I grew up reading and hearing tales of bravery, of one person risking their life for another, of people standing for their convictions and dying because of it.
The first time I read The Hiding Place, a book about Corrie Ten Boom and her family's commitment to hide Jews from the Nazis, I cried and cried.
It cost them everything to do the one thing God had called them to do.
As the years rolled by, I learned of personal stories of rushing into burning buildings to save children and of others standing between violence and its intended victim.
All of these people were brave. All of them put aside fear of their own safety to do the right thing.
But I am here to tell you, some of the bravest people I know are mamas who have buried a child.
It's one thing to act in an instant -- when adrenaline rushes through your veins and pumps extraordinary strength to your muscles and grants clarity to your mind to gather all your nerve and power to jump in and DO SOMETHING.
It is quite another when, without aid of chemical courage, you wake each day to a long list of "to do" items knowing all the while you will be dragging the heavy weight of grief and sorrow everywhere you go.
Brave is the mama that still participates in her surviving children's birthdays and school plays and graduations and weddings -- all the while marking in her heart the child that IS NOT THERE.
Brave is the mama who gets up, gets dressed and walks out the door to work. The one who manages to lay aside the overwhelming grief load and still get the job done.
Brave is the mama who boxes up what's left of her child's belongings, the things that speak of who he was and who he was going to be and lays them aside for another day, when the pain might be less and she can look at them again.
Brave is the mama with the broken heart who keeps on keeping on -- who shows up to church, who goes shopping, who cleans her house, who refuses to give in to the cloud of doom that threatens to undo her.
And the very bravest thing about these mamas is that they know, THEY KNOW, that this side of heaven, there will be no relief, there will be no respite and they have no idea how close they are to the finish line.
These brokenhearted warriors are committed to continue to love the child they lost and those around them by bravely facing each day as it comes, giving the best they have to give, and persevering until the end.
This post is part of CommonGrief, a Healthy Living editorial initiative. Grief is an inevitable part of life, but that doesn't make navigating it any easier. The deep sorrow that accompanies the death of a loved one, the end of a marriage or even moving far away from home, is real. But while grief is universal, we all grieve differently. So we started Common Grief to help learn from each other. Let's talk about living with loss. If you have a story you'd like to share, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.