The Best Day of My Life

Have you heard the hit song by the group, American Authors, The Best Day of My Life? This song makes me want to dance and sing every time I hear it. Instead of nestling in bed with my usual morning prayer, today I woke up with this song stuck in my head. “OO-o-o-o-o-o, today is gonna be the best day of my life!”

But you know what? I didn’t always wake up humming an upbeat tune, jumping out of my bed before the alarm went off, excited to greet the day. In fact, most of my life was spent doing exactly the opposite. I thought if I pulled the covers over my head and stayed in bed just a little while longer, maybe when I got up, my life wouldn’t be so bad. Oy!

It was almost eleven years ago, in the fall of 2003, that I found myself miscarrying an unexpected pregnancy, which in turn rocketed me back mentally to eleven years before that when I had chosen an abortion from my first pregnancy. Because of my Catholic upbringing, which was further intensified by my husband’s studies to become a Catholic Deacon, the repressed shame, fear, guilt, and regret within me imploded with this second pregnancy loss. At the time I was a mother to two young children, aged 4 and 6, working full-time, and overwhelmed with my life. Now I had two dead babies to grieve over. I was alive physically, but spiritually and energetically I was dead.

I believe I would have died after that loss if I did not have my two living children.

But I did have them and they needed me to take care of and protect them.

As much as I loved them, it was not inspired motivation that kept me going. It was more like a solid knowing such as one gets when you know you need a root canal and just have to suck it up and get it done. You’re positive in the knowledge that if you don’t take care of that tooth right now, life can only get worse. It was that kind of motivation.

And so I cracked opened the door to healing. It began with a Catholic retreat, Project Rachel and continued for many years afterwards with much more soul searching. My grandmother’s death in 2004, my embodied children’s sweet love, and finally surrendering to the Universe to teach me the rest, has brought me to a place today where not only am I alive, but I am joyfully so.

Last spring, my daughter was learning how to drive and we decided to go through the drive-through window at …”somewhere.” As she was rounding the first curve of the building, she took it too tightly and the whole back end of the car scraped the concrete post that protected the corner of the building from cars doing exactly what she was doing – cutting their car wheels too closely. Sadly for her, I was not only the only one in the car with her; so were her brothers and another friend.

We made it out of the drive-through holding our breath, and she stayed focused enough to do her best driving back to our house. It turned out when we got home and were brave enough to look at the car, the indentation was easily popped back into place, and the neon orange color from the pole was easily rubbed off the side of my car. In the end, it was a lesson not just for her, but for the other kids in the car who would soon be learning to drive as well. Her experience gave everyone an opportunity for growth.

That is how I now choose to look at my abortion – not as a mistake, but as an opportunity for something more. You see, I was miserable in my marriage, and in fact, was living most of my life even prior to that from a place of disconnection and numbness. Once I really came to terms with my life, I realized I had to make the losses in my life mean something. I wasn’t going to let them define me or my path, but just the opposite. I was determined to use those losses to learn, to be a better person. As with Uma Girish’s loss shared a few weeks ago, deep pain and despair can be a catalyst for incredible transformation.

I am happy to say that I am no longer in an oppressive marriage or doing a job that I despise. I am the writer and published author I always wanted to be. I am also a coach and advocate for women who have had abortions. Like my daughter’s “scraping of the pole at the drive-through” experience, I hope that I can bring awareness and learning for other women so that their experience with abortion does not have to be as debilitating as mine was. As the guy in the above video clip for my current “favorite” song dances with the monster, we too, can dance with our own gremlins and find the best day of our lives is right here and right now too.


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