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A Place To Grieve

When Sally Jones* heard about a proposed memorial for aborted children, her heart jumped. For several years she had been dealing with Post Abortion Syndrome. Although she had been through counseling, both lay and religious, and had come to terms with her twenty year old act of abortion, she always felt there was something missing. The child she had aborted was missing, certainly, but beyond that, there was an emptiness which had distressed her for some time.

Sally phoned the cemetery where the memorial was to be dedicated.  As the Director described the Holy Innocents' Plot and the statue of Rachel Mourning which was to be dedicated, Sally realized what was missing. She had never been able to lay her aborted child to rest. As part of the healing process, she had named that child, but there was no grave bearing the remains. Yet the emotions she experienced were the same as those felt by anyone who loses a family member or beloved friend. Sally ached for a place where she could at last lay that child to rest, grieve for her, mourn, and say a final goodbye to the child which was conceived and grew, but whose life was taken before birth.

As the Director spoke, she heard him say, "People have asked me just what is the necessity for such a memorial?"

"I can tell you," Sally answered. "Abortion is about death and dying. It is about loss and grieving. It is about blaming oneself for that death and the need to let go and give one's child up to God. A memorial such as this is an answer to prayer, because it gives aborting women a resting place for their lost children, a place where they can say goodbye and know their child is at peace. It is a place where they can at last find peace for their own troubled hearts."

Sally attended the dedication service of the Rachel Mourning memorial, along with her friend Peggy, who had aborted a child eight years before. Peggy had never been able to cry for the loss of that child. As she placed a rose at the base of the statue Sally spoke to her aborted child, asking her forgiveness and giving her into the hands of God. Beside her, Peggy placed a cross against the statue. Then, reaching out, Peggy took Sally's hand and broke into tears, finally able to release her grief and self-blame for the first time in eight years.

As the two women embraced, both felt the relief of finally saying goodbye to their children and of knowing without doubt that those babies were yet living, safe within the Kingdom of Heaven. "Now finally," Peggy said, "I can say goodbye to my child - I have a place where I can lay her to rest."

Sally and Peggy are just two of a growing number of women who are suffering with the grief and self-condemnation of having aborted a child. For those women suffering with Post Abortion Syndrome, memorials such as the above serve a very real and vital purpose. It gives them a tangible place where they can mourn, just as they would mourn at the grave of any lost family member.  

*Names have been changed

Priests for Life
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