A Bereaved Parent’s Wish List

“Grief is like the ocean; it comes on waves ebbing and flowing. Sometimes the water is calm, and sometimes it is overwhelming. All we can do is learn to swim” *Vicki Harrison*

1. I wish my child had not died. I wish I had her still. Growing inside me and not yet ready to meet the world.

2. I wish you wouldn’t be afraid to speak my child’s name. She lived inside of me and was so very important to me. I need to hear that she was important to you as well.

3. If I cry and get emotional when you talk about my child, I wish you knew that it isn’t because you have made me sad. My child’s death is the reason behind my tears. You may have talked about my child, and you have allowed me to share my grief. I thank you for both as this pain is so deep.

4. I wish you wouldn’t think that just because my child did not even take one breath of air, that she was not even there. Because you could not see, but she was practicing inside of there.

5. Being a bereaved parent is not contagious, so I wish you wouldn’t shy away from me. I need you more than ever. Cant you see?

6. 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.

7. I know that my child’s death may pain you, but I wish you would let me know things through a phone call, a card or a note, or a real big hug. Feeling alone is the worst feeling of all.

8. I wish you wouldn’t expect my grief to be over in six months. These first 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 take my last breath and join her in heaven.

9. I am working very hard in 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.

10. I wish you wouldn’t expect me “not to think about it” that will not happen for a very long time so don’t frustrate yourself.

11. I don’t want to have a “pity party,” but I do wish you would let me grieve. I must hurt before I can heal.

12. I wish you understood how my life has shattered. I know it may be uncomfortable for you to be around me when I’m feeling down, but please be patient with me.

13. When I say, “I’m doing okay,” I wish you could understand that I don’t feel okay and that I struggle daily.

14. 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 and cranky.

15. Your advice to “take one day at a time” is excellent. I wish you could understand that I’m doing good to handle her at an hour at a time.

16. I wish you understood that grief changes people. When my child died, a big part of me died with her. I am not the same person I was before my child died, and I will never be that person again.

17. I wish you would not think that just because I have another child that is living with me still that I cannot be sad and mourn the loss of my other child.

18. 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 have to understand.



15 thoughts on “A Bereaved Parent’s Wish List

  1. Each one of these explains the way i feel since i lost my sweet angel. Its like the words were takin right outta my mouth. You explained it so well.

  2. I was in the Ambulance Service in London for over 20 years. I attended many cot deaths, some stillbirths, and numerous accidents resulting in fatalities to children. There is no greater anguish to behold than that of a mother who has lost her child. Regards from England, Pete.

  3. II felt all 14 of those statements just tugging away at me. I found help through a grief counsellor and made it through the worst parts in tact. It was so hard to be around people and feel them tiptoeing around me at all times, it was more painful still.

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