Tuesday, December 11, 2007

On The Bookshelf- Karen Santorum

During this season, while we contemplate the mystery of our Savior’s birth and ultimate death by crucifixion, keep in mind your friends and family that experience this painful connection of birth & death through the loss of a child to miscarriage, stillbirth or SIDS.

For a sensitive, honest description of this heartache check out “Letters to Gabriel” by Karen Santorum. Mother Theresa wrote the forward to this pro-life story. Gabriel Santorum was the son of Rick Santorum, the US Senator from Pennsylvania. While his father was fighting with President Clinton to ban the partial birth-abortion procedure, his mother realized that their fourth child was critical ill with defective kidneys. Gabriel Santorum received cutting-edge inter-utreo surgery, but ultimately died two hours after his birth. His mother’s letters to her son written throughout her pregnancy reflect the incredible grace she received from the Catholic sacraments. It’s a sad read of course, but a ultimately life affirming and uplifting.

Here’s a sampling of her heart-felt prose:
“Some people do not recognize the depth of a parent’s loss. They can’t imagine how such a small person whom a parent had so little time with could leave such a huge void. They want parents to quickly get over their child’s death and put it behind them. I find it so strange that at times it’s as if some people measure a parent’s pain on a graph according to what they think the intensity should be. And according to these people’s calculations, the grief experience with the loss of a twenty-week preemie is less than at forty weeks which is less than losing a six-month-old infant, and so on, and the older a child gets, the worse it is!

How outrageous. Because the truth is that the death of a child-no matter what age- is always a profound loss. My friend Nadine summed it up so perfectly. She said, “On a scale of 1-10 losing a child, at any age, is always a 10!”
Tuesday, December 10, 199 pgs 11-113.

One of the most important things that we can do to combat the culture of death and easy access towards abortions is to take the time to grieve the loss of the smallest members of our Catholic community.

This Advent season, take some time to say a prayer for someone who is hurting either a parent who is missing a child, a widow who is missing, or a child whose parent is stationed in Iraq.

2 comments:

Joshie said...

So true Abigail...we were just discussing in class the other day that women who have miscarriages (or abortions) often have a more difficult time in their grieving than they would with older children. The reason is that they have no tangible ways to remember the child- no attachment. There are no pictures, old clothes, blankets, beds, toys, etc... to help the grieving process. Also, they are what we could be called private griefs. If your 15 year old child days, the community descends and the whole ritual of the funeral and grieving occurs. It still is painful beyond anything someone who hasn't gone through it can imagine- but at least you get brought through the process. Not so with these private griefs- there is very little public recognition of your loss- and often no ceremonies of death to help the healing process move on.

BTW: My finals are going great and thanks for visiting and commenting on my site. I always enjoy your comments greatly!!!

Anne Marie said...

Thank you for this post. I just bought the book for a fellow parishioner who’s son just lost their first child at 6 months gestation.

Losing a pregnancy is like losing a whole lifetime with that child. You lose first steps, first day of kindergarten, you lose all of the joy and pain of raising that child. Joshie is right, it is a very private pain, and very few people understand or are even aware.

I can not imagine that pain coupled with the reality of having chosen to abort that pregnancy.

Women deserve better, and we as Christians need to speak out for life at every available opportunity.