The man just wanted to talk. The long string attached to two tin cans was never long enough. His necessity became the mother of his invention. Alexander Graham Bell figured out a way to project a human voice over an electrical wire. His 1876 invention of the telephone revolutionized the world of communications. A century later, optical fibers replaced the electrical wires. Today, cell phones allow people to talk without wires or even fibers.
The advance of the cell phone has been nothing short of amazing. In 2013, it was estimated that more of the world’s people have access to cell phones than to working toilets. It was also estimated that by this year, the number of cell phones would exceed the world’s population. This means, perhaps, that if you can find a working toilet, you should be able to reach out to someone, somewhere. But for all their range and convenience, cell phones can be mighty frustrating for people near them. They become unintentional listeners to one-sided conversations. They hear one party talk but cannot hear the other party respond.
I can feel you in there. I’ve got twice the appetite and half the energy. It breaks my heart that I don’t feel the enchantment that I’m supposed to feel. I am both sorry and not sorry.
I am sorry that this is goodbye. I’m sad that I’ll never get to meet you. You could have your father’s eyes and my nose and we could make our own traditions, be a family. But, Little Thing, we will meet again. I promise that the next time I see that little blue plus, the next time you are in the same reality as me, I will be ready for you.
Little Thing, I want you to be happy. More than I want good things for myself, I want the best things for the future. That’s why I can’t be your mother right now. I am still growing myself. It wouldn’t be fair to bring a new life into a world where I am still haunted by ghosts of the life I’ve lived. I want you to have all the things I didn’t have when I was a child. I want you to be better than I ever was and more magnificent than I ever could be. I can’t do to you what was done to me: Plant a seed made of love and spontaneity into a garden, and hope that it will grow on only dreams. Love and spontaneity are beautiful, but they have little merit. And while I have plenty of dreams to go around, dreams are not an effective enough tool for you to build a better tomorrow. I can’t bring you here. Not like this.
I Love you, Little Thing, and I wish the circumstances were different. I promise I will see you again, and next time, you can call me Mom.
Though described as “beautiful,” the letter is incomplete. The mom shares her feelings but not the specifics of what produced them. Is she married or single, young or old? What are her past or current problems? And how old is the unborn baby? Without knowing the details, it becomes difficult to show her that there is a better way than abortion. Sadly, she may not want to know. Worse than incomplete, the letter is frustrating. We never get to hear a response to what is was said. It’s like the one-way cell phone conversation. With the unborn, our culture wants it that way. No talking allowed. No last words. It cannot remain that way:
My heart aches over what you have told me. It is breaking apart. Everything has changed, and I don’t understand why. You allowed me to enter into your life, and now you are throwing me away. Did I hurt you that you would do this to me? I am so afraid. I would rather suddenly die right now than be ripped into pieces, for I do know what your “goodbye” means.
You call me “Little Thing,” and I know that I am little. But I am not a “thing.” I am a real human being. My life began when you and dad came together. When you were as young as me, we looked alike! Everything I need to grow up like you and dad is in me right now. I just need the chance. You say that you are growing yourself. If you let me, we can grow up together. We can be there for each other. We may not be perfect, but we can find happiness.
Mom, you say that you love me and want the best for me, but that’s the part I really don’t understand. Do people kill the ones they love? Is my death what is best for me? I know you want me to have no broken dreams and a life better than yours. I don’t need those things. God has made me a unique person, and with my mind and will I will find my way. You can tell me your story as I am making mine. The best for me, Mom, is that you don’t leave me to die. I know you are afraid. But God gave me to you. That means He trusts in you. Please trust in Him. If you are not ready now, Mom, can you give me a few months that we may say goodbye face to face? I know that many people would love to have a child, and you will be a hero to them. And to me. Forever. That will be the greatest love you can show for me.
You talk about the future, Mom, but if God blesses you again with a little blue plus, it won’t be me. I will have been killed. You cannot guarantee to see me again. I might only be a bad memory of what might have been. I might be your only child. God is in control, not you or me.
My life is in your hands; I have no choice. But where there is life, there is hope. For us both.
Some words must be heard. Some voices must not be stilled.
Paul V. Esposito is a Catholic lawyer who writes on a variety of pro-life topics. He and his wife Kathy live in Elmhurst, Illinois and have six children.