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Important…please read! On many occasions since Yonie passed, I especially have been told: “Well, I didn't know what to say to you (or some version therein), so I stayed away.” Unfortunately, when this happened; I experienced people staying away in groves...and this continues.


I have often wished for something short I could have people read to help them understand what life is like when you loose your child. The little article below, I believe, is just the thing. It is NOT intended to criticize anyone's actions...just to help you feel comfortable with what has happened; as much as humanly possible. If one of these examples can help you better communicate with any family that has lost a child, then it's all good. I have read a ton of books that include the contents of this list, but if I sent each of you a ton of books, you would probably be a bit overwhelmed. Hopefully, these pointers will serve as the cliff notes version. Please feel free to share this with anyone you think it will help.

I want to thank each of you for your kind words, phone calls, emails, or cards that let us know that you continue to think of Yonie. Any time you let us know he's still in your heart, it helps me through that day as I feel that he is still here with me and never forgotten. He will always be my heart and soul.

In memory of my Angel From / In Heaven, my son, Yonie 12/13/86-5/12/06






Every time I am in a group of bereaved parents, I hear people say things like, "I wish my child hadn't died" or "I wish I had him back." Those wishes, unfortunately, can never come true. Another wish I hear is "I wish my friends, neighbors, or relatives understood what I am going through and were more supportive." This is a wish that has some possibility of coming true if we are able to be honest and assertive with the people around us. What do we wish others understood about the loss of our child? Here is a partial list of such wishes:

I wish you would not be afraid to speak my child's name. My child lived
and was important and I need to hear his name.

If I cry or get emotional when we talk about my child, I wish you knew that
it isn't because you have hurt me; the fact that my child died has caused my
tears, my hurt. You have allowed me to cry and I thank you. Crying and emotional
outbursts are healing.

I wish you wouldn't "kill" my child again by removing from your home his

pictures, artwork, or other remembrances.

I will have emotional highs and lows, ups and downs. I wish you wouldn't
think that if I have a good day my grief is all over or, that if I have a bad day I

need psychiatric counseling (which I may regardless).

I wish you knew that the death of a child is different from other losses
and must be viewed as such. It is the ultimate tragedy and I wish you
wouldn't compare it to your loss of a parent, a spouse, or a pet.

Being a bereaved parent is not contagious, so I wish you wouldn't 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 / beliefs are to be expected following the death of
a child.

I wish you wouldn't expect my grief to be over in six months. The first
few years are going to be exceedingly traumatic for me. As with alcoholics,
I will never be "cured" or become a "former bereaved parent", but will

forevermore be a "recovering bereaved parent".

I wish you understood the physical reactions to grief. I may gain weight
or lose weight, sleep all the time or not at all, develop a host of illnesses

and be accident-prone, all of which may be related to my grief.

My child's birthday, the anniversary of his death, and holidays are a
terrible time for me. I wish you would tell me that you are thinking about
my child on these days, and if I get quiet and withdrawn, just know that
I am thinking about my child and don't try to coerce me into being cheerful.

It is normal and good that I am re-examining my faith, values, and
beliefs after losing my child. I will question things that I have been taught all
my life and hopefully come to some new understanding with my G-d. I
wish you would let me tangle with my religion without making me feel guilty.

I wish you wouldn't offer me drinks or drugs. These are just temporary
crutches, and the only way I can get through this grief is to experience it.
I have to hurt before I can even hope to heal.

13. I wish you understood that grief changes people. I am not the same
person I was before my child passed and I never will be that person again.

If you keep waiting for me to "get back to my old self", you will stay forever
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'll

still like me.

Instead of sitting around and waiting for my wishes to come true, I feel that I have an obligation to teach as many people as I can some of the things that I have learned about my grief. I am sharing these lessons with great kindness, believing that people have good intentions and want to do what is right, but just don't know what that is. I can sit and wait for everyone to figure it out, but anyone who knows me, including (especially) my Yonie, knows that it’s not in my DNA to wait.

Written by Elaine Grier, TCF Atlanta, GA

Edited by Iris Sally, YonieLives Foundation

"I expect to pass through this world but once; any good thing
therefore that I can do, or any kindness that I can show to any
fellow creature, let me do it now; let me not defer or neglect
it, for I shall not pass this way again."

Stephan Grellet