It's no surprise that I'm a bit emotional right now. Well there's a reason. In 1968 I met a remarkable young woman. She was only 3 years old. Her parents had been killed in a massive car wreck. I was in that damn body cast. I was 17 years old, And I was going to be 18 in December. And I was rolling by the babies ward where I was recovering. And suddenly I heard this little girl crying. I mean she was really crying. I just stopped. It was like felt something pulling my cart. And I wheeled into the babies ward. And there she was. I'll call her Jenny. That's the name I've given her. Only because I never thought it was fair to tell the real names of who they were. God knew them. And God was watching over them. I was merely His instrument.
So I wheeled in. And Jenny. Well, one look. It only took one single look. No one could look into her eyes without seeing EVERYTHING. She could barely talk. She had a cleft lip. So, that first day, I taught her how to say son of a gun, and heavens to Betsy. Jenny had her back broken in 3 places. And in those days all that she was in was a canvass harness. So she would go from incredible pain to suddenly laughing in a matter of seconds. And whenever she was in pain, I'd lean over on my back and reach up. and we'd hold hands. And I'd say, Hey kiddo. Remember. it's only temporary, right? And she'd smile.
Well, when I finally got out of the madhouse in April of 1969, I walked into that baby's ward. And for the first time, I held Jenny in my arms. My dad and I had tried three times to adopt her because she had no family. But because I was just 18, we just ran into one brick wall after another. And remember, Jenny couldn't talk, other than those two sentences that I taught her.
But when I walked into that ward for the first time and took, her in my arms. She whispered in my ear. She whispered something, that to this day, I carry with me, like a kind of compass. She said...
"Bickey (because of her cleft lip). Bickey, please... remember them..." And her head nodded at the other babies in the ward. The other little boys and girls. I promised her I would do that. No matter what. (Jenny didn't know how to talk. I had never taught her to say anything other than son of a gun and heaven's to Betsy. So when she said that to me. I knew, as sure as I know my own damn name. That it was God talking through her. No had taught her to say anything. But there she was, saying that one single thing to me. Something that no one had taught her. Something that for the rest of my life would be carved into my soul. Something that to this day, I know came through her from God.)
And I told her that I would be back the next week to see her. I told her to just hold on to that thought. That I'd be back...
Jenny died 3 days later as a result of the massive pain she lived with.
One of the reasons that went through 10 years of darkness where I tried to drink myself to death, like my mom and dad were doing all the time. Was because I felt that I had failed. That i couldn't save Jenny. In my heart, and in my soul, she was my first daughter. With my brilliant Leah, who now has a family of her own, being my second daughter.
Well, the truth of it is that one of the things that my darling Leen and I had in common was that we had both lost thee of our own children. My first was when I was in a marriage where my wife at the time miscarried. The second was in a marriage where my wife at the time wanted to terminate the pregnancy.
When she got pregnant she asked me what I wanted her to do. I told her that was not my job. That my job was to stand her, by her side, and do whatever she wanted. She said that she still wanted to know what I wanted. And I told her. Let's focus on what you want. That's the important thing right now. Let's get it done. Okay?
So we did. And I not only took her to clinic. I went into the operating room with her and held her hand all the way through the procedure. Three days latter, as she was recovering she asked me again. What did I want. I told her that I wanted the child. And she asked again why I had not told her that. I again said.
Look. I'm the husband. Okay. It's my job to put up and shut up and stand by your side and do whatever it is that you want. That's my job. She said but you wanted it. I said so what. I want a lot of things. But this isn't about a pony ride or a trip to the movies. This is about life. And you're carrying it. And it's my job to defend you and that life, no matter what it takes. And if you and God make a deal where you want to send that child back to God, I am not going to step between you and God on that deal. I'll do just what we did. Okay?
And my third, was another miscarriage. It doesn't matter that God made me as a man. God also gave me the best part of my sister, who died being absorbed into me. My sister, who I just know would have been remarkable. So while I might be a man, I have parts of my sister all through me. Physical stuff. So, over years, I finally got to a point where I accepted that God had given me part of my sister for a reason. And so I live as a woman. So what? I guess I could be worse.
In any event. Jenny died in April. And it was in January when we had been seeing each other for a few months. And when dad and I tried to adopt her so that she would not die alone. But she did. She died alone. No family. But between God and me. I was her family. And I thank God I met Jenny. Because one of the reasons I became a child advocate is because I promised her that I would look after the others... the other children.
I guess I have done sort of a clumsy job all of my life of getting through the forest. Always bumping into trees and always falling down. But as my darling Leen always would tell me. "you will never know how to stand up until you fall down. The more you fall down the better you get at standing up...".
So, I'm sorry for being like over emotional right now. It's just a sort of tough time of the year. But so what. God knows my soul. God knows my heart. And God knows that he can knock me down all he wants, because I'll always get back up. So I might be clumsy and misunderstood, and easy for people to laugh at and call me stupid. It's okay. Because I have met some of the most amazing people, and especially some of the most courageous and brave women in my live. Jenny was only 3. But to me. She was more. She was one of the bravest ladies I ever met. At least until I met my darling Leen.
When Leen was dying. she was scared one day. And she asked me what she would do on the other side. I told her...
Just find mom. Mom will be there. And so will Jenny. And so will your children. And then my darling you'll be home. Just keep the sash up... and the kettle on. Because I'll be not far behind. I'll be there... no matter what. And when God is done with me here, then you'll look out that window. And you'll see me, with no cane and not so crooked, walking over the hill ... whistling like I always do... coming home... Okay? And then it will all be jake right?
And Leen looked at me.... and simply said... "yes...Mickey, it'll be jake. I'll find mom. I'll start there..."
I know Leen has found my mom. I know she has. And I know she has found Jenny and her children too. I know because God is not such a tough guy. Because no matter what he always let's me know they are here with me. I feel them every single day. Mom, Jenny, my darling Leen, and all the other amazing children I have lost and watched die, or that I was not able to be fast enough or quick enough to help them. They are all here... every day...
I guess you might say, I'm just becoming an old emotional fool. But my answer is. Not so. Because if I was, then God would tell me so. And God never says that to me...
Forgive my sort of emotional rant here. I guess it's just a tougher day today. But so what. If the road is hard, all that means is that you feet have to hit the ground a bit stronger. And while my spine and hips are sort of trashed out. I have good strong legs. So I hit that ground no matter how hard the road... knowing that with every step I take... I am getting closer to finally reaching home... home to Mom, my darling Leen, Jenny... home to my real family. Not the one that life gave me. But the one that God gave me...
Thanks so much for listening....
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