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Charlottesville victim’s mother: ‘If I got to give her up, we’re going to make it count’

Hope amidst heartache: While delivering the eulogy for Heather Heyer, the young woman killed by a white supremecist protestor in Charlottesville, mother Susan Bro delivered an inspiring message.

“You never think you’re going to bury your child,” Bro told the crowd gathered at a Charlottesville theatre to remember Heyer, who was killed when a car smashed into a crowd of people protesting a white nationalist rally on Saturday. “My child’s famous Facebook post was: ‘If you’re not outraged, you’re not paying attention.’ She paid attention. She made a lot of us pay attention.”

Although Bro says she could have easily gone with a small, private funeral, she knew Heyer would want a public service under the circumstances—and so she did it, for her baby and for all of ours.

“They tried to kill my child to shut her up. Well, guess what? You just magnified her,” the mourning mother told the world.

In front of the massive crowd and television cameras, Bro remembered the daughter who was hard to raise (“because everything was a negotiation”) and filled with conviction. As Bro said, Heyer was compassionate—and always found a way to talk about injustices, even if it made for some uncomfortable family dinners.

She said Heyer would want to see more of us having the kind of hard conversations Heyer that started.

“I’m telling you, they were rough sometimes. But they were dialogues,” Bro said. “And the conversations have to happen. That’s the only way we’re going to carry Heather’s spark through.”

In the wake of her daughter’s death, Bro has received an outpouring of support from people who want to know what they can do. Her advice is simple: Don’t ignore it. Don’t look the other way. Hold yourself accountable.

“You poke that finger at yourself, like Heather would have done, and you make it happen. You take that extra step. You find a way to make a difference in the world.” said Bro.

“That’s how you’re going to make my child’s death worthwhile. I’d rather have my child, but, by golly, if I got to give her up, we’re going to make it count.”

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