The consequences of abortion have far-reaching effects, not only for the baby, but also for the others involved in the abortion. One of the saddest cases I can recall in my counseling career was an aborted baby's grandmother. Her name was Dottie. She was such a sweet lady. I know she would have been a "picture book" grandmother had she been given the chance.
Dottie found out about the abortion ten years after it happened. Her son had stored some items at her house. Later in an innocent attempt to clean the garage, Dottie found the paper trail of the abortion that had occurred a decade earlier.
It was then that a heartbroken Dottie called me to help her deal with the emotions she was feeling. I was surprised to see that Dottie was going through some of the same emotions post-abortive parents experience as a result of their abortion choice. The aftermath of her son's abortion decision affected her life also. After all, one of her grandchildren had been lost to eternity.
I was amazed at the responsibility Dottie felt for the choice her son and his girlfriend made ten years earlier. She had a tremendous amount of guilt, wondering what she could have done to stop it and why they didn't think they could come to her with their problem. Did they not consider her a strong support system?
Dottie was also dealing with bouts of depression. Realizing she had lost a family member, yet with no external evidence the baby ever existed, she felt ambiguous about grieving the loss. The grief turned inward into a deep cloud of depression.
Lastly, Dottie could not help but feel anger towards her son. She felt betrayed that he did not consider her as someone he could come to in times of trouble.
Guilt, depression, and anger were intertwined in Dottie's emotions. Like most post-abortive parents, she didn't know where to begin untangling the web.
I reminded Dottie that it was her responsibility to forgive herself and her son for the abortion decision. She needed to realize that forgiveness would be an important part of her healing. After all, a Savior came to pay the price of sin for the bad choices all of us make.
I encouraged Dottie to grieve the loss of that grandchild as she would any other. Working through the different emotions, Dottie was finally able to write a letter to her lost grandchild as part of the grieving process. This seemed to bring her the comfort and peace she was looking for.
Dottie's letter was a poignant outpouring of emotion. She has given me permission to share it with you with the hope it might help others who have lost a loved one because of the abortion choice.
This letter is to let you know how much I love you. Though I never met you, I know I love you. You are the pride of my life. I have so many feelings about your loss. I feel hurt and angry. Your Daddy and Mommy never gave you a chance to be part of my life. I don't know what I could have done to help their situation, but I know I would have fought hard to save you. I would have told them, "It will be OK." I would have told them, "Together we can make it."
They were young and scared and believed the lies of the world — lies that said your life didn't matter, and lies that said, "The time wasn't right." They were at a place where they thought no one cared — not me, not God. They were wrong, but they were scared and didn't know what to do. They took what they thought would be the best path for everyone involved.
The road was a wrong choice, though. It was wrong for you, it was wrong for me, and it was wrong for them. Sometimes I feel so much anger towards your Daddy and Mommy, because they didn't feel comfortable coming to me with the news. I'm angry with myself for not making myself more accessible. All anger aside, all three of us feel the pain at the loss of you, their child, and my grandchild.
You are missed. There will always be a hole in each of our hearts. Your life was a pebble that dropped in the water. The ripples go forth and rock our quiet hearts with sadness. Each wave passes through, and we know you were an important person in our family and you will always be missed.
From your loving Grammy,
Family members besides the parents feel the after-affects of abortion. As we approach the thirty-year mark of legalized abortion, there is no possible calculation to determine the ripple effect of abortion on our society. Mothers and fathers are missing children. Grandparents are missing grandchildren. Cousins are missing cousins. Suffice it to say, there are probably very few families in America who have not been touched by the sin of abortion. If they aren't missing family members, perhaps they are missing that perfect mate or perfect friend who never showed up to share their lives.
Just like Dottie said, "The ripples go forth and rock our quiet hearts with sadness." With each passing wave we all will have missed an important person in our family and our lives. The pebbles of abortion continue to drop and ripple the water. Silently, the ripples touch each passing generation.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Trudy M. Johnson earned her MA in Biblical Counseling from Trinity Seminary and Bible College. For the past five years she has been involved with the Crisis Pregnancy Ministry at Focus on the Family as Assistant Editor of their HeartLink newsletter as well as Website Writer/Coordinator. She can be reached at JOHNSOTM@fotf.org.