You told me one night.
Though Easter had come and gone, I saw the fast of Lent alive in your eyes. Yes, even now you keep a pious vigil, twenty years of Tenebrae, still afraid of the strepitus.
You all but cover your ears.
“I had a miscarriage in between the boys. They told me the baby was dead, so I went in for a D&C.”
It happened a generation ago, but you still can’t look at me. You shake your head.
“I couldn’t sleep for weeks. I was afraid. What if I had- ”
You stop. You are a grandma, a happy grandma, but your second child’s Good Friday still haunts you. It is not finished for you. Not yet.
“I went to the hospital and made them show me the records.”
I suck in my breath. This is not grief over death as I had thought. This is something different. This is fear. Over murder.
“I had to know that the baby was really dead before, you know…”
I did know, though I had never considered it. Of course. It is the same procedure, the same legal procedure whether dead or alive.
“The records said she was dead before the D&C.”
I feel relief. Then sudden guilt. Then relief again. She miscarried not murdered.
I catch myself in the considering, and my anger is immediate. Burning hot.
This is the sick world in which we live: A mother cannot merely grieve the death of her miscarried child. She cannot simply undergo a procedure and trust that it is reserved for mothers who want their babies but have lost them. She now has to question, has to fear the hostile world that willingly, profitably D&Cs babies to death, and wonder whether or not her procedure of healing medicine was really healing or not.
This is a cruel cruelty.