Wish List

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A couple weeks ago we received a letter in the mail from one of the social workers we met while in Iowa City. She sent a nice message along with a couple documents on grieving. One of the documents was entitled: A Bereaved Parent’s Wish List. As I read through the list, I felt like each item hit close to home. I honestly have experienced each “wish” at one time or another. I hope it is appropriate to share these things with those who still read my blog and who would perhaps appreciate an honest and personal look into my “bereavement”.

A Bereaved Parent’s Wish List
(I have highlighted in bold the feelings I have most often)

1. I wish my child hadn’t died. I wish I had him 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 he 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 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.
4. Being a bereaved parent is not contagious, so I wish you wouldn’t shy away from me. I need you 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 and pray for me often. I also know that my child’s death pains you, too. I wish you would let me know things through a phone call, a card or a note, or a real big hug.
7. 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 die.
8. 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 he is dead.
9. I wish you wouldn’t expect me “not to think about it” or to “be happy”. Neither will happen for a very long time so don’t frustrate yourself.
10. 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.
11. 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.
12. When I say, “I’m doing okay,” I wish you could understand that I don’t feel okay and that I struggle daily.
13. 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.
14. Your advice to “take one day at a time” is excellent. However, a day is too much and too fast for me right now. I wish you could understand that it is an accomplishment sometimes to handle an hour at a time.
15. Please excuse me if I seem rude, 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.
16. I wish you understood that grief changes people. When my child died, a big part of me died with him. I am not the same person I was before my child died, and I will never be that person again.
17. 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.

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11 responses »

  1. You are incredible. We love you all so very much, thank you for sharing this beautiful thoughtful list wish us. I am so grateful you are so open with your little Jack. We will always love him even if he is in another place at this time. We will all be together again, and we know how it is possible, and our Savior will come again.

    What a awesome support we have with the gospel of Jesus Christ.

    love you bunches.

  2. Thanks for putting the wish list up, it was so insightful to get a peak into some of the things you wish for and how others can help you with your grief. Sometimes I can be so awkward and not know what to say so this list helps. I want you to know that I do love Jack and know that I want very badly to see him again one day, he is a special nephew to me. I hope as time goes on I can always honor his memory and remember the wish list when I communicate with you. Love you sis.

    Tyler

  3. that’s so fantastic – thank you SO much posting that. I think I’ve told you before that I know people are scared and don’t know what to say / do. This list leaves us all no excuses. We know exactly what you need!

  4. This list is so true, I wonder why everyone (myself included) always has such a hard time doing the things it says. When I was in high school, mt biology teachers Mother died. After he came back from a short greiving break, I felt so awkward. I had no idea what to say to him. I didn’t want to say anything to remind him of how sad it was his mother had died. He taught us a fantastic lesson that day though. He said that he knew we didn’t want to say things that might remind him of her, or of the pain, but that we were wrong to do that. He said he didn’t need anyone to remind him of her or the pain, because that was already all he could think about, and so our comments couldn’t make it any harder for him, only help him realize that people cared. I hope you know that I don’t ever expect you to be the same Elizabeth you were before little Jack. And that I still think of him often. I can’t imagine the way you feel. Thank you for sharing that list. It is helpful to know how you are feeling.

  5. Elizabeth, That was amazing for me! I have a few relatives loose their children and I’ve never known what to do. This really will help me lots, you answered a prayer I’ve had for a long time. Thanks for posting this! We love you guys!

  6. I have had so many thoughts and feelings and never knew how to put them into words. I feel this list says a lot of what I could not. I have been through many traumatic experiences in my life, though none quite as tough as losing a child, and I will tell you: The pain never goes away, it just dulls over time; You will never forget, ever, I promise you that; and, though tough at the time, you will look back later in life and see why it has made you the great person you are today. I also know you will see him again, and it will be a joyful reunion. We are all here for you and send you all the love in the world.

  7. Thanks for letting me in on some of the thoughts you have…I hope it will help me when I just don’t know what to say. I think about Jack often and I will always remember him. I hope to talk to you soon.

  8. The truth! It’s so refreshing to be able to see people tell the truth. There have been a few times in the past couple of years when life has become overwhelming. I have tried to hide it away and keep it closed from the world because I didn’t want to have anyone’s sympathy. I didn’t want anyone to know what I was going through. I didn’t want to discuss it with anyone because of one emotion or another. Two times in particular that I can think of, after the ordeal was worked through, I wished that I had let my family and friends know what I was going through so that they could have supported me. I realized I was being selfish and that is not what the Lord would have wanted for me. I look back though and I think a list like this would have helped. A friend of mine was finally able to adopt a child after 10 years of waiting. The first Sunday she was back with the baby she gave everyone a run down of what had happened and everyone cried, however she also gave a list of things that were and were not appropriate to ask and say about the adoption and her feelings. At first I was kind of put off by her boldness but after analyzing my own feelings I realize that it was such a great thing to do. I am proud of you Liz and Adam. Through the whole set of events with Baby Jack Trevor and I kept in communication. Both of us were amazed at the strength that you both seem to carry though we knew there were times when strength just wasn’t enough. Someday, because of your experiences, not only will you be blessed but you will bless the lives of others. Heaven knows you already have. We love you both and think of you often. After all, we are still in some little way, always a part of the “V” Club!

  9. Hi Liz

    I’ve been reading your blog for a while, about 5 months now, and I think I started by clicking through Molly’s blog. I cry every time I read it. I don’t want to, but I do. Sometimes I even hesitate to click on the link because I don’t want to cry, and I know I will.

    I’m glad you’ve been brave enough to blog about Jack, even as such hard things were happening. Thanks for sharing. I hope you’re not missing him as badly everyday, even though I know you will never stop missing him. I can only imagine how hard losing Jack must have been. There’s not much else I can say, but I wanted to let you and Adam know I think about you guys sometimes. You’ll see him again.

  10. Liz your blog always makes me cry! I want you to know that I think of you and little Jack often and I have you in my prayers. I’m so sorry you have this trial, but I am so amazed at your grace in handling it. Thank you for sharing such personal things with all of us. We are all blessed through your strenght.

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