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Two days before Thanksgiving. What exactly does she have to be thankful for? Thirty-two year-old Sara Johnson thought as she reaches for the door…
Sara couldn’t believe what was happening to her. How could she be so careless? The one time she lets her guard down. She knew better, but after that particularly tough week she suffered through, she needed to relax. So she returned Michael’s call and accepted his invite for a cocktail. She wasn’t exactly looking for a relationship right now. She has been a partner for only a year and a half at the firm and really didn’t have time for a social life. Being her age, it was an accomplishment to make partner, but she wasn’t sure what requires more work – making partner or staying a partner. She was the only female at the firm and had to work twice as hard as the men to get the same respect. She won her case that week, but at the expense of little sleep and hours of preparation as she worked on her closing statement.
She figured a little night out with an acquaintance might do her some good. She never thought the night would end up with them in bed. The bartender was a little too liberal with the alcohol and she was a little too willing to accept. The conversation was pleasant, discussing the weather, sports, and some politics. One thing led to another, and now here she is, 2 months later, “a gal in trouble.”
She called Michael to inform him of her situation. He, of course, wanted nothing to do with it. He said he would support her decision, but not support her. And of course, he apologized for not being more sympathetic, but he had his job he had to worry about. There must be a lot of stress being a personal trainer. She made a mental note to change gyms.
As she walked down Main Street towards the clinic, she realized that she never really thought about whether abortion was right or wrong. She didn’t think she would have to decide either way. She likes kids alright, but with her job, she just didn’t expect to have any for quite a while. During the last few blocks before her destination, she took in the Thanksgiving decorations. It was 2 days before the holiday, and this is not exactly how she thought she would be spending her day off.
She was undecided, trying still to convince herself that this is what she needed to do. She can’t have a child now. Unmarried, with no family. The only child from a prominent family, she was given the opportunities to make a great life for herself. Her parents had passed on about 8 months ago in a car accident. She never had time to grieve and at this time she realizes how much she misses her mother. How she would love to be able to look to her for advice and guidance. But she is alone.
Two blocks from the clinic, a woman was standing on the corner handing out flyers. Sara took one to be polite and looked at it without really seeing. Then she stopped in her tracks. The flyer read “Scared? Alone? Not sure what to do? Call one of our counselors and they can help you make the decision that is best for you and your baby. You may be in a tough situation, but you have a gift that can bring joy to a family who would love to raise your child. And in the end, knowing that you gave happiness to someone else, will bring you happiness and peace of mind as well. Call us at 367-5433.”
She wasn’t the most religious person, but she couldn’t ignore the feeling of someone greater than her stepping in. She takes her hand off the clinic door and turns around to head home, not sure what to do exactly, but knows her first step will be to call the number.
Sara finds an OBGYN about 3 towns over that she feels comfortable with. She can’t go to the one in town because word gets around quick, even in a town this size. Everything has been going as scheduled with the baby. Michelle, the counselor she contacted from the flyer, was very helpful and encouraging. She helped Sara with all the details and answered her questions. She talks to her almost weekly. Sara decided to have the baby in Charlotte where the adoptive parents live. She will stay with them during the last 2 to 3 months of the pregnancy. She is fortunate to have the type of body frame that doesn’t show too much as she gains weight and the baby grows. She has put in to take a much needed vacation and it is normal for partners to take months at a time. She can do some side work if she wants as long as she stays dedicated to her firm. She hasn’t taken any time off since making partner, so her boss was glad when she finally put in her request.
The couple is about her age, maybe a year or two older, and are unable to have a child of their own. She updates them via email about her doctor visits. They don’t want to know the sex of the baby until it is born. So she lets the doctor know during the sonograms not to tell her either. She would hate for a reference to the baby’s gender to slip up in conversation. William and Meredith Coleman are wealthy but not spoiled. They are very down to earth despite their income. They were not born into money; they had to work for it, which accounts for their stable mind set. Sara is glad for this. She doesn’t want her child to be raised with a silver spoon in his or her mouth, not appreciating the rewards of an honest day’s work. They are very loving towards each other and are thrilled about the addition to their home.
Meredith finds a doctor for Sara to start seeing when she moves in with them. She will be staying in the nursery until the welcomed day. It is now 2 weeks before Sara is to fly to Charlotte. She is looking forward to the change of scenery and a break from the stress of work. She handed all of her cases to various partners so that no client slips between the cracks or is neglected. She can’t believe how much she has changed in the past 6 ˝ months. Not just physically, but emotionally and mentally. Sometimes it freaks her out to think that something is growing inside her. That she is carrying a brand new life inside her belly. She has had to change her diet and her lifestyle to be sure to keep herself healthy so that her baby will be healthy. She is constantly amazed at the fact that everything she does directly affects the baby. A close encounter with the realities of cause and effect. She has hired a college student from the law school to house sit for her as she is away. That should take care of everything here at home. She hasn’t heard anything from Michael except the signed document declaring that he is forfeiting his paternal rights to the child. She begins to pack.
Sara has settled into the Coleman’s house and has an official due date: June 17th. That is only 2 weeks away. The Coleman’s are a wonderful couple. They never fight, but do have an occasional disagreement, but they talk things through until a compromise is made. Sara can hardly believe how happy they are together. They are good Christians and are very supportive of each other. And they have been saints to her. This will be a good home for her child to be raised in. They have discussed just about all of the details surrounding the adoption, including keeping Sara updated with her child’s progress. Billy and Merry, as they prefer to be called, love the idea of keeping her in their lives, if even at a distance. They will never hide the fact that the child is adopted, but will wait until he or she is old enough to understand before disclosing the information. It will be the child’s choice whether or not to meet Sara, but it will be known that Sara loves him or her very much and that is why she had to give him or her up. She wanted the best for her child, a mother and a father who have time and want for a child. They will communicate via email or snail mail so that no conversations can be overheard on the phone. Everything is going as planned.
Jonathan William Coleman was born on schedule at 10:03am on June 17th. He was a healthy bouncing boy, weighing in at 6 lbs 6 oz. Sara was the first to hold him. He was beautiful. Bright eyes and a good amount of red hair. She never thought about it until now, as she looks lovingly at her son, how different he will look from the Coleman’s. He will question his heritage sooner than later, she feared. Billy and Merry were in the delivery room with her; Billy with his brown eyes and black hair, Merry with her sky blue eyes and golden blonde locks. Well, maybe they could pass him off as theirs, if needed. Some recessive gene that surfaced. Anyway, he was absolutely a miracle and she was thrilled to finally see the life that was forming inside her. Billy and Merry were a little apprehensive about whether Sara would change her mind and want to keep little Jonathan, but Sara knows it would be best for him to stay with them. She could never give him the life and opportunities that the Coleman’s could. Her gift to him was giving him to them. She kisses him on the forehead and then hands him to his new mother. The tears are plentiful.
In the next few years, Sara has received hundreds of letters and pictures of Jonathan. Even over the distance she feels like she is right there watching him grow up, from his first steps and his first words to his first day of school. He turns out to be a bright, inquisitive child, with his auburn red hair and shining green eyes. He is on the honor roll every year and seems to have a very compassionate heart. In her letters, Merry tells of how he is constantly helping others. Sometimes sacrificing his own toys to make another child happy. And never asking for the toy to be returned.
He looked so handsome in his football uniform. He was the starting quarterback in his seventh and eighth grade years, but was not your typical jock. He had a love of science that was invigorating to his teacher, Merry wrote. He was fascinated with the cells and biology.
The letters told of his first love, his first heart break. National Honor Society during his junior and senior years. He graduated Valedictorian and received numerous scholarships. He decided to attend medical school to become a doctor. Sara couldn’t be more proud of her son. Through the years, he never questioned his mom and dad about the stark differences in their appearances compared to his. He would only hint about how interesting it was that cells knew how to become blue eyes or green, how the genetic codes determine what a person will look like. Sara had mixed feelings about his not asking. She so wanted to be a part of his life as much as he was a part of hers. But they had agreed so long ago and she was not going against her decision. Maybe some day he will want to know.
Dr. Jonathan Coleman became the leading doctor on a research team searching for the cure for cancer. At the age of 26, he was one of the youngest doctors to make such headway in the medical field. His team of 8 other doctors worked constantly, researching medicines, herbs, foods, anything that might be able to stop cancer in its tracks without resorting to chemotherapy and radiation. He was a genius in his field, but couldn’t do it alone. Whenever he spoke about any medical findings, he would always be sure to say that the team’s findings were such and such. He never took full credit because he knew that it was a collective effort. He may be the leader, but he could learn just as much as the rest of the team. Merry couldn’t understand all the technical terms he would use when he would tell her of new breakthroughs, but she tried her best to remember the basic information so she could email her letter to Sara.
Sara looked forward to getting the emails weekly. She has about 5 more years before she plans to retire from the firm. She is the most prominent partner in the firm now. All the partners look to her for advice. She never thought her career would turn out so well. Her personal life was not much from the world’s point of view, but she was happy. During the months with the Coleman’s, Sara came to know Jesus and realized what true joy was. She is accomplished in her career, but in her heart is where her true success is. She never married, since she was married to her job. She had a few close friends, but the closest of these was Merry. They became like sisters over the years, sharing everything, including Jonathan.
On her 65th birthday, Sara began having some pains in her stomach. Spicy food never bothered her before, but then again, she is not 30 anymore. She takes a couple antacids and goes to bed. During the next few weeks, the pain gets worse and she is forced to go to the doctor. He asks her if she has any stress in her life. Not anymore since I retired, she tells him. He signs her up for some routine tests to be sure that it isn’t anything serious. Probably just an ulcer from her years of stressful work at the firm. She goes home and emails Merry to ask her to keep her in their prayers.
Two days later, Sara is at the hospital for some X-rays and an MRI. She thinks about Jonathan, wonders how his research is coming along. There hasn’t been much in Merry’s emails about that. More about how she and Billy are doing with their own retirement and how they wish Jonathan would find a nice girl to marry, but he seems to be just like his biological mother, a workaholic, a fighter for his cause. He still has not asked the question that they all now are wanting him to.
Sara sits in the doctor’s office and listens in disbelief to what he is telling her. At the same time that she is being told that she has cancer, Dr. Jonathan Coleman and his medical team are making an historical breakthrough with a new enzyme that literally rejuvenates the abnormal cancer cells to its natural healthy state.
Sara signs up for the experimental treatment without a second thought. She will be going to Charlotte to meet with a medical team that just might have discovered a cure for cancer. She is greeted at the airport by Billy and Merry. They have grown older, both approaching 70, but are still beautiful. They greet her with hugs and tears. She will be staying with them during her treatments. If Jonathan asks, they will probably say she is an old friend from college.
She settles into the same room she did 34 years ago. The crib is gone, replaced with a very comfortable futon. The wallpaper no longer boasts of animals and blue skies filled with clouds. Now it has the conservative paint of an office. It is as if the actual room itself matured with her son. As she prepares to go to bed, she prays for courage and peace of mind for the next day’s events.
She is admitted to the hospital where her son works. She will finally get to meet him in person, but will not be able to let him know who she is unless he asks. She doesn’t know what to expect from her emotions. She is more concerned about meeting him than she is about the deadly mass growing inside her belly. In the same belly that years ago brought forth a wonderful gift of life. She can see him standing outside, talking with Merry. He is so handsome! He has the same color hair as she did when she was his age. Hers now has a good amount of grey, but the auburn still shows through. And their eyes are the same bright green. As he walks in, he is looking at her chart and begins to say that he has been informed that she is an old friend of his parents, but then stops in mid-sentence as his gaze meets hers. The silence seemed to last forever. Finally he said what they all have been keeping secret for so long. “Hello Mother.” They all start to cry. It was a bitter-sweet reunion.
The treatments went well, and the enzyme was doing its job and Sara’s body was responding well to the results. The cancer was gone, but she would have to remain under strict supervision, going in for weekly blood tests, x-rays and MRIs to be sure the cancer didn’t come back. After 5 years of negative test results, they gave her a clean bill of health, but she would still need to come back every other month for lab work just to be sure. That would not be a problem at all for her. She would split her visit with the Colemans and her son. They were finally a big happy family that could spend time together, that could grow together.
At the ripe old age of 89, Sara Johnson passed away from natural causes. Her funeral was attended by Meredith Coleman, widow of the late William Coleman, who went home 2 years prior. Dr. Jonathan Coleman, with his wife and two children, William and Sara, were also there. It was a good service, one of laughter and tears. As they looked on while the casket was being lowered, they all knew one major fact. It was because of Dr. Coleman and his team that made the last 24 years of Sara’s life possible. It was because of them that millions of people have been given a second chance at life. Cancer was no longer a dreaded word. It was something that could be cured. He used his gift of life that Sara gave him to give life to others. And the world would be forever indebted to her for her sacrifice.
Two days before Thanksgiving. What exactly does she have to be thankful for? Thirty-two year-old Sara Johnson thought as she reaches for the door…and walks into the abortion clinic.