I'm borrowing this poem from another site. Compassion Friends is an organization for bereaved parents. They have published a poem that really spoke to me; I've modified it to my own taste.
Bereaved Parents Wish List
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 as well.
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.
Being a bereaved parent is not contagious, so I wish you wouldn’t shy away from me. I need you 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 said and I might cry, but I wish you would let me talk about my child, my favorite topic of the day.
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.
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.
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 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 So please excuse me when I’m quiet and withdrawn or irritable and cranky.
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 my grief, my silence and my tears, my void and my pain. But I wish more that you will never understand.
I'm really lucky in that most, if not all, of the people I am close to understand this poem without having read it. I think the part that spoke to me the most was the third paragraph. I can't often talk about Henry without crying, and I see it scaring people away from talking about him. I wish I could control my tears, but it's not in my genetics, so I don't even really try. I do wish I could tell people I'm happy to talk about him and share, but usually I'm crying so much I can't get it out.