Saturday, January 22, 2011

A Story of Life and Love

Every child comes with the message that God is not yet discouraged of mankind.
~ Author Unknown

A few years ago, at a college reunion, I spent time catching up with a “dorm buddy” I hadn’t seen since graduation. We met for lunch and shared all our family news from over the years. She has two adult sons, but she told me she had borne a third son who did not live.

Nancy told me that half-way through her third pregnancy, tests revealed that her baby had severe health issues and would not survive. A devout Catholic, Nancy had talked to her priest about the grim medical verdict. The priest asked her to consider one question: “What if they’re wrong?” After much thought and prayer, Nancy made the brave decision to carry her baby to term.

Her baby boy was stillborn. Nancy and her husband and their two older sons spent the afternoon together with him in a private hospital room. They baptized the baby and named him Brian. Nancy’s two older boys, at that time ages seven and five, each took turns holding their baby brother.

When Nancy’s sons were in their early 20s, they revealed a sweet and startling secret to her. During the tumultuous adolescent years, when parents and teen-aged kids often clash, her sons told Nancy that they would sometimes go to the cemetery to visit Brian’s gravesite, to talk to their little brother about all of their troubles with Mom and Dad. Both of Nancy’s sons said that they always felt better after doing this, and that solutions to family issues often seemed obvious after these visits.

By the time she finished telling me this sad and touching story, Nancy and I were both in tears. She told me that she thinks about her lost baby every day—in fact, she mentioned that the following Monday would have been Brian’s 21st birthday. But she knows that Brian’s brief moment on earth served a vital purpose for her family. Brian’s story is a beautiful testimony to the value and importance of every human life, no matter how seemingly pointless its earthly existence might have been.

I don’t know if I would have enough courage to make the difficult decision that Nancy made. But on this day that marks the 38th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the story of Nancy and her baby Brian is certainly worth telling.