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United States


March for Life, II

alec vanderboom

Well, it's 9:30 PM the night before the March. I've got once kid down with a sore throat, a teething baby, an exhausted husband and a severe winter weather advisory. I'm still setting the alarm early in an attempt to make the parish bus deadline.

Just in case, my husband convinces me that dragging three young children out into sub-zero temperatures is not a good idea (it's a sign of a good eight year marriage that he didn't press his point tonight with a wife that has been waiting all month for this event) I still want to do my part. Here is my all-time favorite Pro-Life picture.

Father Jaffe officiates the funeral of Francisco Benjamin, July 2006

I don't know if you can see without enlarging this photo, but the incense burner is actually wider than my son's five-inch wooden coffin. (Our son died, from a miscarriage at 12 weeks and 6 days in utereo.) When this photo was taken, I sat numb and grief-stricken, gripping my crying husband's hand in the front pew. It hurt me that my son's coffin seemed so small. I noticed that the coffin was even smaller than the incense holder used to bless it. Then I noticed the reverent, holy way that Father swung the incense holder over the coffin in the shape of a cross. He performed the motions exactly the same as in a "regular" funeral. Watching Father Jaffe reverently bless my son with incense was the moment that I started experiencing true peace.

Size doesn't matter. Someday, my coffin will be at least six feet long, while my little son's body only needed six inches. The different lenghts are irrelevant. My son and I share equal dignity of the soul. The church recognizes this fact and treats all life (no matter how brief, no matter how long) with dignity and reverence. This is the picture which reminds me that my church and my God recognizes the unborn as "real children." Someday, I hope we will all join my "big" boy in heaven.