Today is Bereaved Mother's Day. I was not aware there was such a thing until now. Although it might seem rather self-serving for me to mention it (as if I'm fishing for attention), that's not it at all. It's about awareness. Do you have any idea how many of us bereaved mothers there are? How many women have had a miscarriage, stillbirth, infant loss, child loss, teen loss, or adult child loss?
Please don't be turned off by my mention of it, as if it's something, either too morbid or too fearful to think about. Most of us walk around in complete oblivion--I used to!--until it happened. Just among my Facebook friends alone, there are a lot of us. For one of my friends I'm thinking of, it happened decades ago. For another friend, it was just a few months ago. No matter when it was, our loss became a definitive before and after point. It changed our lives. It changed us. Although the initial raw, ragged wound heals, we never get over it. A mother's heart scabs over, but never truly heals. We go on with our lives, but it's never the same.
So, why am I telling you this? Why bother you with it? Why ruin your Sunday with this kind of talk? It's because YOU CAN HELP. I bet you know a woman who's had a miscarriage. They say it happens in 1 of 4 pregnancies. And, you know at least one mother who's lost an adult child (me), but I bet you know more than just one bereaved mother. Think about who you know.
What can you do for a bereaved mother? Let's begin with not allowing it to be a taboo subject. Bereavement, loss, grief, death...these words should not be like 4-letter words we can't say in polite society. Sure, it might feel awkward. You might not know what to say. You might even say the wrong thing. Oh, I could tell you how I opened my mouth and inserted my foot years ago. I didn't know any better. She forgave me because she knew I didn't understand, but she knew I was TRYING. And, that's really enough. It's okay to accidentally say the wrong thing to a bereaved mom, because at least it shows you care enough to say something. Besides, it's not as if anyone can say something so brilliant and so inspired, it heals all our hurt. Likewise, no one can say anything more hurtful than what has already happened to us.
Allow us to talk as much—or as little—as we want. Allow us to be real. Allow us to change, and allow us the time it takes to figure out our new life and the new us. Understand that we're never going to "get over it."
Please say our child’s name. If you knew our child, share memories when they come to mind. The most important thing is not to let the memory of our child die. We are still our child’s mother, forever, whether our child is here or in heaven. And that’s why there is a Bereaved Mother’s Day.