to prevent similar deaths. However, sometimes there is that ray of hope/possibility and we make our recommendations for education (public or otherwise) or policy changes. We always hope that we can impact some child and prevent (forestall) their untimely death.

After the meeting I went into Chicago to get the dental records we used later in the day to positively identify an individual who died by train, a suicide. Identification is critical in “our line of work” and it was worth the trip to be sure we knew who the decedent was, no guessing or surmising. The drive gave me time to ponder the imponderability of death. As someone once said, “death is as much a part of our life as the air that we breathe”.

Today my Senior Deputy and I went to notify a family that their son had died this morning in an auto crash. Always a “raw” experience, never are 2 notifications the same. Sons aren’t supposed to die before their parents. A “great tragedy” has happened to those fine folks. It is also a “raw” moment for your heart, but you have to have the feeling or the notifications get too rote and hollow.

I never have a typical day and death is indeed imponderable.

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