This series is a form of creative writing known as fan fiction. Detective Robert Goren is a regular character on the Dick Wolf television show Law & Order: Criminal Intent. What follows is one longtime viewer’s breath of life into an already popular character.
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” out loud 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 wheelchair 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 daughter’s 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 in utero… 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.