When I was eight, I was snooping around my mom’s Bible while she wasn’t home and found four pieces of paper that were folded up and stuffed between the pages. I unfolded them and read the first sentence: "I was sixteen years old when I became pregnant with Elizabeth and I had no idea what to do." Not knowing what I had just found, I quickly shoved the papers back into the Bible and tried to forget about it.
Two nights later, it was still bothering me. My mom, dad, and I were out to dinner and in the middle of my parents’ conversation, I blurted out ‘Mom, were you pregnant when you were 16?’ She just looked at me with tears filling her eyes. She explained to me how she had an abortion, and as an eight-year-old, I could only imagine what it was. She said something about my sister, whom she had named Elizabeth, being in Heaven. At that moment it clicked for me that I had lost my sister.
Over the next three years my mom became more active in the pro-life movement. She became the executive director of Anglicans for Life. I grasped the concept of what an abortion really was and got used to the fact that I was deprived of a sister I should’ve had. It was scary to know that my mom had killed someone that was so important to me.
When I turned 11, I was invited to speak at the Memorial Service for the Unborn as a sibling of an aborted child. I talked about how much I missed having an older sister and how I missed out on the little things, like watching her get ready for Prom or for her wedding. Spreading my experience of abortion was a big deal for me because it had been so much to overcome. Even though it wasn’t me that had had the abortion, I felt bad and cried a lot about it.
As I reached my teen years, I began to write in a journal. Instead of writing Dear Diary, I would write Dear Liz. I became obsessed with finding the father of my sister because I felt like it would somehow bring me closer to her. I wrote stories and poems about this girl I would never know and pretended she was a person. After I had my heart broken by a guy I wished she were there to help me through it and my tears of a broken heart turned into tears of missing my sister. I was mad at my mom for being so selfish and taking the life of her own child just so she wouldn’t have to bear the weight of having a kid at 16.
I finally grew out of my stage of denial that Liz wasn’t alive. Call me crazy, but sometimes I would talk to her at night as if she was next to me listening. After a lot of prayer, writing, and talking, I came to the realization that even though Mom did abort my sister, being mad at her wouldn’t do me any good. We’ve resolved things and have a strong relationship. Thanks to her and my aunt, I have overcome denial of my sister’s death.
After holding in my feelings for so long, I had to let them out. I was not only dealing with the loss of a sister, but the regular trials of a teenage girl on the brink of life: school, pressure from friends and parents, making decisions for my life, and accepting myself for who I am. I had a few close friends that helped me through all this and I also did a lot of writing. Writing is the way that I have found I can express myself the most. For some people it’s painting, for others it’s a sport. After praying about it I came to the last step in giving up my issues with my sister: I handed them over to Christ.
If you find out that you lost a sibling to abortion, you have to let your feelings out. Don’t keep them bottled up inside, because you will drive yourself crazy. Tell your parents what you’re thinking so that they know what you are with dealing it, and try not to be mad at them for taking the life of someone that could’ve been in your life. Also, get involved with a youth group. Building a relationship with Christ is the best way to let go of all your pain.
Rebekah was interviewed by Fr. Frank for the new 2004 series of Defending Life on EWTN.