I've turned frequently to the drawings and prints of Kathe Kollwitz over the years when trying to express grief in my drawings. Wednesday's drawing (several posts ago, below) was based on this relief of hers I'd not seen called 'Lamentation' but discovered on a Google Image Search.
Mine, of course, is a weak reflection of the raw power of Kollwitz's work, but tries to touch the horror of the story of Cecilia Slaby and her mother. (If you're reading from afar, two-year-old Cecilia was left in a carseat in the back of her mother's SUV all day when temperatures reached 100 degrees here in Cincinnati. The mother, an assistant principal at a local middle school, had broken her normal morning routine of delivering Cecilia to the sitter on her way to work in order to pick up donuts for a school workshop, and then forgotten the sleeping child all day.)
Readers are right in questioning whether the prosecutor, who declined to press charges, would have been so lenient had this been an inner-city minority mother. The story certainly calls us to challenge our biases and stereotypes. And I'm bothered, like others, that the mother never seems to have thought about her child all that day.
But prosecutor Don White made the right call when he said, "She knows that her actions are what caused her child to die, or her lack of attentiveness. She'll live with that. And I can't imagine what I could do as a prosecutor to make it any worse for her."