Monday, August 17, 2009

Wish List

I received the following "wish list" from a friend of our family who lost his adult daughter a few years ago. Thank you for sharing this with me and I hope by me passing this along others can find themselves more understood during a difficult loss.

I've altered the words so that it applies to Jeremy and I but you could insert your name and the name of your lost loved one if you choose to use this.

A Bereaved Parent's Wish List

1. I wish my Lizzy Ann had not died. I wish I had her back.

2. I wish you would not be afraid to speak about Lizzy Ann; or say her name. Lizzy Ann was very much alive in my womb and is very important to me. I need to hear that her short life was important to you as well.

3. Should I cry or get emotional when Lizzy Ann is discussed, it is not because you have hurt me. Lizzy Ann's death is the reason for my tears and talking about her allows me to share my grief. Thank you for being open enough to allow me to grieve in your presence.

4. Being a "bereaved parent" is not contagious; please do not shy away from me. I need you now more than ever.

5. I know that you pray and think of me often. I also know that Lizzy Ann's death hurts and pains you, too. I wish that you would let me know through a phone call, note, card or a big hug.

6. I wish you would not expect my grief to be over by now. These first few months have been extremely traumatic for me. I am working very hard to gain ground in recovery but please understand that my heart will never fully heal. I will always miss Lizzy Ann and will pray for the sweet day that I kiss her once again.

7. Grieving & hurting is part of the healing process. Please allow me to do so as needed and understand that "happiness" is a foreign word at this time. I may smile, laugh or even show my old self at times but know that this is the facade I have to have up in order to function in the world.

8. The reactions to the grief I am experiencing are normal and include anger, forgetfulness, depression, hopelessness and overwhelming sadness. Please forgive me when I am quiet, withdraw, irritable or "out of sorts."

9. When you ask me "How are you doing?" please know that my standard answer is "I'm doing okay." That unfortunately is not the case every day. Not every day is good, not every day is even tolerable but I'm praying for God's strength everyday and know that days will be better.

10. This experience has changed me forever. When Lizzy Ann died, a part of me died with her that will not be returned to me until I meet her again in Heaven. I am not the same person and I am thankful to have been changed by her short, sweet, perfect life.

11. I am so thankful that my family and friends have lifted me up and carried me through many bad days. Even though you may not be able to relate to my grief (and I hope you never can relate), you have been loving and supportive throughout the journey.

Dear God,
I praise you for your love and peace that has covered and carried me through the storms. I thank you for your grace and perfect plan for my life.
Thank you for Elizabeth Ann and her perfect life. She may not be an angel in the biblical sense but her little life has changed mine in a way I did not think was possible. Thank you for keeping her in your presence until I can hold her again.
Thank you for sending your precious Son to die for me so that I can spend my eternity with you. I love you, I love you, I love you.


  1. I learned of your Lizzy through a friend. You have been and will continue to be in our thoughts and prayers. May God give you the strength to keep on going when it seems impossible. KNow that you have a group of prayer warriors on your side lifting you up when you can no longer lift yourself up. We don't all understand your loss and what you are going through but we do understand that you need us and that it will be a rocky road ahead. But we are here to shelter you from those bumps.

    The Moore Family, Calera AL

  2. I love you guys and I think about Lizzie Ann all the time and sometime I smile and other times I cry, but I will never ever forget her and getting to hold her in my arms. Praying for you now.
    Aunt Carol

  3. Johnna,

    What a beautiful post! How hard to describe yet how wonderful to put in words the range of emotions you are experiencing right now. Even though you may not realize it, you are being a light and source of strength to others through this. 20 months later, these words still ring true for me, and I may just have to borrow them :) Just reading them gave me permission to vocalize these feelings for myself again. As time passes, never be afraid to let people know that this is still, and always will be, a HUGE part of your person and spirit. It will be a lifelong struggle, but certainly one worth the fight! You are not alone!

  4. Johnna and Jeremy,

    Chris and I think about Lizzy every day. We often discuss what things would be like if she were with us, maybe we could even have an overnight party at our house, just with her aunt and uncle. The picture in our den of her in our arms makes me smile on same days and just sob on others. I too wish I could hold her again; I have recently held babies at church and imagine that they are her. I know this may sound sick, but I just wish I could have held her more, as do both of you I know.

    Even though I may not speak her name every time we talk I want you to know not a day goes by that she does come across my mind. I am proud to be her Aunt and cannot wait until the day we can be together forever. I love you both so much!!

    Aunt Jess