I was standing in my kitchen, one late Monday night, when she told me. She was standing there, talking about life, talking about why things happen the way they do. Why people stay with the people they do. Old memories, old pasts, old regrets. Ties that bind. Those sorts of things. The conversation was light hearted, nothing could have prepared me for what she was about to say.
“You should have had a niece or nephew. Six years ago, you should have been an auntie.”
I wish I had a video camera on my face so I could recall what emotions passed over. I didn’t know what to say, I tried to stay calm. “Oh God…” is the only thing I remember saying. A silent prayer? I don’t know what it was, at the time. She continued talking about it, while I tried to cover any emotion and stay chill. I’d been involved in the prolife movement, but I’d always been scared of saying the wrong thing. Earlier that evening, I had said to a friend: “But how do you know you’re not saying the wrong thing?” This was my time…
I stood there in silence, listening to her continue on about it. “At that time, it was the best decision for me. I was in no condition to be a mother. That child would not have had a happy life.” I had so many questions, I wanted to know how, I wanted to know why. But I couldn’t formulate words. Where were the people that should have been there when she needed them?
We grew up church goers. We knew the difference. We were raised the right way. We heard speakers speak, we heard teachers teach, we heard preachers preach. We knew.
We heard about it from others, from celebrities, from ‘heathens.’ But we thought- no, we knew that church goers would never do such a thing. After all, we knew.
We knew, they know. And we all know the truth. It happens. In our circles, in our communities- it happens. Babies are aborted, within our close, loving supportive circles. The mothers and fathers alike go on to carry the scars, somehow convincing themselves that it was the right decision at the right time.
I sit in church every week. I hear people talk. I hear people tell stories. I hear things. Don’t tell me it’s not happening- right here in our very own communities. Don’t tell me it’s not going on. Don’t tell me that our young people aren’t having pre-marital sex, and don’t tell me that from all those young couples defying the holy bond of marriage, that there are no abortions happening. Don’t tell me there is not a reason our communities oppose graphic imagery so much. Don’t tell me it doesn’t open old wounds, burn old scars.
It had happened six years ago, but that day, my heart broke. It broke for the niece or nephew I had never met. It broke for my sister, who chose to murder her child for lack of what she considered ‘options.’ It broke for the person who performed the abortion- that person who was guilty of murdering my niece or nephew, along with thousands of other children. It broke, and I had to learn how to grieve.
Yet, it also opened for everyone out there who was going through with it. Who wanted to terminate life.
Who didn’t think they could do it. Who truly believed it was the right decision at that time. I sit in the church, I hear, I know. They sit in the church, they hear, they know. My sister sat in that church too. She heard, she knew.
Don’t tell me it doesn’t happen. Don’t deceive yourself into thinking we’re all okay, because we know.
Don’t tell me we don’t have any need of graphic imagery, of “Choice Chains” or of the Pro-life movement. Don’t tell me any of that.
Most of all, don’t tell me ‘I know.’ Because she knew too.