Bereaved Parents Wish List

This list is adapted from something that the hospital gave us and another parent had put together. It is our hope that you read this and it will hopefully allow you to feel more comfortable around and with us. This is a very difficult time for everyone, and we know that none of us really know what to do or say.

– We wish that Liam hadn’t died. We wish that we had him back.

– We wish that you won’t be afraid to speak Liam’s name. He lived and was very important to us. We need to hear that he was important to you also.

– If we cry and get emotional when you talk about Liam, we wish you knew that it isn’t because you have hurt us. Liam’s death is the cause of our tears. You have talked about him, and you have allowed us to share in our grief. We thank you for both.

– Being a bereaved parent isn’t contagious, so please don’t shy away from us. We need you now more than ever.

– We need diversions, so we do want to hear about you, your family, and your life. But we also want you to hear about us. We might be sad or cry, but please also let us talk about Liam.

– We know that you think and pray for us often. We also know that Liam’s death pains you, too. We wish you would let us know these things through a phone call, a card, a note, an e-mail, a text, or a real big hug.

– We wish that you won’t expect our grief to be over in six months. These first months are traumatic for us, but we hope that you understand that our grief will never be over. We will suffer the loss of Liam until the day that we die.

– We are working very hard in our recovery, but we wish you could understand that we will never fully recover. We will always miss Liam, and we will always grieve that he is dead.

– We wish that you wouldn’t expect us not to think about it or to be happy. Neither will happen for a very long time, so don’t frustrate yourself.

– We don’t want to have a pity party, but we do wish you would let us grieve. We must hurt before we can heal.

– We wish you understood how our lives have shattered. We know it is miserable for you to be around us when we’re feeling miserable. Please be as patient with us as we are with you.

– When we say we are doing okay, we wish you could understand that we don’t feel okay and that we struggle daily.

– We wish you knew that all of the grief reactions we are having are very normal. Depression, anger, hopelessness and overwhelming sadness are all to be expected. So please excuse us when we are quiet and withdrawn or irritable and cranky.

– Your advice to ‘take one day at a time’ is excellent advice. However, sometimes a day is too much and too fast for us right now. We wish that you could understand that sometimes the best way is a minute or an hour at a time.

– We hope that if you see us out and about that you say hi. We might be smiling or laughing, joking or having a good time – that’s okay to do. Please don’t think that it’s because we are not appropriately grieving.

– Please excuse us if we are rude, it is certainly not our intent. Sometimes the world around us goes by too fast, and we need to get off. When we walk away, please let us find a quiet place to spend some time alone.

– We wish you understood that grief changes people. When Liam died, a big part of us died with him. We are not the same people that we were before Liam died, and we will never be those people again.

– We wish very much that you could understand – understand our loss and our grief, our silence and our tears, our void and our pain. But we pray daily that you will never, ever understand.


  1. Beth in Michigan says:

    Your grace and wisdom through all this continues to impress, teach, and humble us all. We love you!

  2. Sandra Hernandez says:

    Thank you for the reminder. I know my daughter and son-in-law are at a hard place right now. And, tell your dad, thank you, too.

  3. kathy davis says:

    A great deal of thought went into this list and it is spot on! The hard part is wrapping your head and heart around all of the emotion and change in your life. I don’t pray, but you are both in my thoughts and my heart.

  4. I haven’t looked at your blog for a few days and was saddened to see the news. With a heavy heart I’m wishing you moments of peace and comfort. I’m a great cook, babysitter, and maid if you need a break! With all my love, char

  5. Melissa Nemitz says:

    You don’t know me, but I am a friend of your friends. I have been following your story through this blog and I think about you all every day and cried with you on Tuesday. Thank you for sharing your story and showing us all how strong and beautiful your family is. Peace to all of you.

  6. Marilyn Gnewikow says:

    My heart goes out to your family. You are right, you will NEVER forget or stop loving little Liam. He was a precious and wonderful gift to you and to all of us that got to know him from your blog. No, it is NOT going to be easy and some days will be worse than others, some short and some that seem so very long, but you will get through this with the help of your family and friends , including the ones that only know you from the blog, because you will always be thought of and will always be in out thoughts and prayers. We wish you all the best. Thank you for sharing all of Little Liam’s story with us. Love to you all.
    Marilyn You will NOT be forgotten!

  7. Perfect and honest wishes! Thank you for sharing…I wish I would have had a similar wish list when my mom died. Grief is the elephant in the room and it doesn’t need to be. It’s real, it’s raw, and it needs to be recongized. I am thankful that Ezra and Anthony were the reason our paths crossed. It is my hope that our friendship can grow along side our sons’ friendship. Our prayers will continue, and even though we did not meet Liam, we will never forget him!

  8. This is really well expressed. The “right words” always seem hard to find and then so often it becomes stilted or awkward. So, what a good road map this is for people. On another topic, I know you guys were anxious to live life outside of the hospital routine but I have also been thinking about what a big adjustment it must be to not have that routine and to be home again. I hope you have each been able to luxuriate in one hot shower even if the tears were running down your face along with the water.

  9. Stephanie Lerner says:

    Sending you love and big huge hugs!

  10. Thank you for the wish list. It gives me guidance as I try to navigate with you through all of this. We love you.

  11. Wow…what a great list. Wish I could be there for you guys. Not a day goes by that I don’t think about you and wonder how you are. I never got to meet Liam, but I know he was loved as much as any little boy could’ve been loved.

  12. katy gibbs says:

    this is so well written, thank you for sharing it with us.
    and from the Gibbs in MN, a *RealBigHug*

  13. Carole Malezija says:

    It’s the perfect “I don’t how to help them” tips for those of us who have followed your life and the life of your beloved Liam. I hope I get to you see all soon. Everytime I hear the name Liam I think of your beautiful son. Thank you for sharing his life with so many people.

  14. Meg Jacques says:

    This us a great list and I thank you for the reminders. I know this is the most difficult time in your lives and I pray that you continue to find the comfort, the love, the distraction and the support you need to get through each day, each hour, each minute. You continue to be in my prayers and I continue to send my love and hugs.

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