The Silent No More Awareness Campaign, which is co-sponsored by Anglicans for Life, works to make the public aware of the devastation abortion brings to women and men, physically, emotionally, and spiritually, as well as bring healing to those who are hurting and grieving either their abortion or their involvement in an abortion. Abortion hurts more than just mothers and fathers of aborted children—family members and friends also experience pain and regret. This is most particularly seen in the grandparents of aborted children, who have to go through their own kind of grieving and healing, whether they participated in the abortion or were informed after the procedure. With the sad commonality of abortion in our culture, there is little doubt that these grandparents are in our pews, in our churches, hurting silently. Kevin Burke, Co-Founder of Rachel’s Vineyard Ministries, shares some ways that you can help grandparents who are mourning their grandchildren lost to abortion.
Betty, a grandmother of an aborted child, shares:
When [my daughter] Karen told me she was pregnant, those were words I never expected to hear from my teenage daughter. I wondered, what had I done wrong. But I saw that we had a problem and we were going to fix it. I had money saved from my job and I kept Karen out of school one day and we went off to the abortion clinic… after it was over, we never talked about it. I totally blacked it out and I told Karen, we don’t have to think about it anymore.
This grandmother’s comment “we don’t have to think about it anymore” reflects the common practice of trying to obliterate this event from consciousness and memory. It points to the great temptation that abortion presents in the anxiety of an unplanned pregnancy: the abortion procedure will magically restore you to your pre-pregnancy state. You can turn the clock back like it never happened and get on with your life.
As Betty’s continues to share her story, years later she learns the price of this denial for her daughter Karen: I didn’t know about Karen’s nightmares and the alcohol and the suicidal thoughts.
Many grandparents are involved in abortion decisions. Some encourage or coerce their daughter or son to abort; others are powerless to prevent the loss or learn later of the death of their grandchild. Abortion creates toxic family secrets and facilitates a denial of reality that makes people emotionally and spiritually sick.
But the healing of this loss opens the door to individual and family recovery.
Here are some ideas to raise awareness and promote healing in your faith community:
– Visit the Shockwaves website and share the blogs, articles, and other information with friends and family.
– Set up a meeting with your minister/pastor or pastoral associate and share this blog and the information on the Shockwaves website. Share the value of affirming this family loss and the blessing that awareness and healing can bring to families and to the church.
– Look for speakers through the Silent No More Awareness Campaign, to share personal stories of abortion loss and recovery from the perspective of mothers, fathers, and grandparents, as part of your church service or as a separate event.
Sometimes it’s only when men and women become grandparents and are intimately involved in caring for their children that long-repressed abortion grief can surface. Grandparents, after they grieve and heal, can encourage reconciliation and healing for the whole family. Will we, the Church, be part of that healing process?
Written by Kevin Burke, co-founder of Rachel’s Vineyard Healing Ministries This piece was originally featured in Silent No More Awareness Campaign’s monthly e-letter to Silent No More leaders.