Age: Day 8,512 of my life [23 Years Old]
Date: 6 July 2012
Location: Fort Collins, CO
Category: What’s the opposite of lonely?
People Involved: A stranger
I’m going to cheat today. I’ve thought about cheating a few times by recalling today’s events. So far, I have controlled myself. Now that I am in a bit of a rut, I feel like I have an excuse. Today has been a strange day. The sixth anniversary of the abortion of my child came and went with little event. Instead, today was the day that everything changed.
Over the years, much has changed in my attitude about what happening back in the summer between my junior and senior year of high school. I started off feeling insanely alone. I only told a couple friends about what happened in the months that followed. I didn’t even have the guts to tell my own sister. As years passed, I became more open about the abortion. I realized few people judged me as I expected. I thought I would actually lose friends over it. Instead, my honestly maintained those friendships…and often strengthened them.
Today took me to a new step. Even though I no longer feel like being judged, I do not come across people who understand my experience on a deep level. If they have not gone through what I have gone through, how are they to understand? I went to my parent’s house for a few days for the Fourth of July. Today, I ended up in a long conversation with my mother about everything that happened. It barely even mattered what we talked about. The important thing is that she was there. Mothers have an incredible ability to leave a calming aura.
The real surprise of the day came in the form of an email from a complete stranger. I opened my email not an hour ago to the most thought out email I have received in years. The thing is, I love maintaining a writing website. I love having my writing out there for people to read. I love being able to track how many people are clicking through and actually reading my writing. I love receiving comments. But I often wonder if I ever impact people. This afternoon, I knew I had.
I received an email from a man named Chris. He told me that he respected my honesty. Surprisingly, that is the common response every time I write about the abortion. What took me off-guard was his account of his similar situation…except they kept the baby. His account recording every emotion I’ve experienced over the past two years. The suicidal tendencies. The understanding that maintaining a relationship with a woman you conceived and killed a child with is impossible. The numbness.
What took me by surprise was the end of his letter. He reiterated a thought that I often think about. “..every decision you have ever made has led precisely to where you are now, and it is impossible to know where you would have ended up had you made any other choices.” In my youth , I used to say that I had no regrets with this logic. I usually love where I am…and regrets are a way of saying you aren’t fully happy with where you are.
The thing is, I do regret the abortion. There is no reason to hold regrets…unless it is with regard to another person’s life. If I held a gun to a man’s head and pulled the trigger, I would regret it. I have a hard time seeing any difference in what I did…except my victim was unarmed. It is my only true regret in life. True, I am happy with where I am. But, I shouldn’t be able to be happy with where I am on the shoulders of someone else’s demise.
I want to thank you, Chris. The pain that came with the abortion has turned into an underlying melancholy over the years. The company of knowing that I am not alone is a wonderful change to the norm. I hope you don’t mind that I talked about you in this update…or that I will be printing out your letter than pinning it to my bedroom wall. Right next to the unsendable letter that I wrote to my son five years ago.