If this hadn't happened to me, I'm not sure I would believe it; it seems more like something an author would cook up to move the plot along. But it happened like this...
Last Tuesday I was attending an event at our parish, sponsored by the women's group, on handing our worries over to God. I hadn't originally planned to attend, but Husbandido talked me into it. (I was obligated to harass him about him thinking I was anxious.) It was the tail end of the two week wait, and we were leaving the next day to visit my parents. I had initially expected the trip to happen after we knew how the month had turned out, but a late peak meant that I was still waiting. There were three short sessions, with time for prayer/reflection/adoration in between them. During the second break, I headed to the washroom.
As I was leaving, I ran into Renee*. (Renee and I joined Pastoral Council at the same time, though she left after a few months as it wasn't a good fit for her. She is probably in her late 50s or early 60s and is a widow.) She asked how I was; I gave the honest answer that things were rough, as we were waiting to find out if what was expected to be our last month of trying had succeeded. Renee asked what Husbandido's thoughts were on adoption, and I explained that he was more positive about it than I am. I explained why I'm struggling with idea of adopting. She said that when they weren't able to have children her husband was unwilling to consider adoption. And then she said the most remarkable thing: "Don't end up like me."** She continued "Sure people ask about your work, but what most people want to talk about are families, yours and theirs." Renee told me that she is helping out her niece by babysitting a couple of mornings a week, which she loves. It was obvious that as busy as she is, as many friends as she has, she is lonely and wishes she had children and grandchildren of her own. Renee said she was praying for us, and our conversation ended shortly after that.
On Friday, events confirmed her words. We were at an art festival with my mother, and we ran into an artist she had purchased a painting from and become friendly with. After briefly discussing what new work the artist was doing, they switched to talking about their children. The artist was thrilled that her 32 year old son had finally gotten married, though she lamented her lack of grandchildren. My mother is usually very good about IF, but this time, right in front of me, she was commiserating with her friend about wanting more grandchildren and the challenges of one's children marrying later. "What most people want to talk about are families..."
"Don't end up like me." These words haunt me.
* Name changed
** Please note that I am in no way intending to suggest that everyone who remained childless feels this way; this is only one woman's heartfelt opinion.