Post by Still Standing Contributor Jess McCormack
The bereaved mother is a warrior. Each day she faces the world whilst carrying the greatest of pain.
Each day she lives while her child does not.
Each day she fights to stay standing as grief tries to tear her down.
The bereaved mother is a superhero.
She survives, she thrives, thanks to superpowers gifted to her by her little one who could not stay.
The bereaved mother sees things that others can’t see.
A fluttering butterfly, a feather on the breeze, a heart-shaped leaf, and the way the light dances.
Beauty catches her eye and sends a message to her soul from the one she loves but can no longer hold.
The bereaved mother’s vision is powerful, enhanced to capture these signs of love.
Though it may seem fuzzy at times, the memories blurry and hard to grasp, the bereaved mother’s memory is powerful.
When the time is right, when it is quiet enough, safe enough, she can recall in the most vivid detail those precious moments with her baby, of growing her baby, of saying goodbye to her baby.
Though she fears those memories are fading, they never truly will, for the bereaved mother’s memory is extraordinary.
Those moments are etched forever in her heart, and no amount of time can erase them.
The ability to disappear is both a protective power and a curse for the bereaved mother.
She can hide her grief beneath a cloak of invisibility.
When it’s too sore, too private, or simply too much, those who don’t already know won’t see her loss—unless they look closely at the sorrow ever-present in her eyes, or at the stoop of her shoulders as she carries the weight of her grief.
The bereaved mother has the power to hide her grief, and yet with that invisibility comes desperate loneliness as she longs to connect with someone who understands.
Someone who can tell her it won’t always feel like this.
Like many superheroes, she wears a mask.
Her mask looks impressive, but it hides so much of the pain.
It hides her sadness, her tear-streaked cheeks.
It hides her anger, which she feels is too ugly for most witnesses to bear.
The mask says to the world “I’m coping,” and the world applauds her courage.
But inside, the bereaved mother withers a little more with each accolade and wishes someone could see the broken mama inside.
The bereaved mother has a strength that defies words.
She stands tall, chin raised with stubborn determination, eyes bravely open wide to this world in which the worst thing imaginable has happened.
Through all her battles with grief, she carries her child so tenderly in her heart.
The love that emanates from the bereaved mother casts a light into the world that makes it infinitely more beautiful.
And that light, her imprint on our world, that is her greatest superpower.
It is what makes the bereaved mother a true superhero.