An experienced woodworker is using his talents to help bring healing to women suffering after abortion. Tom Furtado spoke to the National Catholic Register recently about the motivation behind his ministry, More Than a Memory.
After he personally witnessed the profound difficulty his own mother experienced when a serious lung problem prevented her from physically mourning the death of her adult son, he thought of all the women who feel unable to grieve the loss of their children to abortion. These mothers have no tombstones to visit, and usually lack physical items to remember their children by.
“Their need and desire to grieve is every bit as real as that of any other parent who has lost a child,” Furtado told the Register. “Unlike other parents, however, they have none of the supports to help them through it. In fact, half of our society dismisses their grief as unnecessary.”
He resolved to use his gift of woodworking to create small wooden boxes, each topped by a small cross, though he will also use other religious symbols by request. The boxes are reminiscent of tiny caskets, a fitting reminder of the humanity of the preborn person. Furtado calls them “memory boxes,” and he hopes they help women acknowledge both the reality of their child’s existence and the value of their life.
“For the courageous women who honestly face the error of a past abortion, it is my hope that my boxes confirm what these women know, but never hear: they have a need to grieve — that their baby not only was, but is real,” he said. “Their past failure to express love for their child should not and does not prevent them from experiencing love for their babies now. Forgiveness is possible.”
Feedback from women who receive the boxes has been overwhelmingly positive.
“I have been blessed to come across Tom’s work recently. As a post abortive woman who now leads her own abortion recovery group at church, these little coffins have been essential in the necessary grieving for a parent who lost their baby due to abortion,” a woman named Dora, who runs an abortion recovery group, wrote on his Facebook page. “When the world tells us we cannot mourn or grieve our loss, Tom provided an outlet to allow us to do just that. The loss we carry in our hearts is very real. Just as any mother who lost her child mourns, we too mourn our babies. The only difference is that we don’t have a gravesite we can visit to do that. Tom has been used by the Lord to beautifully gift us a piece of His healing, by offering men and women a site to visit when they need to mourn/grieve. I’m thankful for Tom and all that he does. May God bless this ministry abundantly.”
According to the Register, the woodworker sends out as many as one hundred memory boxes each month, each one free of charge. Those who are interested in helping to fund this initiative can contribute here.
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