Maybe it was Father’s Day this year that prompted it. That would make sense since now that I am finally grieving the loss of Grace – each special occasion or holiday since the first steps of my journey is now tinged with a poignancy that I hadn’t acknowledged before. Thus, Father’s Day would be different this year.I’m blessed to have had a good father myself. I grew up under his encouragement and belief that I could do or be anything I wanted to do or be. He valued my intelligence and encouraged my education. He was a good example in many ways of what a husband should be as he provided for his family and he worked alongside my mother, not extolling some of the chauvinistic traits that some in his generation would. But there were areas where he fell short. He wasn’t there for me emotionally or spiritually. We were never close in that way that some fathers and daughters are. And, obviously, he didn’t instill in me any sense of sexual well being at all - not entirely his fault as I’m sure that he thought my mom was taking care of that.
I hit the jackpot with my husband though, having found all of the good and virtuous things that my father encompassed and added to those were everything that was missing from my relationship with my father. The Lord sent me a man who helped me piece back together my sense of self and show me the beauty that sexual intimacy should be and would be.Maybe that’s what started the panic about Grace’s father – watching my husband in action. I began to ache over the idea that he’s not Grace’s father. I started to wonder about the what-if’s. What if I didn’t have the abortion, Grace would have been about 7 years old when we started dating. Would he even have wanted to date me knowing that? Would he have accepted Grace as his own child? What kind of relationship would I have with Grace’s father for the rest of our lives?
I’ve been wrestling for a few weeks now about who Grace’s father is – since I was unsure and it was quite possible that it could have been one of two people. I started to think how I could approach my husband and ask him to be Grace’s father in some symbolic way. I prayed about it and thought about it and talked about it. As I sat at Mass last weekend, I had a feeling come over me (a feeling that I recognized immediately as having had before on this journey) and that feeling told me that I did know who Grace’s father is.Okay, so I make the decision of my truth about who Grace’s father is and I start to let that stew for a week or so. I allow myself to think about all of the variations of what could have happened had he known I was pregnant. Would the outcome have been different? Would Grace be here today? Would I be where I am? I almost have to set a timer when I allow myself to go down those roads because it’s a long walk back sometimes. But it allows me to think about it and then let it go.
I had to be reminded in counseling this week that I can’t take on new guilt now that I’ve named Grace’s father. I can’t allow myself to feel guilty for having robbed him of a child. I’ve seen and read a lot of things lately about men regretting abortion and what it does to them and although I know that it must be true – I didn’t have a choice in telling him that he was going to be a father. Although I’m still quick to take the blame completely for my abortion, I have to remind myself that I was 17 years old and I didn’t have a choice. My mom told me not to tell anyone so I didn’t… not even the father.This weekend started with me allowing these new thoughts and feelings to settle into my soul. After work one day, I went to a church to sit and write in my journal and pray. Luckily there is a church nearby my office that is open sometimes and it’s a gorgeous old Gothic church, just the kind I like. I sat for a while in the silence and allowed the thoughts to come and go hoping to find a way out of this panic mode – waiting for an answer.
The day before I had emailed my Priest (an awesome Spiritual Father that I’ve gained on this journey) and asked for some prayers as I often do when times are tough. He answered with kind and thought provoking words of wisdom. As I sat in the church and thought about everything, I remembered one thing that he had said in his response, “Ultimately, you and Grace are the Father's children.”Could it be that easy?
The one answer that would give me peace about it all. The one answer that was really the only realistic one that I had to cling to and the one that left no doubt at all about its truth.It doesn’t matter (at least in the way I’ve tried to force it to matter) who Grace’s father is on this earth. Although it makes me sad that my husband isn’t Grace’s father – it’s unrealistic to ache over it. Yearning for this undiscoverable truth has cost me time and energy that I’ll never get back.
So, I put my pen and journal down and wept at the simple and yet colossal idea that I could put the panic to rest that had taken up residence in my heart and mind because in my soul, I knew the truth – that God, the Lord and Father of all, was and is Grace’s father and that’s all she needs where she is. He was her Father when she was formed in my womb, and He is her Father now and forever.I lit a candle before our Blessed Mother and asked for her protection and guidance. I asked her also if she could go to her Son and please ask him to watch over whoever Grace’s father is on this earth and if he has earthly children to help him to a be a good father to them.
I went back and sat in the pew and prayed some more, or tried to. Whenever I seem to have some epiphany about something – the warfare starts all over again in my mind. I attempt to pray it away until I hear the Pastor locking doors and setting alarms in my Father’s house.