Today is International Bereaved Mother’s Day. Yeah, I didn’t know that was a thing either. In fact last year on International Bereaved Mother’s Day I was in Disney World telling my husband I was pregnant. Literally worlds away.
I only know of International Bereaved Mother’s Day because of Facebook groups I’m now a part of. The club I so unwillingly joined has many an experienced bereaved mum. Through reading the many posts, one thing is ultimately clear. All these mothers share in an agony of no one talking about their child. It seems universal that bereaved mothers experience a silence. A heartache from being denied the beautiful sound of hearing their child’s name. Why? All through a fear of making them sad, saying the wrong thing or reminding them of the pain. It’s been written so many times that I have read and for me it is so true. You cannot remind a bereaved mother of the pain. They carry it always. You can though remind them that you remember their child. I love the sound of hearing Lexi’s name. It was a beautiful name we chose expecting to hear hundreds of times a day.
Death today has almost been removed from societies view. It happens most often behind closed doors. In hospitals or homes. And when it happens outside of these settings a privacy screen is quickly erected around them. To save the dignity of the dying maybe? Or to protect us from the reality of death. We are desensitised to death. Television shows, films, songs all dramatising death so that when someone dies in a show we don’t even flinch. Death in real life is secret, closed away and still a taboo to talk of. But why? It’s a universal certainty. You are born and you will die. There is no escaping death. By hiding death away, we hide our ability to speak about it. I am not expecting or wanting to see people dying all over the streets, I am merely wanting people to speak more of the feelings and reality. My nearly 3 year old son, Luke, can speak so freely about his sister Lexi. When I went with him for a picnic the other day to Lexi’s grave he performed a show for her (Star Wars show to be precise that involves him marching about and shouting “DUN DUNNNNNNNNN DUN DUN DUN”) he offered her half his babybel and he talked to her continually whilst we were there. He loves his little sister and although he can’t see her and he understands she is dead, he wants her to be part of his life still, so he talks to her. He keeps the memory of her alive constantly. He is the one I can guarantee every day will say her name to me. He has no social cares. He parades around with no clothes on, asks the first thing that comes into his head, he has a beautiful charm of innocence. It does not pain him to talk of his little sister. He too rejoices in her name.
So on International Bereaved Mother’s Day, if you know someone who has lost their child at any point; pregnancy, infancy, childhood or even as an adult, why not give them the gift of hearing their child’s name. Be honest with them, tell them if you are worried of making them sad by the mention of their name. Let them know they aren’t alone in remembering their precious child. Be like Luke, forget societies norms and speak from your heart.
For all the mummy’s of angels I have met, spoken with and grieved with over the last 20 weeks, today I am thinking of all of you. Especially Willow’s mummy. The most amazing lady who despite her own grief finds the words to help hold me up. I am so lucky to have you in my life.