Why should a woman (or man) who has been involved in an abortion make a Rachel’s Vineyard retreat? One reason is that, when there is a death, there is a need to grieve the loss of that person who is no longer in our lives. With every abortion, there is a death (sometimes, there are more than one death, as in the abortion of twins). Each of those little ones deserves to be grieved. We need to grieve the loss of that person — who we can no longer know in this life, but who we hope to meet in the next — precisely because that person in no longer in our lives.
When parents lose a child through a car accident or cancer, they are surrounded by family and friends who comfort them, who assist them in their grieving process. But abortion is different: it is a secret death. Sometimes the other people who know about the abortion were also involved in the “choice” — in fact, sometimes they were more involved than the mother of the child (think of parents who force or pressure their daughter to have an abortion). So they can’t really help very much. They might just tell us to “get over it.” Not very helpful! And we are afraid that if we tell our secret to other people, they might not accept us; they might actually reject us because of what we did. This is what Dr. Theresa Burke, the founder of Rachel’s Vineyard, calls a “forbidden grief.” She has a book about this phenomenon. She has also developed an effective solution to this forbidden grief: the Rachel’s Vineyard retreat process.
Why is Rachel’s Vineyard effective in helping us to work through forbidden or buried grief? Because it gives us a safe, confidential place where we can express that grief — where we are allowed to feel our grief and share it with other people who understand and are there to assist us in finding healing. A wise man once said: “True Friendship doubles the joys, and cuts the sorrows in half.” The Rachel’s Vineyard retreat team is made up of women and men who have been through the process themselves — some of them to grieve and heal from their own abortions, others because they have a heart of love and believe that God has called them to share that love with their sisters and brothers who are grieving the loss of children through abortion. They are there to “cut the sorrows in half,” by sharing in our grief, and providing us with a “family” which will support us in grieving, and in healing from the wounds of abortion.
If you, or someone you love, is hurting from abortion, please join us for a Rachel’s Vineyard retreat in the near future. More information in available on our website, including a listing of upcoming retreats in the Kentucky area, and the phone number and email address if you wish to contact us. May the Lord Jesus heal all of our hearts, and fill them with His Peace and Joy!