by Fr. Hugo L. Blotsky, O.S.B.
Joe, not his real name, is 41 years old and the father of four children. After 20 years of marriage, Joe was divorced from his wife, Sandy, which is not her real name.
Their first child, John Peter, was aborted to save a new marriage. Joe has much guilt and shame over the loss of this first child. He wrote a letter of apology to his son asking for forgiveness. This letter is a part of his healing process.
When individuals come to me for help to deal with the death of a child through a stillbirth, miscarriage, or an abortion, I take them through a brief healing service. Having the parent(s) name the child and then write a letter to their deceased child often bring about healing on a deep level. I suggested to Joe that he write a letter to their aborted son, John Peter.
Joe asked me to share this letter with others so that other parents can be spared the pain and suffering he has endured these past many years. Joe wants others to know that there is healing for parents following an abortion.
My Dear John Peter,
This past weekend I did something I should have done a very long time ago. I confessed to your death by abortion. John, you would today be a young man of twenty, vibrant and alive. By allowing your abortion I sinned against you and against God. Forgive me John, for I did it for all the wrong reasons.
The main reason, John, was that I was afraid, afraid that the stress you would have added to your Mother’s life might ruin our new marriage. Yet, John, I know now how much you would have added to and enriched my life and very likely the life of your Mother. John, I tried to justify your death to convince myself that you were only a package of tissue cells, no more perhaps than an egg is a full grown chicken. I tried to convince myself that what had happened was right, that in destroying this tissue, I had saved my marriage. After all, I thought, we can always have more children later. John, from that night onward I always had a “knot” in my stomach. Try as I might, I could not get you out of my mind completely. Perhaps that is the worst kind of sin, my son, the kind that bothers a person so deeply. Sometimes, when you come to mind, I would figure out how old you’d have been, what you might be doing at that age. James, your brother, reminded me sometimes of you as did the girls.
John, you had so much potential. Did you know John you could have been anything’? Tears come again John, as they did Saturday night. I am swept by pain, John, and tears do little to wash the pain away. And yet, little one, it is I who am saved by you and the mercy of God through the intercession of Jesus. You see, Little One, it is because of you that I finally sought reconciliation, not the usual kind the kind where I’d go to confession, do my penance, and leave without any sort of contrition. Little One, it is your death and my guilt which finally led to my confession of this sin. Yes, I had confessed before, but I had done so to “play the odds,” to “be on the safe side” just in case what I learned was true. On Saturday as I confessed I was crying: I felt a sense of remorse and guilt so deeply that I almost wish I could have died. John, if my dying now would give the world you I would offer my life. As you know, John, your Mother and I are now divorced. Your Mother may not ever have confessed to this sin. John Peter, if you would do me a favor, I would ask that you through Jesus work the same miracle on Sandy that you have worked on me. Your Mom was young too, John. To her at the time you represented this awesome threat to her chosen career. Please forgive her as well, John Peter. Please, my Little One, intercede for both of us through Jesus.
I find it searingly ironic, Little One, that it is I who ask such favors of one whom I killed or rather, allowed to be killed. And yet I ask, Little One, for I have grown to love you in a way that is at once both deep and pure.
In the fall, John, when the leaves fall from the trees I shall think of you, for you too fell from life. In the cold of winter, John, the snow shall remind me of you: for like the snow you were and are white and pure. In the spring, John, I shall think of you: for the birth of spring shall remind me that you, too should have been born into this world. John, I shall think of you in the summer: I shall imagine your laughter. I shall see you as you might have been, a little boy running and playing, scraping your knees from a fall. I shall miss, John, all that I might have gained from your life.
My Little One, John Peter, I can only now ask you to forgive me as Jesus and God have done.
May you rest in the arms of God