Once, a Polish friend of mine shared a well-known proverb with me, "Friends are the like the stars. You can't see them, but they are there." Today, I would like to give thanks for staying in touch with fellow survivors of aborted siblings who I met through Lumina’s “Entering Canaan” retreat. They tend to appear and reappear in my life in times of need, despite the many miles that separate us from each other and the years that pass. Were it not for my sibling retreat I would have never known these friends in Christ who share so much of what I have experienced as a sibling.
Perhaps, I have fancied that it is because I lost numerous siblings to abortion that the gracious ladies have reached out to me with their friendship. We call, message, and visit each other when possible, and certainly we pray for each other. Amazingly, it has been more than five years, I believe, since that prayerful day retreat at which I met them. God can surely work beyond the usual boundaries of time!
In case the term may be unfamiliar, a "sibling survivor" refers to one who lost a sibling through abortion. Since I have stayed in touch with four other sibling survivors, I imagine that this corresponds to the four siblings that I lost through abortion. I wonder if the four siblings that I lost were four girls...or were they two boys and two girls? or were they three girls and one boy? (I always thought one of them was an older brother.) Anyhow, guess I will never know for sure in this life. What I do know is that on this pilgrim journey, friends offer comfort and delight.
Among friends, one friendship with a girl named Renee on the West coast has been such a blessing. She has such a big heart and so many creative gifts and a keen sensitivity for the needs of others whose unborn babies have died. She has taught me to stay conscious of the world beyond the one in which we live. Every time I talk to her, I feel that God and the afterlife are close. I give thanks for that friendship.
I am a friend to another sibling survivor, also out West, who has two kids. She came to visit me on the East Coast not too long ago, and enhanced my awareness of monastic communities such as the Emmanuel community and more. My appreciation for the treasures of my Catholic faith has grown for knowing her.
With yet another sibling survivor, I like to talk to on the phone because she is such a straight-talking woman with lots of horse-sense, not to mention, she makes me laugh often with her wry sense of humor! She is engaged in a ministry helping married couples out in the mid-West.
What colorful and grace-filled people to know!
If you have been considering a sibling retreat, you are sure to find kindred spirits who share your sense of loss and wondering. Still the adage applies, to make a friend, be a friend. You never know who among your fellow survivors (or anyone else) needs to hear a kind word or get a friendly call from you which will act like a balm for the aching soul. The reality of sibling loss is all too undeniable, but, through little acts of charity between survivors, we can all have a healing impact on each other as siblings in the larger family of Christ.
What do you think? What is the best thing that could possibly happen from your encounter with a sibling survivor?
Written by I.M.