As I reread it before forwarding it on to my friend it surprised me how spot on every single statement still is for me, even after almost 3 years, so I thought I'd share with you all as a reminder of what the loss of a child does to the parents left behind:
A Bereaved Parent’s Wish List
1. I wish my child hadn’t died. I wish I had them back.
2. I wish you wouldn’t be afraid to speak my child’s name. My child lived and was very important to me. I need to hear that they were important to you also.
3. If I cry and get emotional when you talk about my child, I wish you knew that it isn’t because you have hurt me. My child’s death is the cause of my tears. You have talked about my child and you allowed me to share my grief. I thank you for both.
4. Being a bereaved parent is not contagious, so I wish you wouldn’t shy away from me. I need you now more than ever.
5. I need diversions, so I do want to hear about you; but I also want you to hear about me. I might be sad and I might cry, but I wish you would let me talk about my child, my favorite topic of the day.
6. I know that you think of me and pray for me often. I also know that my child’s death pains you, too. I wish you would let me know these things through a phone call, a card or note, or a real big hug.
7. I wish you wouldn’t expect my grief to be over in six months. These first few months are traumatic for me, but I wish you could understand that my grief will never be over. I will suffer the death of my child until the day I die.
8. I am working very hard on my recovery, but I wish you could understand that I will never fully recover. I will always miss my child, and I will always grieve that she is dead.
9. I wish you wouldn’t expect me to “not think about it” or to “be happy.” Neither will happen for a long time, so don’t frustrate yourself.
10. I wish you understood how my life has shattered. I know it is miserable for you to be around me when I’m feeling miserable. Please be patient with me as I am with you.
11. When I say, “I’m doing okay,” I wish you could understand that I don’t “feel” okay and that I struggle daily.
12. I wish you knew that all of the grief reactions I’m having are very normal. Depression, anger, hopelessness, and overwhelming sadness are all to be expected. So, please excuse me when I’m quiet and withdrawn or irritable or cranky.
13. I wish you understood that grief changes people. When my child died, a big part of me died with them. I am not the same person I was before my child died and I will never be that person again.
14 . I wish very much that you could understand …understand my loss and my grief, my silence and my tears, my void and my pain. But, I pray daily that you will never understand.