It started out as any other day that would have faded from thought and memory, but this day followed another course. This day, many years ago, changed our lives dramatically. On this day, evil became known.
I was lost in my world of Barbie dolls and dress up when the sound of crying quenched my play and drew me away. I found my mother holding and half carrying my older sister, "Barbara" (not her real name), to her room. She was doubled over, holding her stomach, and crying. I got up to see if there was anything I could do. As they headed into the bedroom, my mother told me to leave Barbara alone.
"Why?" I pleaded with my mother. "Can't I please go and help her? I want to talk to her. I want to see her."
"No," she responded with an edge of frustration in her voice.
were devoid of
that usual spark
of life. I had
never seen her
so sad and
I was so sad. I had never seen Barbara so upset before. All I wanted to do was help her, help her stop crying. Barbara stayed in her room for days. I sat outside her room the first day, but she just kept crying. Sometimes her cries were muffled, as if she was crying into her pillow; other times she would whimper, like a lost puppy. Finally, all I heard were sniffles. Her tears just fell silently down her face. They were tears of pain that my little heart couldn't understand. I unknowingly lost something, and the shadows kept my loss hidden from me.
"Why?" I thought. "Why does she cry? Why does it feel like a dark shadow has fallen upon our home now?" I tried talking to her through the door, but she didn't want to talk. The silence that followed became worse than the sobbing from the days before.
Finally, she let me into her room. I had always loved Barbara's room. It was like a safe harbor with sandy beaches and refreshing water. Now it seemed like a tempest had blown through and left in its wake chaos and hopelessness. A deep foreboding entered my heart as I walked into her room. I felt like tiptoeing. Each step I took towards her, past all her clothes scattered on the floor, past all the tissues tossed to the side, filled my heart with fear. I wanted to think everything was going to be all right. I wanted that so much. I kneeled down beside the bed and looked at my sister.
Barbara was the prettiest in our family. She had long brown hair and beautiful blue eyes that sparkled like the sun. She was so sweet, so loving, and so kindhearted. Her eyes had so much warmth to them. I always felt loved when she looked at me. My sister, whom I deeply loved and looked up to, was lying on her side. Her face was close to mine. Her pretty features were all the same, yet something had changed her dramatically. I could see it. I could see it in her eyes. They looked devoid of that usual spark of life. I had never seen her so sad and empty. She tried to console me and told me she was okay. I didn't believe her and left feeling very confused. That was the beginning of the death of my sister.
Seven years later I was visiting Barbara at her home. She was very distraught. I asked her why, and she told me, "Years ago, I had an abortion." I was still very young and didn't understand what an abortion was, so she had to explain it to me.
Then Barbara said, "The church doesn't forgive me." I was sure she was wrong and told her so.
There was nothing I could do to convince her otherwise so I said, "I know that God forgives you, Barbara. I know He does!"
I was desperate to convince her of that. But Barbara couldn't forgive herself, nor could she accept God's forgiveness. I was still a child, and she was my older sister, and nothing I said would convince her.
She desperately wanted a little girl—one to replace the one she lost through her abortion. I will never be able to hold my niece and love her. We were robbed of the chance to know her and the joy she would have brought into our home. Several weeks later Barbara had a nervous breakdown from which she never recovered.
The abortion took place more than twenty years ago, but I still feel the pain of losing my sister and my niece. Barbara is now in a home for the mentally ill. The Barbara I knew is gone, she died.
Every year we sadly acknowledge another year of abortions. The statistics continue to rise until it is hard to grasp the depth of pain and death, but not for me. All I need to do is think of my sister who could neither forgive herself nor accept God's forgiveness. Each abortion involves real people, and real people are devastated by abortion.
Every opportunity to spare someone from abortion becomes a battle to save them from the consequences, a battle to save a life, a battle against the deceit and treachery of those who defend the practice. But the victories are worth every battle. As Winston Churchill said, ". Never, never, !"
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Suzanne Brown has been married 19 years and is the mother of four beautiful children.