I wear the uniform of grief. The blank stare. The vacant eyes. The mind at flight. The uniform of a weary solider. I have fought the battle alongside my comrades. Our leader is down. But we must march on. We march on without a guide. Wandering quietly in and out of a life induced fog. Waiting for the next command. But nothing comes. We are left to fight alone. Determine the course of action for ourselves. The dust settles. The survivors do not.

I wear the uniform of mother. My hands are gentle. And firm from the callouses of small permanent grips. I am fierce. I am a fighter. I am soft. I am love. I am loved. I wear a cape of joy and a crown of suspicion.

I wear the uniform of a survivor. I struggle. I win. I lose. I climb. I triumph. I persevere. I wear the uniform for those who have left their own behind. I pile weight on my back and I do not break. I walk and I drag and I pull myself up. I wear the uniform of the battered and healed.

I wear the uniform of caregiver. I am a daughter. A nurse. A lover. Gems of compassion hug my swollen, worn fingers. I am loving. I am empathy. I am trust. I am your warm blanket and milk and chocolate chip cookies on the first day of school.

I wear the uniform of the insomniac. The flight of ideas. The active mind clashing with the exhausted body. The angst. The lust for sleep that never quite reaches its destination.

I wear the uniform as a disguise. There is nothing underneath. The uniform is safe and comforting. The uniform hides the emptiness. The uniform hides the truth. And the grief bubbles through the cracks in the surface and the uniform starts to break. And the self is cracked and battered and broken. But I am alive and I am strong and I do not need a disguise to survive.