A post that might break your heart from Rebecca Frech's blog.
I'm in love with a girl I've never met. I've never held her hand, or stroked her hair, or sang songs to her. But I love her all the same.
Whether she's tall or short, I don't know. The shape of her face exists only in my imagination. The lilt in her voice and the joy in her laugh - sounds that would rival the chorus of angels, I'm sure. Sparkling eyes of brown, perhaps hazel.
All that is lost to me. All I possess are the unreal memories of what could have been.
Because 25 years ago, about this time in August, the girl I love was aborted. My little girl. My only daughter. A child so inseparably wrapped around my finger to this day. A girl who will never call me "daddy".
A girl who never felt the protective embrace of her father, because her father failed in her greatest moment of need.
I could write about the abortion, the whys and wherefores, but why? That guy, in a very real sense, no longer exists. I'm not that guy anymore, just as I'm no longer the kid who attended Catholic grade school, or the idiot who got drunk at college parties. The days of "If only..." are long behind me, nor do I play the "I should've..." game any longer. After 25 years, I ought to have stopped all that, right? I admit that what I did, what I allowed to happen, was wrong. I've repented and done my penance. I'm reconciled with the Church.
Reconciliation, while it removes the sin, it doesn't wash away the grief. There's a child-sized hole in my heart that will never be filled in this life. Actually, there's a child-sized hole in my life that my heart will never get over.
The grief of lost fatherhood due to abortion is rarely talked about. It's only been recently that groups like Rachel's Vineyard have reached out to dads and help them through the grieving process. It's something I yearn to participate in, to get the full healing I know I still need, but am unable to.
Why? Because a couple years later, I married the woman who had the abortion. I married the mother of our daughter. You might think that a lot of pain and suffering could have been avoided if we had married other people, and I wouldn't necessarily argue with you. But back in those days, I had convinced myself that the abortion wasn't on me, that I wasn't responsible. It had nothing to do with me. As time went on, though, I faced the fact that I was responsible, that I was a father, and I needed healing.
The bad thing is, the abortion remains a taboo topic of discussion between us to this day, an invisible intractable wall, breached only twice in the past two-and-a-half decades. I'm not going to dive into the dynamics going on, except to say: the one person who can help me work through the grief and pain is the same person who refuses to acknowledge that I'm justified in experiencing pain and grief in the first place. Plus she is unwilling, or incapable of, admitting she killed her child. But this is something I must talk about. To go this long without telling anybody is beyond what I ever believed I could bear. To go any further leads me into a wilderness I have no desire to venture.
It's important that people realize that there are many, many fathers out there who regret the abortion and yet are unable to, or are uncomfortable with, talking about it. The guilt and shame; the feelings of inadequacy, in failing to protect the vulnerable; the isolation; the detachment and inability to form stable relationships; the unspoken tension; the negative effect on parenting; the emotional scarring. These things and more plague countless men, and most carry their grief as an invisible weight that squeezes the very life from their souls. They love the children who exist only in their hearts, unrequited and forlorn.