A Bereaved Parent’s Wish List

I wish my child hadn’t died. I wish I had my child back.

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 my child was important to you also.

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 have allowed me to share my grief. I thank you for both.

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

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 favourite topic of the day.

I know that you think of 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.

I wish you wouldn’t expect my grief to be over. The months/years 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.

I am working 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 my child is gone.

I wish you wouldn’t expect me “not to think about it” or “be happy”. Neither will happen for a very long time, so don’t frustrate yourself.

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.

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 as patient with me as I am with you.

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

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 So please excuse me when I’m quiet and withdrawn or irritable and cranky.

Your advice to “take it one day at a time” is excellent advice. However, a day is too much and too fast for me right now. I wish you could understand that I’m doing good to handle an hour at a time.

Please excuse me if I seem rude, it’s certainly not my intent. Sometimes the world around me goes too fast and I need to get off. When I walk away, I wish you would let me find a quiet place to spend time alone.

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

I wish my child hadn’t died. I wish I had my child back.


14 thoughts on “A Bereaved Parent’s Wish List

  1. Melissa

    This wish list is exactly how I have been feeling. My son died April 14,2006 he was only 10 years old. I feel so lonely and sad right now and this really explains how I am feeling on a daily basis.

  2. Melissa

    No it’s not right but my heart hurts so much and people literally ignore me at church and other places, I mean they might say how are you and I say alright but that is it. I have had close family members that have walked out of my life because they say they can’t deal with it. How selfish of them it makes me so anr when they say stuff like that. No one calls or comes by it is just really lonely for me and my husband. I wish I could explain it better it is just a huge hole in my heart. We are in therapy but they say we are doing fine but I don’t feel fine, I am so miserable.

  3. Melissa, I do understand what you’re saying. The same thing happened to us. It’s the worst time of your life, and people walk away, it makes no sense. This is the time you need those people the most.

    Grief is such a lonely thing. We suffered on our own for a long time. Then, I made a comment on this website and everything changed. It was like I had to give the people closest to me permission to be themselves. Maybe your family and friends need that permission too. They don’t know what to say because they don’t want to hurt you further, they don’t want to make you cry. Tell them you want them to be themselves and just be with you (if that’s what you want). Tell them you want to talk about your son, you might cry but it doesn’t matter, you need their support.

    It makes it difficult because they don’t know how you feel, only someone who has been the same thing will know that. Maybe you need a support group where you can listen to other parents’ stories, and then tell your own. There are online groups for this (I’m a member of one), but I think sometimes being in the company of other parents would be a lot better.

    Did your son take his own life? Do you think you would benefit from an online group? If so, I can give you a link so that you can join.

    My thoughts are with you, Melissa.

  4. Melissa

    No my son didn’t take his own life he passed away after what was suppose to be a cut and dry surgery. He woke up from the surgery fine played his game boy, ate icecream and talked but that night he went into cardiac arrest they brought him back but he was brain dead so we had to let him go. Saturday will be six months since his deaath and we still don’t have answers from his autopsy, we still really don’t know what happened to him. His name was Nicholas he was my first born and truly my best friend, we talked together everyday and we were so close he knew he could talk to me about anything and I would be honest with him. We were very open and honest with each other and I miss our conversations so much.
    I know alot or most of the people on here have lost their loved ones due to suicide but out of all the web sites I have visited this one really hit home. I do believe I am ready to look into some online support groups I’m more comfortable with a one on one basis than a group of people talking at once. I have never joined any groups beofre so this is new for me.

  5. I’m so sorry. I can’t imagine how shocking that must have been for you.

    Losing a child in any way just isn’t fair. It’s not the way it should be. We are meant to go before them. We are meant to watch them grow and prosper.

    When we lose them, it’s the lack of answers that makes everything worse, in my opinion. Questions plague you (day and night), but there’s no where to find the answers. There’s no relief. I find this to be tormenting. I think you would be the same.

    Barry and I were very close too so I understand that hole in your heart. Part of you died when you lost Nicholas. That’s how I feel over Barry, anyway. {{{hugs}}}

    The online support group I belong to is for parents of suiciders, but there are other grievance support groups to join too. I’ll post a few links later in case you want to check them out. I’m like you, I prefer one on one. Although it did help me to know there were other parents out there who suffered like me. Sometimes reading their words is depressing, but at other times they give me hope. I get the most from counselling though.

    Melissa, if you want to email me privately, you are more than welcome to do so. My email address is in the sidebar.

    Take care.

  6. Carol

    I am so sorry you have lost your sons, ths is not the way it should be. Its now almost 1 year since I lost my son, he’d just turned 29 27th Nov 2005 when he died. I do feel grateful I had him that long and so wish I had him longer. This is the first time I have checked for bereaved parents and found your site. It has helped to make me feel more normal about my greiving. The best words I felt said to me after my son died was from a woman who had lost two sons in two separate accidents. She said they don’t understand and you hope they never do. It made more sense of some really dumb comments which really weren’t meant to be hurtful. Some have given me photos they had of my son which gave me a little extra that I did not have before, this helped to. I cry every day for the future he should have had. Barry’s photos are great and he looks so happy, thank you for sharing them Karen.





    PLEASE SOMEONE HELP ME FIND AN ONLINE SUPPORT GROUP… (email address removed for security and privacy reasons)


  9. Carol, I treasure the photos that I’ve been given of Barry. It shows the full life he had away from home, as well as in it. I understand the lost future too, that’s the thing I’m struggling with at the moment. All the could have beens…it breaks my heart.

    Tina, I’m so sorry to hear about Ty. You pain is raw and you are probably still in shock. What you are feeling is normal. I will email a link to an online support group, but in case anyone else needs help here is the link:

    Parents Grieving Children of Suicide

    I belong to this online group. They are a friendly, supportive bunch of parents who will let you cry on their shoulder and will sometimes need to cry on yours.

  10. Tina

    i am soo sorry…i really dont know why ty did it…i only wish i knew..he seemed like a happy person…i only wish i knew..oh how i only wish i knew why….that would solve many problems at school…if we only knew…oh if we only knew…
    bye ty schale…i wont forget you….

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