THE SEVENTH CROSS

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JANICE REMINISCES

If Joline was a chip off the old block, it certainly wasn’t on her mom’s side. Where Janice was measured and responsible, albeit not at the age of seventeen, Joline was a free spirit. That bothered Janice in no small measure as Joline’s dad could be classified thus, back then, and still today. He had chosen not to be involved in Joline’s life, in fact, his parents didn’t even know they had a grandchild. How sad for them, thought Janice.

But even at her tender age when she bore Joline, she had been responsible enough to ensure that she had her then boyfriend’s medical history just in case the future proved unkind. Fine if he didn’t want to be part of their daughter’s life! But, if, or when I ever need you to step forward, you’d better be there!

She knew how she would have been in a similar circumstance. Absolutely nothing would have stopped her from finding her birth parent. Perhaps Joline wouldn’t care, but she doubted it.

Fortunately Janice’s parents didn’t probe too deeply, and agreed to back off and let her handle it her way. She was pretty sure they didn’t agree with her decision, after all, the father bore as much responsibility as she, but they went along with her decision. When she thought back to those formative years, she marvelled at the parents that she had once taken for granted. What incredible people they were. Thank you God for allowing me to be a part of such a wonderful family!

But there was always that feeling of guilt that she felt when she began to reminisce. Guilt over the sister that had chosen to walk away from the family some eighteen years ago. Oh, there had been a few letters on occasion; Christmas, Easter, Mom and Dads’s birthdays, for the first few years, and then nothing. As though she or the family were dead.

She remembered vividly when her mom and dad told Janice that she was going to have a sister, and the sister was just a couple of years older than her. Janice was ten at the time, and to have a twelve year old sister was a dream come true! But that dream lasted but six years, and then she was gone! It nearly killed all three of them. How does one walk away from the people who loved you so much?

Her parents tried their best to explain to Janice what had happened, but it rang hollow, at best. The truth was, they just didn’t know. She had seemed so happy here! But the truth lie somewhere in the early years of this child’s life; the life she led prior to be adopted into their family. This was the past they were never privy to. It nearly killed her parents, truth be known, and it severely altered Janice’s perception of the world. Why God? Why?

She had tried in vain to contact her sister but it was if she had disappeared off the face of the earth. And finally, Janice just gave up. But her parents were never the same, and she found that unforgivable!

But as her thoughts returned to Joline she couldn’t contain the smile that involuntarily spread across her face. What a character she was! Outgoing, bubbly, an absolute delight to be around! Tons of friends, kind of what she was like when she was her age, that is, until she became pregnant and everything changed. Please God, don’t let Joline follow my path!

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