Part II of Two – find Part I here.
It’s hard to piece together the myriad intricacies of a life story. As told in the first part, Seta’s last son Hagop was completely unexpected and very nearly aborted. Thirty years after Hagop was born, we joined Seta and Hagop to hear the full story. Yet the account begins even before Hagop’s arrival.
Seta herself was an unexpected pregnancy. Her mother had already borne 12 children, only five of which were still alive. She had a two-year-old grandson when she became pregnant with Seta. To have a child younger than one’s own grandchild was shameful in that culture, and Seta’s mother decided on abortion… Seta recalls that her mother received a dream where God said to her, “if you touch this child in your womb, I will take away your son.” After three consecutive dreams like this, Seta’s mother chose to carry the pregnancy.
Ironically Hagop’s father was conceived in similar circumstances. His mother was working to support the family while her husband was ill. In their desperate financial situation, she felt unable to care for yet another child. She attempted to miscarry by taking abortion-inducing drugs and carrying huge weights – 100 kilograms at a time – up ladders. Yet months later, Hagop’s father was born.
So this is the legacy of Hagop and his predecessors: they are a series of lastborn survivors.
Hagop looks back on his childhood as one full of love from his parents and siblings. “I never felt unwanted, never felt like an outcast,” he recalls.
In fact, he didn’t find out about the tumult his existence first brought until much later. He was about twelve years old when his mother had a friend over for coffee. Seta talked about the sacrifices she and her husband had made for Hagop. This, together with the newly-acquired knowledge that he was nearly aborted astounded the young boy. Hagop was struck with the mere fact of his existence. “I remember falling on my face saying, why am I alive?”
Although Seta never regretted bringing Hagop into the world, she was eventually forced to confront her previous abortion. As she and her daughters delved deeper into the Bible and were brought to a fuller knowledge of how a pregnancy develops, Seta says she came to view her abortion with deep regret. She turned to Jesus for forgiveness and healing. “His blood has cleansed me from all my sins… By the word of God I can find rest and peace – and the turmoil ceases.”
The family eventually emigrated to Toronto. Hagop’s father died of cancer when Hagop was around 25. His father’s passing, coupled with other losses rocked the young man’s world, and he turned to heavy drugs for comfort. On a sure path to self-destruction, Hagop says Jesus reached down and gave him new life. “In prayer I would say, [Jesus] you saved me from the sword once, and I would most likely be dead if you didn’t save me from eternal death.” In Jesus, Hagop found peace and a new reason to live.
Today Seta and Hagop share a deep love for each other and a strong faith in God’s grace. They tell their story with joy.