Today marks the twenty-year anniversary of Ending Life – not the essay, the event. While my friends and colleagues are all atwitter about flowers and candy, date night and all things mushy, I sit in silent grief. I’m used to it now, after so many years, but it doesn’t get easier. Make no mistake, I can distinctly separate the two occasions; however, I have not lived this day in celebration since February 14, 1997.
This evening will mark a significant change to my typical V-Day. My husband and I are going on a dinner date with one of our favorite couples. This is my way of setting down the suitcase that carries my grief and regret of ending a child’s life. Packed away in that suitcase is rage and physical pain of being held down by a nurse while a doctor hushed my pleas to stop as he ripped a baby from my body. As if rape wasn’t traumatic enough, right?
Please, this is not a debate – political or moral. This was my choice, but it remains a choice with consequence. I know there are women who make it through abortion with none of the after-effects that I have carried. How easy this day would be if only I was one of them. I have prayed for self-forgiveness, yet it has not come. I believed once that healing would come in the writing of my experience. For the first time that I can remember, words did not soothe my aching soul. You see, there is no soothing in this.
Tonight I choose to surround myself with love and friendship, and will spend the day counting my blessings and reminding myself that I was young and scared, and that my choice was not rooted in my heart. It was a choice made with a fractured heart, which isn’t nearly the same.