Katherine's 25th Birthday

“What we love, we must protect.”

                --Sandra Steingraber


My beloved daughter Katherine would have turned twenty-five today, half of my age, and she has missed everything. At eight, she had had just enough life, thwarted though it was by four years of cancer treatment, to know what she was leaving behind. She was too smart for her own good, her doctors said. And it is the life she should have had that haunts me most. Should I have guessed that the chlorpyrifos applied to our apartment before she was even conceived could mutate her cells? That the same chemical sprayed for mosquitoes when she was little, without our knowledge or permission, could impair her immune system and trigger a fatal disease? Why do we allow the chemical industry to kill random people, including children, merely to exterminate a few bugs and make huge profits for the already filthy rich? The Trump EPA has rolled back what fragile protections we had, including a ban on chlorpyrifos. Why must individual parents have to do so much research and work to protect their children when commonsense environmental regulation could do it for everyone?

I live every day with regrets I will never outlive and nightmares from which I can never awaken, sorrows no lifetime would be long enough to express. I hope that whoever reads this will also read the rest of this blog and think now how to protect all the children who are precious to them.