January 6, 2012

CHARLES LANE ON THE SANTORUM ABUSE: “I regret that, unlike the Santorums, who presented the body of their child to their children, we did not show Jonathan’s body to our other son, who was six years old at the time. When I told him what had happened, his first question was, ‘Well, where is the baby?’ I tried to explain what a morgue is, and why the baby went there. It was awkward and unsatisfactory — too abstract. In hindsight, I was not protecting my son from a difficult conversation, I was protecting myself.”

UPDATE: A reader sends this comment from his daughter: “It’s a thoroughly modern idea that the dead are gross, weird, repulsive- family members used to dress their own dead for burial, and they would have the viewing in the house. . . . I must confess that one of your favorite stereotypes rings horribly true- when a humpback whale washes ashore and dies, weeping and general despair ensues. A stillborn baby? ‘Oh my gosh! Isn’t that SO GROSS??!! they’re so WEIRD!'”

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