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.
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.