Seventeen years ago my wife who is a caring, giving, loving person was pregnant. It was a very stressful time for her. We already had a lovely daughter of four years and a bonzo of a son 7 months old at the time.
My wife and I are a third generation Catholic Italian Americans. We come from parents who lived their whole lives in a ten block area. Those were the days when NYC had a multitude of ethnic areas (Italian, Irish, Jewish, Black, Hispanic, Eastern Europeans etc.) It also was just prior to the great mass movement for job relocations of the seventies and early eighties.
We left all our families and friends in New York City in order to improve our lot when I was offered a better job in Atlanta.
We were among the very first transplants that we knew. There were many small changes and some tremendous upheavals that had to be coped with. My wife actually bore the brunt of these events. The children were impervious to these changes due to their ages. It didn’t upset me since I Had a new job with more respectability and a bigger salary. I loved Atlanta from the first moment I arrived to the present.
As beautiful as Atlanta was we had no one else but ourselves. We had been told Italian-Catholic “Yankees” were treated either poorly or with indifference. It took a while to adjust but it had no great effect on me.
My wife had a more difficult time.
When she found out she was pregnant she became sullen and had crying fits. More and more she felt it was just too much to have a five year old, a one and a half year old, and a new baby. I don’t know how or where she thought of abortion, but it soon became a manifestation and an opportunity to reduce future stress.
In the months preceding the abortion I saw my role as twofold. Try to ease her plight by being there and being agreeable; and to impart to her that the choice was solely and exclusively hers…and I would agree to whatever she decided.
Stupidity, naivety, poor judgment or ignorance of life, abortion, religion etc…God help me I was so clueless.
I know I could have saved my son if only I had realized my true role as a father husband, Catholic and human being. I could have talked my wife out of abortion. But, I just drifted through this period in a zombified state (much like my wife) and doomed my son.
I labored under the assumption it was her decision exclusively…Wrong! I did nothing thing and I feel more responsible for the death of my baby than my wife. The baby was not dwelling in my loins. My brain was not affected by his presence. I still had the ability to think clearly, if only I tried. But, I did not try.
Later, after the abortion, I felt enormous guilt. I felt that my wife, by aborting my son, had (in effect) said to me, “I don’t want you or any part of you inside my body, ever again.” There was less sex. Sex became a problem for me and I had difficulty consummating the sexual act during our union for two years. I do not think my wife ever knew what I had to deal with inside my soul. Enormous guilt, enormous loss, unfathomable ignorance, is all mine.
Only now have I given this matter any deep thought. I guess my son was always there in heart and soul and mind trying to make a breakthrough. He’s finally succeeded, after 18 years.
Now I dwell in the Might-have-beens. Now I feel incredible confusion, loss and pain. After-Life is the only hope of knowing my son. I don’t know if my wife ever thinks of our son as I do. I made it a point never to bring it up to her, for I know she would never stop grieving till she died.
Throughout the almost eighteen years, neither she nor I have ever said a work about the abortion of our son to each other or anyone else. My wife did discuss it with a priest once. I don’t know if this eased her pain…I hope so!
I now look at my living daughter and son and think about what my other son would have been like. I wonder how they would have intermingled. How they would have grown together. I know they all would have loved each other. There would be three to face the world instead of just two. Just as I will never know the son I lost, they will never have the brother that could have been.
My son, I want you to know, I’m deeply sorry for your loss of life! I will go to my grave missing and loving you tenderly for all eternity. Please forgive me!