Thursday, August 20, 2009

A Promise to Daniel

There is no way to discuss the tragic death of 18 month-old Daniel Hu without judgment. I bear none for his father, who is likely wishing for his own death right now. I ache for his father. I am struck, most profoundly, by the American human doing exposed in this tragedy. The shame is on all of us. We who are busy, busy, busy...late, late, late...focused, focused, focused... We who expect everyone else who is productive and responsible to be behaving in the same way. Daniel died in his father's car last Thursday. The car was parked in the lot at his father's place of employment, which happens to be just a mile from my front door. Daniel's father, who has told police he "just totally forgot" to take his son to daycare that morning, arrived at work at 9 AM. It was 85-degrees. Daniel was found seven hours later. It was 102-degrees. I know no other details - except this morning there is a story in my newspaper about a woman who parked next to the car with the baby inside. . .at 9:30 AM. She apparently told a security guard what she'd seen, and went on - we can assume - into her busy day. The security staff reportedly made a search of the lot, to no avail. And that was that. Until 4 PM. I have forgotten many things in my haste to keep a professional commitment. I have trusted others, many times, to find a solution to my own concerns because I think they are less busy, or more accountable for the outcome than I am. I have given up on a project countless times because it seemed like a time-waster in light of everything else I had to to. I have rushed past so many people who need me - people in my family, people on the street, people standing at my desk - because I am just too busy. Today, in the name and memory of a baby I never knew named Daniel Hu, I declare myself a human being. And I pray I will never again fail to pay attention to life as it shows up on my preoccupied path. We are our brothers' and sisters' keepers. Let it be. Peace.

1 comment:

gay said...

When I heard about Daniel Hu, I was both angry and shocked. How on earth could a parent forget a child was in the car? After reading your blog I realized that I have been too busy at times to be a human being, and realized that my anger and shock wasn't directed at Daniel's father, but at myself. Thank you for reminding all of us to pay attention to life.