I was astounded by the beautiful landscape while approaching the southern Oregon town of Klamath Falls on a cold crisp day in January.
My last experience of this scenery was through the window of a greyhound bus 38 years ago. I had just turned 19 and was finishing a 9-hour bus ride to end the life of my first child.
That’s not how I thought of it then, of course. I was simply going to a doctor's appointment to have a piece of tissue removed. It was going to be a simple legal procedure that would allow me to continue in college and my planned out life. I could choose to be a mother later.
Little did I know the effect that appointment would have on the rest of my life. Now, at 55, I was returning to give a keynote speech at a pro-life rally on the courthouse steps for the anniversary of Roe v Wade.
Before I could do that, however, there was some business to attend to. I stopped at a second-hand store for children, purchased a few items, and drove to the area I remembered from so many years ago.
It was the student health center back then, but now it was hard to tell which one it had been as many medical buildings had been added. After driving around for a few minutes – I settled on the one that felt the most familiar, now a urology clinic.
My uncertainty vanished as I walked into the lobby area. This was certainly the place, and for a split second – I could see the young man who brought me – standing at the counter handing over the $200.
I approached the counter and explained to the receptionist that I had “Experienced some trauma in the building many years ago.” I asked if I could perhaps be “escorted to one of the rooms so that I could leave a few items behind – in order to bring closure”
She agreed to ask the manager and suggested I take a seat in the lobby.
The manager seemed nervous as she summoned me through the doors. I wonder what was going on in her thoughts. I chose the room; she agreed and as we sat down asked, “how can I help you?”
I again explained my purpose, intentionally being vague about the exact trauma I had experienced there. I simply wanted to leave two items along with a note. Her only concern was not being able to guarantee what would happen to the items. After assuring her that I wasn’t concerned about that, she agreed. She said she “Hoped this would help with my healing” and I replied, “Thank you, it already has.”
I have no memory of leaving that building after my abortion. My memory had returned three days later as I’d opened a letter from the clinic stating, “all of the tissue had been successfully removed”.
This time however, as I walked out – I held in my being a feeling I would NEVER forget. One of completion, of wisdom born of pain, and an excitement about not only the speaking engagement I was headed to – but the ones in the future as well.
The last time we were together was here at this place 38 years ago. I’m here in town for the 1st time since then, so I wanted to stop by and leave a few things in your memory. I know you don’t need them, but it feels right to do any way.
I think these boots are really cute and would have looked good on your feet which I’m sure would have been cute and chubby. This toy looks like it would have made your eyes sparkle.
I’ve long since forgiven those who affected my poor choice, those who ended your life here, the society that encouraged it, and hardest of all, myself.
I can’t wait to be with you again someday.
If you've lost a child to abortion, there is hope and healing available to you. Please reach out. I would love to talk with you and connect you with life-affirming, confidential,