The Sixth Street Bridge

The Sixth Street Bridge
At the tender age of 17, I walked across this bridge, alone, into Downtown Pittsburgh, with $300 in my pocket that my mother had given me to get an abortion. I went into the Fulton Building (in the picture) and did what I was told to do. I didn't have a choice - if I did, I wouldn't have chosen abortion.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

There is no grave to visit.

Having an abortion changes you...forever.  Maybe you don't realize it at first, maybe not for a long, long time.  Some women don't bring it up until they are on their death beds.  Perhaps you sense a change but you don't acknowledge it or you find ways to cover it up, ignore it, hide it, but you always know the change is present.  The truth of the matter is - you have lost a child.  Despite any or all of the circumstances that may or may not have surrounded the loss - your child was killed.  I don't like using that word because it sends shivers up and down my spine, but that is the truth of what happened. 

25 years ago, on this day, my daughter was killed. Slowly, tortuously, methodically taken from my womb and deposited somewhere else.

I know that may be hard for some to hear, it's hard for me to say, or type.  Actually, I'm not sure I've ever said those words out loud.  The keyboard is safer.  But that's the hard truth.  If there is any point to this blog, and I've learned in the year or so I've been writing it that it has way more purpose than I could have ever dreamed of, it's to tell the story of my abortion in the hopes that some day there will be no more abortions, no more killing.  Some may stop by to read my story because they have been there themselves, or maybe they need to help someone who has been through the same, but I hope more and more stop by and read my story and then turn the feelings they have after into action to do whatever they can to stop it from happening to someone else. 

Like I said, having an abortion changes you forever. After all the work I've done to battle my demons and put to rest the wrongness of my thinking about it, in spite of all the healing work I've done and all the work He has done in me... the grief remains, the sorrow remains, the regret remains, the doubt remains.  You learn to manage it in healthy ways like anyone who has lost someone they love, but it remains forever.

I feel I can never say "I'm sorry" enough to my Lord and Savior and to Grace.  I know I've been forgiven.  I know that His mercy has saved me, but I remain sorry and sometimes the sorrow is crippling.  It can color every other aspect of your life, no matter how good it is. But, with help and healing and Him, I've learned to live with my sorrow much better than I had been, but work remains.  There is no grave to visit, but the space in my heart that's for her. 

I'm sorry Grace for what happened to you on this day, 25 years ago.  I didn't know what to do when I realized that He had sent you to me. I didn't realize you were a gift.  I was told what to do with you.  I wonder if my Mom is thinking of you today.  I'm sorry I didn't even try to find another way.  I'm sorry I didn't tell anyone else about you for that may have saved your life.  I'm sorry that I didn't turn around on that bridge that morning and come home with you.  I'm sorry I didn't protect you.  I'm sorry it took me so long to acknowledge you at all.  I'm sorry.  I'm sorry.  I'm sorry. 

I know where you are now and that you are happy because what else could you be in the light of Heaven?  I know you don't want me to be sad and mournful and withdrawn, especially for you sisters' sake.  I will try to keep the sadness reigned in today and I'll turn my despair into little prayers of thanksgiving for you having been with me for the short time that you were.  Look at all you've taught me!  I have you to thank for my growth in faith, for the rediscovery of His Church that I love so much, for the people that have come into my life as a result of my grief over your lost life. 

I will pray for you today Grace and ask Our Lady to comfort and keep you until I am there with you.  Please seek Him out today ask, again, for mercy for me and for my Mom.  I love you.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Grace and His Grace

...where fear is lost to love and You are more than enough.

Everything rides on hope now...

Everything rides on hope now
Everything rides on faith somehow
When the world has broken me down
Your love sets me free

Monday, August 20, 2012

I surrender...

Getting hung up on words, I'll just stick with the music that has been a comfort.  A few notes can carry my soul a long way and bring me back to earth when I need it. 

Prayer for Freedom of Heart, by St. Ignatius Loyola

Grant, O Lord, that my heart may neither desire nor seek anything but what is necessary for the fulfillment of Thy holy Will. May health or sickness, riches or poverty, honors or contempt, humiliations, leave my soul in that state of perfect detachment,to which I desire to attain--for Thy greater honor and Thy greater glory. Amen.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Everybody's got a dark side...

I always feel like a sulking teenager when I hear a song on the radio and the lyrics speak to me in some way and I find myself humming along, thinking, yes...she/he totally gets me.  Since I'm not nearly as cool as I once was - after hearing a song just like I've described, I usually have to Google it to find out what the song was and who the singer is.  This time it was Kelly Clarkson - the original American Idol - and my personal favorite.  The girl can sing and I typically like anything that she puts out there.

Her latest release "Dark Side" started me thinking about my own dark side.  That dark side of me that I constantly have to manage, control, tramp down, ignore, tell off, etc., etc., and so on.  The dark side of me that instead of trying to find ways to mourn for Grace as "the date" approaches, I start the self punishment cycle.  Instead of prayer, I torture myself with videos and choice websites.  There are parts of the song that really cut to the quick when she talks about revealing her dark side to the one she loves, will they run away, will they stay, even if she pushed them out, will they remind her of who she really is.  She pleads for them to remind her who she really is.

Oh - have I done what she sings about.  Pushing people as far as I can is a fine tuned hobby of mine.  There are less than a handful of people in this world who I know love me unconditionally and on whose love I cling to for life itself.  Heading up this intimate crowd is He who loves me with a love that (I'm paraphrasing) surpasses all understanding.  But, I push Him too.

Sometimes I push because I just really want to be left alone, but only for a little bit of time, just for some breathing room.  Other times I push because I want to see if I can really get them to leave.  Most of the time I push because I just want to hear the words, "I'm never going to leave you."  Maybe simply asking for reassurance would be easier?  Asking for it, however, makes me feel weak.  It's like asking someone to tell you they love you.  You aren't supposed to ask for it.  You're supposed to wait to hear it.  I've spent half a lifetime searching for love in all the wrong ways.  Now I've found it and have it in the most truest and purest ways possible for some time now, but yet I doubt, I test, I wonder.  I know that my husband and children love me.  My husband shows me in a million different ways just how much he loves me.  Actions are supposed to mean so much more than words, but sometimes, the words are all I need if they are the right ones.  How do you tell the people closest to you what you desperately need to hear?  

I read somewhere that a trauma in someone's life kind of leaves them stuck at the age they were when the trauma occurred.  For me, that would be 17.  Sometimes I still feel 17, as if the rest of my life, even the good parts, never really happened, and I'm still alone, in my room, listening to the radio.

Monday, August 13, 2012

I see you with the angels...

Sometimes I run out of words to speak, tears to cry, or prayers to pray.  I think surrender may be the m.o. for the next couple of weeks. When I run out of words to say, I go looking for words from someone else, somewhere else.  I guess I should take stock in the fact that at least I'm looking outside of myself for help instead of shutting down completely and I've become rather particular about where I search for help and who I reach out to.  Lord, help me to not go looking for the quick fix, help me be accepting of your fix.


On The Grace Of Healing
by Father Walter J. Ciszek, S.J.

 "Though being licked is a normal, daily experience with me, my deep desire to win the battle urges me on to struggle and to keep on struggling no matter what the cost. This is healing as I realize it, i.e., knowing how to live with your illness, and how to handle it sufficiently in every new situation that arises.

It's in the struggle that one receives every new enlightenments, insights, added courage and purpose to continue the struggle of life with firm faith in the final victory. In such struggle, we realize our own nothingness, never separated, however, from God's allness, and because of our conscious realization of God's love always present in us, the human spirit never relents in its efforts to fight to the end and to win the battle.

Every failure and licking we experience is not a defeat but an assurance of the truthfulness of our purpose, trusting and confiding in God's power, leading us to our end, in spite of how we feel or fail to how weak and unstable we prove ourselves to be.

Our weakness and instability sway us in all directions to experience the good and the bad we encounter. This fluctuation can bring us to the point of despair, even to anger at our own helplessness, yet not to the point of sin, though close to it, because in all this interior and mental turmoil and instability and fluctuation, there is something stable and unchanging in us bringing us always to the balance point and center after the swaying and fluctuation cease temporarily. That something stable and balanced in us is the peace of God's presence permeating our very being through and through, and constantly purifying us from all that stains our body and soul, to infuse in place of corruption a new life and love that changes us and lifts us above all that is sinful.

Such is the power of the love of God in us, integrating us into divine life and making us holy. Such is healing in its deepest meaning."

Friday, August 10, 2012

Need a kick in the pants? Know someone who does?

Take this on yourself or send it to someone who needs it.  Fr. Dwight tells it like it is whilst standing on his head

"If individuals took responsibility for themselves and put their own house in order and tried to live heroically virtuous lives the world’s problems would be solved. The answer is personal virtue, and personal virtue begins with “It’s my fault. I’m sorry. I’ll take responsibility for that.”
Read the whole thing here and then sign up for his newsletter.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

A kindred spirit...

Theresa Bonapartis over at Lumina often speaks words that are achingly familiar and at the same time hopeful for me. I think one of the most important aspects of my healing is the knowledge that I'm not alone in any of what I'm going through - even when I feel like it so much that it hurts - I'm not alone.  I have millions and millions of women who feel what I feel.

One of her latest entries really spoke to me - Abortion and the Divine Physician.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Does love give way to grief?

Give sorrow words.
The grief that does not speak
Whispers the o'er fraught heart
 and bids it break.
When I first started my blog, I chose the above quote to add to the layout.  It was in the folder of stuff that I received on my first retreat.  All this time, I never really paid it much attention save for my first impressions of it and noting that it was from one of my favorite works of Shakespeare.  I mean, I was doing that already, giving my sorrow words.  I started talking about my abortion and the flood gates had opened and led me this way and that and to where I am now.  And then with the start of my blog, I was really giving words to my sorrow – oh so many, many words. 

Today is August 1, 2012 and for the last few days I’ve felt the glow of the retreat start to fade as realities take over, but it's to be expected.  I was ready for it and took it in stride and prayed my way through it.  But, I’ve had a lump in my throat and a knot in my stomach that I can’t shake.  August 22, will be the anniversary of my abortion.  At first I thought well, that’s what the matter is, my body is physically responding to whatever I’m wrestling with internally as it usually does. I was trying to ignore the date.  But this time, it feels different.  It’s not despair.  It’s not unworthiness.  It’s not the feeling that I’m far from Him.  It’s what I have yet to give words to – my grief. 

I have spoken and put pen to paper about so much over the last couple of years, but grief I’ve tiptoed around or maybe I hadn’t recognized it before?  Maybe it was hidden under all the other crap that came to the surface.  Am I feeling it now, grief, now?  Even while alight with this new-found love and solace I’ve found in Him, in my complete and all-in surrender to Him – now I’m left with this?  This pit in my stomach, this new hurt, this pain that doesn’t seem to want to break me, but pain that I feel I must feel?

Grace would have been born in March of 1988; she would be 24 right now, if she were here with me.  I picture her as 24 in Heaven.  I’ve always pictured her at the age she would be had she lived here with me.  Today, as I mulled these things over silently in my mind, I began to feel things a bit more deeply.  I do miss her and then I don’t know what to miss exactly.  What would she have been like?  What would she have looked like?  Would she sing or dance? Would she laugh like me?  Would she be smart? Would I have been a good mother to her? Would she resent me for the sacrifices we would have surely had to make were she to be born?  What would the girls think of her?
The more I thought about it, the more it hurt, a dull emptiness for what would have been, what should have been…

I’m not sure I know how to grieve for her, mourn for her. I’m not sure I ever have.  I think I’ve thought about it, but I’m not sure.  There have been countless times where I think, "there should be 3," but it usually passes or I say a prayer and remind myself that she is here with me, with all of us. 

The only thing I know for sure right now is that these feelings are different and I know I’m capable of handling them – but I’m not sure how exactly.  Can I pray my way around it?  Will I always feel it or will it fade with time and makes its presences known on holidays and anniversaries.  I suppose its progress that I'm even thinking I'm allowed to grieve for her at all.