What I wish Others Understood
This is something that I would like to share with all of you that has lost a child.
I wish you would not be afraid to speak my childs name. My child lived and was important, and I need to hear her name.
If I cry or get emotional if we talk about my child, I wish you knew that it is not because you have hurt me. The fact that my child died has caused my tears. You have allowed me to cry and I thank you. Crying and emotional outburst are healing.
I wish you would not "kill" my child again by removing from your home her pictures or other rememberances.
I will have emotional highs and lows, ups and downs. I wish you would not think that if I have a good day my grief is all over, or if I have a bad day I need psychiatric counseling.
I wish you knew that the death of a child is different from other losses and must be viewed seperately. It is the ultimate tragedy, and I wish that you would not compare your lose of a parent, a spouse, or a pet.
Being a bereaved parent is not contagious, so I wish you would not shy away from me.
I wish you knew that all of the "crazy" grief reactions that I am having are in fact very normal. depression, anger, frustration, hopelessness, and the questioning of values and beliefs are to be expected following the death of a child.
I wish you would not expect my grief to be over in a few months or even six months. The first few years are going to be exceedingly traumatic for me. As with "alcoholics" I will never be "cured" or a "former bereaved parent," but will forever be a "recovering bereaved parent."
I wish you understood my loss and the physical reactions to grief. I may gain weight or lose weight, sleep all the time, or not at all, develope a host of illnesses, and be accident-prone, all of which may be related to my grief.
My childs birthday, the anniversary of her death, and holidays are terrible times for me. I wish you could tell me that you are thinking about my child on these days, and if I get quiet and withdraw, just know that I am thinking about my child and do not try to coerce me into being cheerful.
It is normal and good that we re-examine our faith, values, and beliefs after losing a child. We will question things we have been taught all our lives and hopefully come to some new understanding with our God. I wish you would let me tangle with my religion without making me feel guilty.
I wish you would not offer me drinks or drugs. These are just temporary crutches and the only way that I can get through this grief is to experience it. I have to hurt before I can heal.
I wish you could understand that grief changes people. I am not the same person I was before my child died, and I will never be that person again. If you keep waiting for me to "get back to my old self", you are and will stay frustrated. I am a new creature with new thoughts, dreams, aspirations, values, and beliefs. Please try to get to know the new me-
maybe you will like me still !