"Big Four" Highlights


 

‘Anne Among Us’

A father reflects on miscarriage

By Jason Godin
Associate Editor, Fathers for Good

Absence doesn’t always make the heart grow fonder. The death of our loved ones, and the grief, unbelief and pain that may follow in its dark wake can turn the heart bitter. When such parting involves a child who never got to see the world, it may lead to ultimate questions and even loss of faith.

Rob Guinan and his wife, Sharon, questioned but they kept the faith. In Anne Among Us, Guinan talks about the pregnancy and miscarriage of his daughter. He speaks as a husband, father and pro-life advocate who had his deepest beliefs put to the test. He shares his fears on first hearing the news as well as his struggles to forgive himself for what he felt, all the while never forgetting the difficult yet redeeming events of 14 years ago. Realizing that it takes grace to accept the crosses of life, Guinan reflects on how the miscarriage afforded him an opportunity to learn lessons from the Lord.

Rob and Sharon Guinan

Guinan, 57, lives with his wife and their three other children outside of Greenville, South Carolina. He spoke with Fathers for Good via email about his book.

Fathers for Good: What makes a book that reflects on a miscarriage so profoundly pro-life?

Rob Guinan: Anne’s presence was confirmed through the reality of a gray plastic test strip and a second-week heartbeat, according to the doctors. She was center-stage in this story from the outset. She had an identity from the beginning. When we talk about the miscarriage of a “known” child, the focus then moves well beyond the oversimplification of a “reproductive rights” argument or the fiction of “the child was never there” and instead to the “personhood” of this child. Hearing the story from a father’s perspective, my wife insisted, better introduces the broader reality of “family.” Three, not one!

FFG: You dedicate the book to little Anne and Sharon, your wife. How did the pregnancy with Anne help you understand Sharon’s physical and emotional needs?

Guinan: Since this was our fourth child, we had already been through the physical and emotional ups and downs of pregnancy. What was different this time were the circumstances. We were both scared. I was not entirely supportive of Sharon at first. I suggested we both take some private time “on parallel tracks” to find ourselves. I think that in crisis one can get carried along with another’s perspective and not gain that one to “One” time. I suggested she meet with the director (friend) at the Crisis Pregnancy Center. I then went to speak with a trusted priest. This proved to be very helpful. Soon we were up and ready.

FFG: Discuss the roles that fathers – both your biological father and priests – played in helping you cope with Anne’s death.

Guinan: The more I come to love the Mass – how it is both in-time and in all-time – I feel less troubled by death or “mortal moments.” It is most certainly through the Mass that I am closest to Anne. This is my Easter hope. Our priest reverently offered the Mass, and he was always there for our family. When my father was in his final moments at the hospital, our priest came through a huge blizzard to give him his final sacraments. That spoke volumes to us about the priesthood and the life to come. I live with the strong hope that I will be with my father and Anne again.

FFG: Over 14 years later, what is the single greatest lesson that Anne shares with all of us?

Guinan: Even the shortest of lives have meaning and purpose. Though she lived a very short time, Anne’s life had meaning, and I would even say accomplishments. I lost sight of this and needed to be reminded. And though this period was short, Anne and the Catholic faith remind me that with God, relationships are meant to be forever.

Anne Among Us is available both as an e-book and in paperback. Contact Quaker Lane Crossing for more information.