Grateful for life, mothers and graduating daughters

Published 9:13 pm Wednesday, May 8, 2019

As we approach Mother’s Day and graduation ceremonies, I want to express my gratitude for my mother and my congratulations to my matriculating daughter.

But first, a question: Do you believe in demons, in demon possession?

I do. And when I look at the photo of a woman named Candice Diaz I don’t feel like I’m looking in the eyes of a human. No actor portrayal of a possessed person in a horror movie looks this unsettling.

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It’s the vacant yet darkly alive stare of murderers like Ted Bundy and Aileen Wuornos.

Diaz was 25 years old in December 2017, when she and her 28-year-old boyfriend Brad Fields tortured and killed her 4-year-old daughter Gabby. By contrast with her biological mother, little Gabby looked practically angelic. She was an innocent, unwanted, hated victim.

Diaz and Fields gave no direct answer for the motive behind their actions, but testimonies pointed to Fields’ desire to keep the child he fathered by Diaz and get rid of the “other one.”

In no direct connection to the case of Gabby, a person who identified herself as Laurel wrote the following last month on a website that encourages people to champion their own abortion experiences. 

“It was more than a year later before I stopped feeling guilty for terminating a pregnancy that I thought I wanted. But I know today, even more than I did then, that it was the right thing for me to do. After my abortion, my boyfriend and I split up and I’m so grateful that I don’t have to try to coparent a child with that person for the rest of our lives. He would have resented me if I kept the pregnancy, and he also would have resented our child. After the abortion, I accepted a better job … I’ve since been promoted and have started traveling with my parents. None of these things would be possible if I were a single parent with a small child in tow.”

Laurel’s reason for aborting her child was that she decided she didn’t want the pregnancy. Her stated reasons for being glad she had the abortion were: “I’m so grateful that I don’t have to try to coparent a child with that person” and that she would not have been able to get a better job, be promoted and start traveling with her parents — things she said would be impossible if she had a child.

For her part in torturing her daughter in ways resulting in dismemberment and worse, Diaz was sentenced to 30-60 years in prison. Fields was sentenced to life for felony murder, no chance of parole.

If Laurel had waited until her child was 4 years old before ending the child’s life, she would have been guilty of murder. If Diaz had killed her child while Gabby was still in the womb — in some places in the U.S., even for enough time to reconsider after the child has been delivered as a healthy infant — she would not have faced punishment. She and her choice would have been celebrated.

I have five children, ranging in age from 24 to 14. When I was first married in 1993, my wife and I wanted children, but not right away. However, two weeks shy of our first wedding anniversary, our first son was born. We were younger than that oldest son is now.

Would it have been easier to do some things without a small child in tow? Probably. Could we have done more “fun things” without a small child? Maybe. But I’ve never regretted any of it.

I understand that single mothers, even single fathers, have lots of struggles that I cannot relate to, having never been a single parent of small children. Their job is not easy.

But I cannot imagine having chosen to end the life of any of my children. The day I found out my wife was pregnant with our youngest daughter was the day we also found out she had lost a twin. I was elated at the news we would have another child and heartbroken that we had lost one.

God can change any heart. God can bring redemption into any situation, into any life with any past.

I don’t pretend to know someone else’s heart or motives unexpressed, nor can I understand the differentiation in someone’s mind about an entity becoming “human” only at the point when the parent decides.

Have you ever seen images of an abortion, or listened to a doctor or nurse describe the procedure? It doesn’t matter your politics, financial status, gender identity, spiritual beliefs or any other factor. Just facts. Can you show me an ardent supporter of abortion who is not grateful his/her mother did not choose abortion? God have mercy on those who take the lives of children. God have mercy on a society that allows, condones, promotes it.

Mother’s Day is Sunday. We will celebrate the mothers of my children, my wife and me and all others. My mother is an amazing, strong woman whom I am grateful to call my mom.

Tonight my 17-year-old daughter will graduate high school. She is one of the most intelligent, kindest, hardest working, encouraging, compassionate and beautiful young ladies I have ever known. I don’t say these things because she is my daughter, but because she is mine I say them both proudly and humbly, gratefully. I cannot imagine a world without her, or without her two brothers, her two sisters.

Thank you, Mom, for giving me life. Congratulations, Britain, on reaching a great milestone in yours. I love you both.

Brett Campbell can be reached at or 601-265-5307.