Friday, September 4, 2015

Dear Jillian

To My Daughter With Down Syndrome on Her Wedding Day

Paul Daugherty

Dear Jillian,

It is the afternoon of your wedding. June 27, 2015. In two hours, you will take the walk of a lifetime, a stroll made more memorable by what you’ve achieved to get to this day. I don’t know what the odds are of a woman born with Down syndrome marrying the love of her life. I only know you’ve beaten them.

You are upstairs now, making final preparations with your mom and bridesmaids. Your hair is coiled perfectly above your slender neck. Your bejeweled dress – “my bling," you called it – attracts every glimmer of late afternoon sunshine pouring through the window. Your makeup – that red lipstick! – somehow improves upon a beauty that has grown since the day you were born. Your smile is blooming and everlasting.

I am outside, beneath the window, staring up. We live for moments such as these, when hopes and dreams intersect at a sweet spot in time. When everything we’ve always imagined arrives and assumes a perfect clarity. Bliss is possible. I know this now, standing beneath that window.

I have everything and nothing to tell you. When you were born and for years afterward, I didn’t worry for what you’d achieve academically. Your mom and I would make that happen. We’d wield the law like a cudgel if we had to. We could make teachers teach you, and we knew you’d earn the respect of your peers.

What we couldn’t do was make other kids like you. Accept you, befriend you, stand with you in the vital social arena. We thought, What’s a kid’s life, if it isn’t filled with sleepovers and birthday parties and dates to the prom?

I worried about you then. I cried deep inside on the night when you were 12 and you came downstairs to declare, “I don’t have any friends."

We all wish the same things for our children. Health, happiness and a keen ability to engage and enjoy the world are not only the province of typical kids. Their pursuit is every child’s birthright. I worried about your pursuit, Jillian.

I shouldn’t have. You’re a natural when it comes to socializing. They called you The Mayor in elementary school, for your ability to engage everyone. You danced on the junior varsity dance team in high school. You spent four years attending college classes and made lifelong impressions on everyone you met.

Do you remember all the stuff they said you’d never do, Jills? You wouldn’t ride a two-wheeler or play sports. You wouldn’t go to college. You certainly wouldn’t get married. Now… look at you.

You’re the nicest person I know. Someone who is able to live a life of empathy and sympathy, and without agendas or guile, is someone we all want to know. It worked out for you, because of the person you are.

I would tell you to give your fiancé, Ryan, your whole heart, but that would be stating the obvious. I would tell you to be kind to him and gentle with him. But you do that already, with everyone you know. I would wish for you a lifetime of friendship and mutual respect, but you two have been together a decade already, so the respect and friendship already are apparent.

A decade ago, when a young man walked to our door wearing a suit and bearing a corsage made of cymbidium orchids said, “I’m here to take your daughter to the Homecoming, sir," every fear I ever had about your life being incomplete vanished.

Now, you and Ryan are taking a different walk together. It’s a new challenge, but it’s no more daunting for you than anyone else. Given who you are, it might be less so. Happiness comes easily to you. As does your ability to make happiness for others.

I see you now. The prep work has been done, the door swings open. My little girl, all in white, crossing the threshold of yet another conquered dream. I stand breathless and transfixed, utterly in the moment. "You look beautiful" is the best I can do.

Jillian thanks me. "I’ll always be your little girl" is what she says then.

"Yes, you will," I manage. Time to go, I say. We have a walk to make.
The loving father writes, "every fear I ever had about your life being incomplete vanished."

This beautiful letter springs from a beautiful parent's love for his beautiful daughter.

Don't tell me that Jillian's life hasn't been worth living.

That suggestion is incomprehensible to me.

For perspective, read: "Looking back: Jill Stanek exposed live birth abortions at Illinois hospital"

Jill Stanek is a well-known pro-life blogger and activist who first became active in the pro-life movement when she exposed the practice of live birth abortions, which she witnessed while working at her job as a nurse at an Illinois hospital.

Stanek was working as a Labor and Delivery nurse at Christ hospital in Oak Lawn, Illinois, when she witnessed babies being aborted alive. Despite its name and affiliation with two Christian churches, late-term abortions were performed at Christ hospital.

Stanek says:

I had been working for a year at Christ Hospital in Oak Lawn, Illinois, as a registered nurse in the Labor and Delivery Department, when I heard in report that we were aborting a second-trimester baby with Down’s syndrome. I was completely shocked. In fact, I had specifically chosen to work at Christ Hospital because it was a Christian hospital and not involved, so I thought, in abortion. It hurt so much that the very place these abortions were being committed was at a hospital named after my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ

She describes the procedure that was used for these late-term abortions:

But what was most distressing was to learn of the method Christ Hospital uses to abort, called induced labor abortion, now also known as “live birth abortion.” In this particular abortion procedure doctors do not attempt to kill the baby in the uterus. The goal is simply to prematurely deliver a baby who dies during the birth process or soon afterward.

These babies were then left to die unattended, or, in some cases, given to the mother to hold and comfort in their last moments. If a nurse had the time and was particularly compassionate, she could hold the dying child.

...Stanek describes a child with Down Syndrome who was aborted:

One night, a nursing co-worker was taking a Down’s syndrome baby who was aborted alive to our Soiled Utility Room because his parents did not want to hold him, and she did not have time to hold him. I could not bear the thought of this suffering child dying alone in a Soiled Utility Room, so I cradled and rocked him for the 45 minutes that he lived. He was between 21 and 22 weeks old, weighed about 1/2 pound, and was about 10 inches long. He was too weak to move very much, expending any energy he had trying to breathe. Toward the end he was so quiet that I could not tell if he was still alive. I held him up to the light to see through his chest wall whether his heart was still beating. After he was pronounced dead, we folded his little arms across his chest, wrapped him in a tiny shroud, and carried him to the hospital morgue where all of our dead patients are taken.

This child, who would never even be given a name, died because he did not measure up to his parent’s standards.
This baby with Down Syndrome was killed at Christ hospital in Oak Lawn, Illinois.

No soccer games, no homecoming dance, no wedding day for this person.

The CHOICE was made to not allow the child to live.

We call this barbaric act "women's health care"?

Compare this infant's suffering and horrific demise with the "bliss" experienced by Jillian's dad on her wedding day, the love Jillian's parents give to their daughter and the love she gives to her parents.

It's heartbreaking.

I'm glad Paul Daugherty's letter to his daughter has gone viral.

Maybe a mother planning to have her child killed will reconsider.

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