We each, this week, are sharing a time that we were at the brink of darkness and what brought us back.
When I thought of my testimony, I thought of one of my memories of my mom, when she was in a Nursing Home. The Recreation Director shared with me how much she enjoyed my mother. It seems my mom went to the Catholic Mass, the Jewish service and the Protestant service as well. She told Sister Zena that she wanted to “cover all the bases.”
I could see how the mosaic of faith expressions that my mother had, mirrored by own experiences with various belief systems, years later.
Ahhhh…the 60’s. Flower children…peace signs…peace rallies. That didn’t describe me. Rather, I was a scared, unwed 17 year old pregnant girl.
Denial…pretending…hoping…didn’t change the facts. I was with child.
I had tried unsuccessfully to miscarry my child in gym class. I thought the pummel horse would do it.
No, he hung on for dear life.
The celebration of Christmas Season came.
The seductive spirit of suicide whispered to me. “It’ll be easy…no more pain…you won’t have to face anyone…you slut. You who everyone thinks is a goody two shoes!”
As I formulated a plan, another voice spoke. “Do you realize that if you go through with your plan, you will not only kill yourself but you will kill the baby that you carry?”
It was as if I was smacked in the face with reality.
As much as self hatred vied for position, compassion won the match. I could not kill my child.
Pretending became an art. Trying to become invisible, as I grew in size…impossible!
Day of reckoning came. Good girl image annihilated. Shame and relief on the same day.
Hiding became an art. My bedroom became my oasis…just me and my baby. He was all I had.
Mononucleosis…brilliant! That will be the story line. No friends to bother me…shhh…secrets…guilt…shame…swirled around me..
A friend, Loretta barges in, ignoring my request to be alone. I’m at once happy and then angry at her.. A gift… rosary beads? What for?...Sparkling and beautiful they were…hope ascends…God, do You still remember me?... Oh no…remembering now, You are an angry and punishing God…aren’t You?
A hot sweltering day in June…my sister, a nurse verified I was in labor. She was a Godsend; as I was off the charts with fear…Compassionate doctor…will never forget him.
Panic sets in…why are my parents here in this dark room?…why are they smiling?...I touch my belly…noooooooo…where is my baby?...they are still smiling…Bone of my bone and flesh of my flesh…GONE!
Following the path of “the right thing to do”, I sign the papers…@ 17…how could I truly understand the legalities. Another mother will have him…the cost for my sin? …It’s too hard to think straight.
Babies crying…dreaming of babies needing me…scornful voices in my head saying that I deserved this fate…”see what happens to a ”so called” good girl”
“Go on” they say…”Put it behind you”…”Think of a future”…folks who meant well. Did they know that was impossible?...I could barely put one foot in front of another.
Losing my son was a death without a public acknowledgement or a funeral.
Christmas arrives again…nothing about the season is welcomed by me. The babies are still crying and they are reaching out to me. Grief and sorrow consume me…it’s tentacles wrapping tightly round me. I again, was convinced that suicide was reasonable
Out of the blue, Barbra Streisand shows up. Not in person…but in the spirit of the season. So unclear to me still…where did her Christmas Album come from?...a coincidence?…hardly. God knew that music would bypass my pain and deliver me from temptation…so over and over like a hungry bird, I listened to her songs…was it the words?…was it her voice?..No matter…a glimmer…a sliver of Light poked into my darkness with authority and force and infused me with strength to go on.
So my Protestant friend...a Catholic Rosary...a Jewish performer and the Lord
Helped me to...
I CHOSE LIFE!
for Him and for Me