I’m nearly 40 years old, and I wept the other morning, reflecting upon how a volunteer, Michelle, held me in the NICU thirty-nine years ago and has never forgotten me.
We were blessed to meet one another a few years ago, but she surprised me this week by being in attendance at the Door of Hope Pregnancy Center event that I spoke at in Clinton, Missouri. I was just as ecstatic to see her again as I was the very first time we met.
Yet no matter how many times we see one another, I am equally moved to tears each time. I was starting to beat myself up a bit the other morning, giving myself a pep talk to essentially stop crying over something that I’ve wept over time and time again, to not weep over something that really is more beautiful than painful, but then I eased up.
Whether I’m 39 or 93, I will weep over both the joyous and moments of suffering in my life. It’s to be expected. And upon reflection, I realized in that moment that being remembered, not being forgotten or overlooked, is a universal want, a visceral need that we all share.
Michelle’s life and mine first became intertwined thirty-nine years ago, when she held me, just once, at the University of Iowa Hospital. I had been there in the NICU for a couple of months and I was being prepared to go home and join my adoptive family.
She held me just that once. She learned just a bit about who I was and what I had overcome. Yet she never forgot me. As I’ve shared before, in her words, “God seared the memory of your face into my brain.” She recognized me in baby pictures before I ever confirmed for her that I was that baby who had survived an abortion and was a patient at the NICU in Iowa City. I was remembered.
In a time where many would have soon rather forgotten me, in a world where children who are aborted are overlooked, where children who survive abortions are ignored and even silenced, she remembered me. I am humbled and grateful for this. I am likewise humbled and grateful for all the members of my biological family who never forgot me over the years, who remembered me in their hearts. I feel similarly about the thousands of individuals and groups that I’ve encountered since I started speaking publicly as a survivor many years ago. So many people now know the story of my survival. They share it. They remember me in their thoughts and prayers. I am not forgotten.
As we solemnly commemorate today, the National Day of Remembrance for Aborted Children, cosponsored by Citizens for a Pro-Life Society, Priests for Life and Pro-Life Action League, we are doing something important. We are doing the very thing that Michelle, the volunteer, who is now a nurse herself, did for me. We are remembering the children who have lost their lives to abortion. By visiting their burial places, the memorials of children who suffered the fate that was meant to me, we are showing that these children and what they suffered is not forgotten. It is not overlooked. They are remembered.
Just as I weep with both joy and sadness that I suffered in an abortion attempt but am alive and remembered, I weep, too, in knowing that my unborn brothers and sisters are remembered. I have made it my mission to share my life and live my life in a way that reflects back to them so that they are not forgotten. So that they are not overlooked. So that abortion will be ended.
And today, I will speak the words that they can not. “Thank you. Thank you for not forgetting us. Thank you for remembering us.”