Susan Bro, Heather Moyer’s Mum’s i/v with ABC compelling uncomfortable

Politics, hue, colour and creed should not matter. A mother grieves for her daughter in circumstances that are painful beyond cohering words into a sentence to make any sense, any sense at all.

Watching Susan Bro, I’m moved, like so many, by her words, her poise, a dignity that is resolute given the public knowledge of her loss, and perhaps how she may have heard the news. The agreement in the industry is that a name is not released to the public until the family have been told. I do wonder how she heard about her daughter. Social media has no such binding agreement. She is weary of politicians, and so she should be of journalists, whose intentions may not always be forthright.

That Bro should speak to a journalist at all is a testament to her constitution and courage. Grief is handled in a spectrum of different ways. When Michael Flocco lost his only son in incomprehensible circumstances — sudden, public via terrorism orchestrated in the skies, he shut himself away, ignoring the calls of national broadcasters and journalists. A lone videojournalist Travis Fox would be the only one he would eventually trust and the resulting film sees the father nearing self- destruction before redemption — a masterfully crafted film, its denouement comes six years after the first.

There is a masked awkwardness, tenderly handled by ABC News’ Robin Roberts, attempting that tightrope act of pursuing a conversation with Bro, whilst cognisant of the framework that guides her to do her job as a journalist. You see it. Gentle prods, and then woven into an obvious question about politician’s reaching out. Trump.

Bro’s response about her President is writ large. No other sound bite will compete for today’s primacy. Then with respect Roberts let’s Bro go.

In the profession, It’s one of the least palatable assignments euphemistically referred to as the ‘death knock’. In many cases, it can be about informing a family member of a tragedy. In others it’s a follow up on events to ask that perennial ‘crass-perceiving’ question: ‘How do you feel?”

I have had to ask the question several times, during my former career as a broadcast journalist, and the tightness in your stomach induces nausea. The mother of a boat disaster, a road victim, a young person who went to a night club and didn’t return. Not so long ago, I found myself gesturing with a head tilt to a relative. Words were of no use. The feeling was the same. The life of my aunt’s son had been cut short in an accident. My aunt grieved so deeply, within a year, she … passed.

Susan Bro, not by any design the Lord could assuage her, as the scriptures proclaim he works in mysterious ways, finds herself thrust in a very public spotlight.

She talks of the love from others, and how solace and comforting words read on her computer occupies het time with her husband. and her husband and and her husband’s time. Yet the focal light on news can be fleeting and what happens when the media’s interest, which may fuel social media interest diminishes. Bro has vowed to continue her daughter’s legacy with a foundation and some. As I listened to her I was reminded of the poignant advice of Brendan Cox, husband to Joe Cox MP whose life was cut short by an extremist.

Soon the spotlight moves elsewhere. Brendan advises to close friends and family of those grieving:

taking their dog for a walk, mowing their lawn, buying their groceries, cooking their food, just do very practical things that just take the pressure off, don’t wait to be asked.

It’s the very least that could be done too to support a mother whose daughter has given so much, the ultimate, in her relatively short life.

Top Writer & Creative Technologist, Int. Award Winner. Cinemajournalist. Cardiff Uni @jomec. PhD (Dublin). Visiting Prof UBC, Ex BBC/C4News. Apple profiled.

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