Many people have spent the last six weeks riveted by the trial of Casey Anthony, a woman accused of killing her two year old daughter, Caylee. Lots of my friends and family have followed the media coverage religiously. Today when the not-guilty verdict was read, I watched Twitter and Facebook explode with hatred and anger, which didn’t surprise me. But I observed the whole thing from the perspective of a mother who has lost a child, and my feelings are all over the place.
One of the most popular arguments against Casey was for 31 days after her daughter’s death she was out partying like she didn’t have a care in the world. People pointed to her actions in this time as proof that she killed Caylee so that she could be free of the responsibilities of being a parent. If she had loved her daughter and lost her in an accident, the argument goes, she never would acted that way. Well, as someone who has lost a baby, I can tell you that’s not true. Until you lose a child you can imagine what you think you would do, but you just can’t know. Everyone reacts in a different (and often unexpected) way to such a loss. It is a HUGE thing to have to process, and can make you do crazy things even if you don’t already have questionable mental health like Casey Anthony. I don’t personally know any bereaved parents who went out on drunk dance binges, but she may have been in extreme denial. Anything is possible.
Don’t get me wrong…I have my suspicions about what happened. There was a lot of evidence pointing at Casey. I think that what it comes down to for me is that I WANT her to be innocent. I want to think her story about her daughter accidentally drowning is true. As a mom who lost a child, I can’t imagine killing a daughter when I would do anything to get my Madeline back. But my gut instinct here…well, I’m very glad I wasn’t on the jury.
Even if Casey had been found guilty, it wouldn’t have brought Caylee back. That’s the hardest thing to accept. Many people asked us if we were going to have a formal inquiry into the hours around Madeline’s death. We thought about it, but in the end Maddie was still going to be gone. Caylee is still gone. It sucks so, so much.
I have to hope that our courts did the right thing. I wasn’t in the room and didn’t see what the jurors saw. I try to believe in “innocent until proven guilty” and in this instance, the prosecution did not convince the jury of her peers beyond a reasonable doubt. I think Casey Anthony is a wretched liar who has manufactured herself a very difficult life. I wonder if she’ll be haunted by the things she admitted she did.
There are no winners when a child is dead.