This is a true story.
It is especially poignant today,
as today in Ireland it is “Mothers Day”.
A few years ago,
I was on a training course for a children s charity.
Towards the end of the course,
we were doing a night on loss.
The idea behind the night,
is that unless you deal with your own demons
you cannot help children deal with their difficulties.
We were all nervous about this night,
as we had been informed that our guest tutor,
was extremely experienced in this area,
and most people ended up in quite a state.
I attended that night,
like one going to a hypnotist,
I would not break.
The night was very interesting,
letting us know,
that loss is not just about bereavement.
Then after a few hours,
we all had to share.
It was then I heard the beginning of this tale.
One of the trainee volunteers,
was a girl of twenty.
We’ll call her “Dee”.
It was her turn to share.
She began to tell us all,
that her loss was,
Her youngest sister was 16.
She had come home a few months earlier,
and told her family she was pregnant.
She said her normally progressive,
easy going, caring mother, flipped.
Within two days,
with very little discussion,
her young sister was off to England,
for an abortion.
She had “lost” her niece!
“Dee”, was still furious.
She felt she had been robbed of her niece,
and that her sister,
had been pushed into doing something,
she would possibly regret all her life.
As she spoke it through,
she became so very very upset.
We could hear it in her voice,
The upset, the anger but above all,
I remember her saying over and over,
“I cant understand my mum and dad!”.
The whole group were gripped by her tale,
as abortion is illegal in Ireland,
so no one tells!
After that night her story stayed with me.
I thought of her often,
and all her family.
Anyone listening would have realized,
that her family were broken.
Fast forward two years.
I was on a train,
The train was full.
Eventually I found an empty seat,
it was beside “Dee”.
I had not seen her in the intervening years.
We began to talk,
then she brought up that night.
I asked her was the situation any better.
She then told me “part two”.
After the night on loss,
“Dee” said she could not move on.
The night had awoken feelings within her,
that she could not suppress.
Within days communication had broken down,
between her and her mum.
She would not and could not,
She began to make plans to move out.
Four nights after the course,
her mum and dad,
called her and her sister into the kitchen.
They sat them down,
and explained exactly why they had done what they did.
Thirty years previously,
when her mom was 16,
she was pregnant.
“Dees” dad was the father.
In Ireland in those days,
most people were sent,
to special homes,
to have their babies.
Within the community,
the story would be told
that they were visiting an aunt!
These girls were not allowed,
to keep their babies.
So her mum,
had been sent away for the duration of the pregnancy.
She was kept hidden,
her father visiting only once.
She eventually gave birth,
to a little boy.
She was allowed to be with him,
for just 6 weeks.
She described how the day came,
for her to give him away.
“Dee” at this stage got upset,
as she told me,
how her mum was given a present of clothes.
New clothes, not chosen by her,
to put on him,
to go to his new home.
She begged that the babies dad,
could be allowed to see him,
This was given a definite “No!”.
She washed him, dressed him,
and kissed him one last time.
Then she gave him away!
She explained to “Dee” and her sister,
that she had never recovered.
She thought of him almost every day.
When she had heard,
her daughter was pregnant at 16,
her reaction was illogical.
Her mum and dad accepted they had done wrong.
A lot more time should have gone into any decision.
“Dee” said that at last she began to understand.
And so to “part three”
She was on the train that day,
returning from a weekend away.
The purpose of the weekend,
was to meet her brother
for the first time.
He had two children,
She had two nephews!
After the confession to her girls,
her mum and dad had tracked him down,
and he had been very willing to meet them all.
She said it had been a wonderful weekend,
and there seemed to be an immediate connection.
I often think of “Dee”,
and her amazing story.
that I just happened to sit next to her that day,
so I got to hear the last chapter.
being Mothers Day,
I also think,
of all those “hidden” moms,
and the pain they must feel on this day!