Lazarus Come Forth…
I was nineteen and back in college after taking a year off to decide whether I really wanted to be a doctor or not. I was also lonely; everyone I knew was hooked up with someone while I spent Friday nights sitting with my father watching cop shows.
It was a month after starting school that this really good looking guy invited himself to sit at my cafeteria table. I couldn’t believe my luck when he started meeting me during my class breaks, or when he asked me out. My parents hated him on sight, convinced that he was a sneak and a creep and forbade me to ever see him again. Would to God I had listened, but hind sight, four and a half years and three dead children later, is always twenty-twenty.
Of course, I convinced myself that I was in love. Naturally he promised marriage and love and everything else he knew I was looking for. Finally, in an act of anger and defiance, I gave him my virginity. I met him in October, 1978. In November, I gave in to him. In January, 1979, I was sitting in the Ob/Gyn clinic of a hospital being told that the test had come back positive and I was pregnant.
I was ecstatic, overjoyed; abortion never entered my mind. I was pro-life, even though at the time I was out of the Church and not exactly acting like a good Catholic girl should. I had even written a paper for English class describing the pro-life position. I dreamed of eloping to get married. I dreamed of presenting a done deal to my parents and how they would eventually forgive me and accept the father of my child. I never dreamed I would hear ‘my love’ asking the nurse how we went about scheduling an abortion! I was too shocked at the time to say anything while he and the nurse made the appointment. I didn’t believe I had heard or what I was hearing.
For two weeks I fought, screamed, cried, begged, pleaded. I tried to apply for welfare thinking I could run away from home and raise the baby on my own. I was turned down and the social worker reinforced what everyone else was telling me, abortion was my only option. What I never did, never even considered, was telling my strict Sicilian father that I was pregnant by the man he had forbidden me to see. My fear of my father was stronger than my horror of killing my baby, my Jamie.
Jamie, the name I gave him the moment I knew he was going to die; Jamie my heart and my soul. I pleaded with heaven to let Jamie die naturally, for God to take him. I pleaded to die with my baby, contemplating suicide so we could die together. And in the end I gave in and lay down on that table. In the end I listened when the so called counselor told me it was no different than having a tooth pulled, just a bit of tissue, even though as biology major, I knew better. I lay down and went to sleep and dreamed that I was running thru a mist and I could hear Jamie crying and the cries moving further and further away as a nurse ran off with him in her arms.
I woke to a nurse shaking me and telling me to cut my nonsense, I was upsetting the other girls in the room. Apparently I had been screaming in my sleep and pulled my IV out. I went home, sat in front of the TV with the rest of my family and acted like nothing happened while inside I hated myself and wanted to die. I hated him, my father, and somehow turned all of it into his fault. I found out years later, when a sister got pregnant that he would not have reacted the way I expected.
I did not, however, blame my boyfriend. He convinced me that he was hurting just as much as I was; he told me pretty stories about how God was going to send Jamie back to us when we were married and able to take better care of him. Not ten months later, I was back on the abortionist’s table, and then once more, two years later. Three children dead, four and a half years later, I met someone else who convinced me that I didn’t have to stay with this man for whom I had killed my children. I met someone who, knowing that I was a ‘baby killer’, loved me anyway and gave me the strength to break out of the abusive relationship I had become locked into.
I have been married to that man for twenty-one years now and we have three children of our own and share my three in heaven. He spiritually adopted them and gave them him last name. He loves them as much as he loves his three here on earth and considers them his little angels. His love has enabled me to be strong enough to claim my angels as well. I thought I was condemned; I thought that hell, both here on earth and for eternity was all I deserved. But God loved me thru this man, and gave me the strength to seek healing, forgiveness, and hope.
After going through a Rachel’s Vineyard Retreat, I now feel like Lazarus called from the tomb. I stand in the sun, unwrapped and joyous and want to reach out to others who are still locked away in the bitter tombs of their grief. My own cheering section in Heaven eggs me on. Jamie, Nikki and Toni, I love you all.