Another letter to our never-born children:
A LETTER TO MY SON, MATTHEW~ by one of our readers, Sarah, with permission
Your name means, "Gift of God." I picked the Feast Day of Saint Bernadette for your birthday, February 18, 1989. You just turned 13. You are so gentle, sweet and so inquisitive. I am amazed when I think of you. You love to read, to learn and to laugh. You are slender, with brown hair and blue eyes, and a beautiful smile. You've always loved nature, and exploring. You are a caring and protective older brother to your younger sister and brother. You are my beloved firstborn son. I am so incredibly honored to be your mother.
I was terrified when I found out I was pregnant with you. My biggest fears surrounded the relationship I had with your father. We should have never been together, he was so much older than I, and married. How could I have explained this to you, when you began to ask about your dad? I had so much shame. I felt like I couldn't tell you, or anyone. I cared more about what other people thought. I know now that I could have placed you up for adoption. If only I had placed you up for adoption, Matthew. You would be alive today, and I would have the most inconceivable peace in knowing this.
I was 22 years old at that time and my life revolved around alcohol and drugs. I was sure that you were going to be born with a physical or mental handicap. I've since learned that handicapped children are as much God's precious gifts, and have their own special place in the world. If only I had been stronger. I would have changed my lifestyle and welcomed you, however you came, as a blessing from God.
I didn't think that I'd be able to provide for you. I imagined that I'd end up on welfare, and never realize my dreams of going to college, or making something of myself. I was afraid that no man would want to marry me if I was a single mother. I was afraid I might hurt you. I was afraid that you would hate me. I understand now that in God anything is possible, and we would have been taken care of.
My life never did go the way that I had planned. How can I explain this, but it's as if you were with me anyway. After many years, I finally finished college. I haven't been married yet. But the worst of it is, I took your life. I wasn't aware that you were a unique human being, with your own contribution to make to the world. You had your own destiny, apart from me. I never once considered that you didn't choose the situation of being unwanted by me. You were innocent, and regardless of anything, you had a right be be born. You were my call to love and I denied you. I was so selfish. I can't tell you how much I've suffered. I would take it all back, if only I could.
I went as quickly as I could to the abortion center. It was July, 1988. I knew the truth, that the longer I waited the more you would grow, and the less I could deny. I tried to believe that at 8 weeks old you were "just a blob of tissue." Without humanity, without a consciousness. It was okay wasn't it? It was legal after all. I was in such denial. Remember the overwhelming horror I felt after all these years when I finally really looked at photographs of fetal development? There you were, 8 weeks old, a beautifully growing baby, with arms, legs, eyes and a beating heart.
This is so hard for me, the abortion. What you must have felt. The incredible violence, as your life was taken from you. I have to believe now, that in those moments your soul left your body and you were with God. But your tiny body ended up in the trash...
I left the abortion center numb, yet relieved. That's all I remember. I buried my feelings of pain and confusion. I truly believed I did. Yet the truth is, that part of me died that day with you. I thought I could just simply erase you and erase the relationship I'd had with your father. I could not. Life isn't like that. Why didn't anyone tell me?
Since I've begun this healing journey I understand now that you've forgiven me, and I thank you. Matthew, I love you so much and I miss you! You are a part of me. I am so grateful for all of the gifts you've given me, especially in bringing me home to God. In remembering you, I've been given back a heart of love, a mother's heart. I look forward with great joy to the day when we meet again. God bless us and keep us until then, my beautiful son.
As invited in this post on "returning to our roots".