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I've spent 30 years preparing to write this story. Thirty years of shame I kept hidden away, too afraid to let anyone know. Thirty years of guilt that I ended my child's life and lied to my family to hide that guilt and shame.
I was a college freshman, away from my Catholic home for the first time and "in love" for the first time. He was a Catholic too and I imagined we would be together forever. Thirty years of having no contact with him now and hoping he has healed better than I.
Immediately after my abortion I stopped attending Mass; an incredible hurt for I loved the Church and my faith and had attended daily Mass when my classes allowed. I knew I had done something horrible, I believed unforgivable. I lied to my family, saying I no longer believed. When my college roommates or my family left for Mass I would cry alone, then pray the Rosary and run through Mass in my head.
Eventually I married a Catholic man and eventually I began to attend Mass with him. The sweetness of that first Mass after so long! I had also told my husband I doubted Church teachings so he has never questioned why I absent myself from receiving Communion. Thirty years spent longing to approach Him at the Table.
My husband goes regularly to Reconciliation. I go to the church with him and pray while I wait. I imagine what it would be like to receive the sacrament once again and I imagine what I would say. The prospect sounds both sweet and scary. I long to hear the words of absolution spoken to me again. Thirty years spent searching for healing.
I've recently anonymously asked for some direction in reconciling myself with the Church. I received kind and compassionate and encouraging responses. It's time. I'm working on finding the courage to approach God through the sacrament of Reconciliation, ask for and humbly accept the forgivness I've recently realized He's been waiting to offer me. I know I have other work to do as well if I want to heal the years of hurt. Thirty years too long, but not thirty years too late.