"My mom finally got back to me... she hopes her letter might help someone else... it seems that healing grandmas are a rarity...Sarah." (Sarah's letter to one of her children is there at that link)
March 30, 2003
Dear Matthew, Sarah and Michael,
I’m sorry it took me so long to write to you. Please know deep in your hearts that doesn’t mean I haven’t been loving you and praying for you all along. I have been! I also want you to know that I can’t say everything I’ve been holding inside all these years in one letter, nor will I be able to say it perfectly. Hopefully, this is just the start of loving communication between us--- between you, my dear grandchildren, and me, your grandma.
Let’s begin with you, Matthew, my oldest grandson who would now be 13. You are a sweet-natured, inquisitive boy who loves to learn. You are a leader--- always the first to voice your opinion and try to make peace in the family. When your mom became pregnant with you in the winter of 1988, she was living a pretty unhealthy lifestyle. I felt powerless as her mom, and when she told me that she wanted to get an abortion (end her pregnancy) I didn’t try and stop her. In fact, I’m the one who drove the two of you to the clinic where a doctor took your life. Forgive me, dear Matthew, for contributing to this heinous act. I take full responsibility for the spiritual vacuum I was living in then. My relationship with the Divine was weak. My conviction that all life is sacred was buried under my busyness and my addictions. I had divorced your mom’s dad 7 years prior to your conception, and I was now preoccupied with another tumultuous relationship.
You are my grandson, Matthew. You deserved my undivided attention. The world needed to stop while your mom and I talked about how to handle your new life. I needed to confront your mom’s decision to have an abortion and offer information and alternatives. One of the alternatives could have been to brainstorm possible scenarios--- like having the two of you come live with me, asking your mom to get help, and going for help myself. There were resources out there for us solve our problems. But I was weak. I had feet of clay as a mother and as a grandmother, and your life triggered confusion inside of me. I was afraid and isolated. I didn’t talk it over with other people. I failed your mom and you miserably. I thought of your mom’s pregnancy as a crisis that needed to be solved immediately. I was so spiritually sidetracked that I believed you would be a barrier to your mom finishing college. As your grandmother, my responsibility was to protect you and I didn’t do that. And it grieves my heart to know how deeply I hurt you, Matthew.
Sarah, you would now be 9 years old, my oldest granddaughter and the apple of my eye. You are a spirited girl, one who seeks adventure and isn’t afraid to be different in order to be yourself. You write poems and stories, you draw, you adore animals and you love nature. At the time you were conceived your mom was sober in A.A. but was in an abusive relationship. When she came to me and asked if I’d drive her to get an abortion, I said yes. Forgive me, dear Sarah, for not sticking up for you. Regardless of anything, you had a right to be born. You were a unique human being with your own contribution to make to the world.
Where was I then? Why hadn’t I learned a lesson from my daughter’s first abortion? I remember my second marriage was failing and I was not connected to God. I had made a decision a year earlier to stop using alcohol as a way to stuff my feelings and avoid my problems, but I wasn’t there yet. I had never grieved your brother’s death, for example, or admitted how I’d failed as a mother and grandmother. So when your mom told me she was getting a second abortion, I didn’t pray about your precious life. I didn't acknowledge that God, the Divine, was in you. I didn’t go to any lengths to see to it that you were protected and were born in peace. I disrespected you instead of treating you with loving kindness. It grieves my heart to know how deeply I hurt you, Sarah.
Little Michael, my third grandchild who would now be 6 years old, you are my little angel boy, lighthearted and agile! You love to dance and make silly faces. You see no harm in pretending that you are a baby or a puppy, a princess or a bit of green moss on a tree. There are no limits to your understanding! At the time your life began, your mom was engaged to be married and she would have welcomed you into this world with loving arms. But she had a miscarriage, which means you were born ahead of time and you died.
Sweet Michael, there’s absolutely nothing anyone could have done to ensure your safety at that time! But what I failed to do afterward and what I deeply regret now is that we didn’t have a funeral for you. Our family didn't stop and honor you with a ceremony. We didn’t grieve together. We didn’t go to the cemetery and put flowers on your grave. Why not?.. you might ask, and that’s an honest question by the way. Why not? I can only answer for myself, not for anyone else. I was so selfish and so wrapped up in my own life and I didn’t really see how deeply wounded your mom was from losing you. And I couldn’t grieve or know then what a deep loss it was to have lost you, my grandson. Please forgive me, Michael, for my blindness. I grieves my heart to know how deeply I hurt you.
Matthew, Sarah, and Michael, I am blessed to know you! You are part of my family and I will carry you with me always. You have taught me lessons about the sanctity of human life, forgiveness and love. I miss you. Go with God, always, and may we meet in Heaven.
I love you!
P.S. I hope it’s okay that I give your mom a little gift for each of you now. For you, Matthew, a red stone. I know you’ll wonder how it got to be such a deep red color and probably look it up in a book in the library. For you, Sarah, a turkey feather that I found in the woods nearby. I know you’ll appreciate the simple beauty of this feather... especially the band of gold near the tip. And for you, Michael, a pink rose because you love roses and flowers of all kinds. Little keepsakes for you, my sweet grandchildren!