by Jenny Coffee
I wish my child hadn't died. I wish I had him 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 he 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.
I wish you wouldn't "kill" my child again by removing his pictures, artwork, or other remembrances from your home.
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 favorite topic of the day.
I know 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 those things through a phone call, a card, note, or a real big hug.
I wish you wouldn't expect my grief to be over in a short period of time. 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. Grief is a life long process.
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.
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.
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 So please excuse me when I'm quiet and withdrawn or irritable and cranky.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 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, certainly not my intent. Sometimes the world around me goes too fast and I need to get away. 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 with him. I am not the same person I was before my child died, and I will never be that person again.
I wish very much that you could understand -- understand my loss and grief, my silence and my tears, my void and my pain. BUT...I pray daily that you will never understand.
Jenny Coffey lost her first child at 36-weeks-gestation to a cord accident and has since gone on to have two successful subsequent pregnancies. She works very hard in a nonprofit organization to help bereaved parents and spends a lot of time on the Internet helping others as best she can.
Copyright © Jenny Coffey. Permission to republish granted to Pregnancy.org, LLC.