Saturday, January 21, 2006

January 22nd...a day to mourn

The following is a re-posting of something I originally posted on 1/22/04:

When I was a junior in high school, I was delighted to hear that my older sister was pregnant with her third child. I adored my nieces, Shelly and Stephanie, and was looking forward to another little niece or nephew.

My sister gave birth that January to a beautiful little baby girl, and named her Deborah Leigh. But as perfect as Deborah looked, it quickly became obvious that something was wrong. Deborah's little heart was incomplete, and she died within a week of her birth.

I will never forget the car trip from East Texas to West Texas for the funeral of a baby girl. I will never forget seeing that beautiful little girl in the dainty little dress her father had bought for her to wear home from the hospital. I will never forget hearing my brother-in-law cry in the middle of the night for a daughter that would never grow up, or hearing my sister sob for her baby.

Time does heal, and less than a year after Deborah's death, my sister was blessed with another little girl. My niece Cynthia Anne is grown up now, married and has her own babies.

But every year around this time, my sister experiences a season of sadness as she mourns the baby that never grew up.

We were talking about it just the other day. "It's hard to believe it's been 31 years now," Beverly said softly. "She died on January 22nd, 1973."

"January 22, 1973? Beverly...that's the day the Supreme Court Roe versus Wade decision legalized abortion!"

My sister had never connected the two events. We were both struck with the irony. She still grieves the death of a baby on that day...the day that paved the way for millions of mothers to end the lives of their babies voluntarily.

Ironic, indeed.

(originally posted January 22, 2004)

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