Filicide

In the novel, Between Here and April by Deborah Copaken Kogan, Elizabeth Burns, wife, mother, and journalist, experiences a memory trigger that pushes her to investigate the disappearance of a best friend from first grade, April. The search reveals that April and her sister Lily were killed with their mother who committed filicide and suicide. Katie Roiphe describes the novel as, “A bold, haunting, honest, and wholly original journey into the darker, unchronicled terrains of motherhood.”

Ironically, the day that I finished Between Here and April, I read that the professional, successful mother of a ten-month-old threw herself and her son from the eighth floor window of their Harlem apartment. Cradled by his mother’s body, the child lived. In an attempt to find a reason for such an unreasonable act, the paper stated that the mother was up-set because the son was a little behind in the general expectations of a ten-month-old.  Undoubtedly, other factors will emerge. 

Sadly, the above action committed by a successful woman is an extreme one.  But, in my experience, many successful women that meet with an event or an experience over which they have no control make decisions that are not in their best interest. I’ve seen these women do such things as divorce, adopt a child, change jobs, or join a cult – all of which are extreme.  The problem is that none of those things helped those particular women. 

Perhaps those of us who have had to study a little harder, work a little longer, sacrifice a little more are the lucky ones.  We know that things over which we have no control will happen.  So, we try to think a little smarter and pray a little more. We know that we cannot control the world, even the part that encircles our daily lives.

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