Walking In Her Shoes.
This morning when I got to work, I noticed Jo was crying. This was not like her, I’d never seen her cry before, she was always professional, her emotions always - professional! She was neither sad or over-the-top-happy. She wiped her tears quickly and looked embarrassed, I’d arrived unusually an hour early, this just wasn’t like me to be this early and I’d clearly caught her off guard. Obviously, I was concerned, her face was red, her eyes too, her paper tissue in bits, my mind raced! Was she been bullied? Was her Husband having an affair? Was her cat Tiger ill? I had SO many questions in those few seconds, I had to know, but she has always been a confidential person, keeping all her cards close to her chest. But she knows that I too keep secrets and that I’m famous at work for saying nothing, to anyone!
I said to Jo, “Is there anything I can do to help?” With that she burst out crying, I gave her a moment, then she said, “No one can help,” That didn’t tell me anything, I was none the wiser. I reached for the box of tissues behind me and gave her the box, she took four out and blew her nose loudly, throwing that away she took out another and wiped her eyes, but tears still came down her sad face.
I asked Jo, “Do you want to talk?” I added, “I’ll keep it to myself, I won’t tell a soul.” She said, “My daughter Katlin, finished with her boyfriend, of five years after she found out he’d cheated on her and recently she found out she was pregnant, that in itself was amazing, as the doctors had always told her, that she’d never be able to have children!”
OK, I thought, I still don’t know why she was SO upset, so I said, “Are you upset because Katlin is pregnant?” Jo replied, “No, she is having the abortion 2pm today,” She was again in floods of tears. Then she said, “I always wanted to be a granny, and now I won’t be, I’ve pleaded with her to keep the baby, I said, to her, its not the little mites fault, but she keep on saying the same things, ‘It’s not a baby until it born, it’s my body, my choice’” I certainly had my views on abortion, but this wasn’t the time or the place.
Jo said, while drinking her black coffee, that Katlin said, “I don’t want the baby to remind me of Dave,” She carried on, “It was a messy separation, for they had lived together, and today she was going on her own, to have the abortion, she was informed, she should have someone with her for 24 hours after.”
“You need to be with her, so she is not alone today, she needs you, I will cover, go to her now, she may or may not change her mind about the abortion.” Jo’s face filled with hope and said, “Are you sure you will be OK on your own?” I said, “I’ll be OK, you go, you will get there by 11 o’clock, show her your support and love, she will be relieved to see you.” Professional Jo, out of character, hugged me and said, “I owe you one, I’ll text you later to let you know if she keeps the baby or not, thank you,” And left.
After she’d gone, I decided to put myself into her shoes, I felt very sad, at first, I couldn’t imagine what Jo must have felt like, but I let my mind wonder, the helplessness, not been able to let my stubborn daughter see sense, for I’ve known of women in the past who had abortions and was in the future unable to have another baby. They have lived with the regret and loss, I worked with a girl who had nightmares after she had her abortion. And a family member whose Mother forced her years ago when she was young, to have an abortion and that was it, she was unable to have a child! She would have made a great Mum. I too cried, thinking of it, I also felt fear, SO many people around the World would love to have a baby of their own, I wondered if Katlin had thought of adoption, but then I wouldn’t like to think of my grandchild somewhere, unhappy, abused, unloved…. Today had certainly opened my eyes, and put things in a different perspective, I felt a bit more sympathy, and thought of lovely Jo, usually I’d thought of just the Mum who was having the abortion, I’d not thought of the other family members before, their lives, who too would be affected for ever.
I didn’t fancy breakfast or Lunch, for as the time approached 2pm I wondered if Katlin had changed her mind when she saw her Mum, I hoped she would, I felt confident she would.
2pm came and went then at 3pm I had a text from Jo to say, “At 2pm Katlin had the abortion.” I was stunned, I thought of the little Soul leaving her body, with pain, I wondered what the baby would have grown up to do, the difference, the World would have been with this little One in it. Why had this troubled me SO much, there are thousands of aborted babies around the World, that took place today, but this one seemed more personal, because of Jo’s pain and I seeing her in the state she was in, this morning.
I hid from my other co-workers that I was sad, I just gave them my fake smile, today I needed to do this, I had thought, do I buy a card, or flowers for Jo or Katlin? No, neither, for its all a secret, I was grateful for the insight, we can all learn something new, I did today.
Suranne, RIP. x