Biker family

A couple weeks ago, I was out to lunch with an old friend of mine. This friend lost his young son in a car accident a couple years ago, and we got to talking about parenting and how life has been for him as a dad ever since.

As a dad, I can only tell you that my heart was ripped in two as he told me not just how he has had to find his own peace with it, but how he wished that there was a place he could share some of the things he’s learned from it all with other parents.

We talked about my blog and I asked him if he thought it would be a good way to collect and share the thoughts of parents who have had children die. He thought it was a great idea and didn’t just approve of it, he told me he wanted it. So, together we came up with three questions to ask.

What do you wish you would have known as a parent?

What do you wish you would have done differently as a parent?

And, what are you are thankful you made sure to do as a parent?

Not knowing what to expect, I asked the questions. Hundreds of parents of children who died replied.

And after reading those replies, I’m convinced that there could be no better insight for all parents of the world, myself included.

Learning from parents who know things in only ways they can know them.

 

Truth from Parents of Children Who Died

1
What you wish you would have known as a parent:
I wish I would have known that when she got into her mom’s car that morning, I would never see her again.
What you wish you would have done differently as a parent:
I wish I would have made her a good breakfast and really taken the time to let her know how much I loved her instead of getting frustrated that she was running late.
What you are thankful you made sure to do as a parent:
I made lots of couch and chair forts with her. We had lots of sleepovers.
2
What you wish you would have known as a parent:
That the little stuff doesn’t really matter. I was always getting so mad about the little things.
What you wish you would have done differently as a parent:
Let her play more and not worry so much about chores getting done that she hardly got to have fun.
What you are thankful you made sure to do as a parent:
Sing to her every night. I’ll never forget our bed times together and I’ll never go to bed without missing them.
3
What you wish you would have known as a parent:
That time is precious.
What you wish you would have done differently as a parent:
Spent more time with my daughter making sure she knew without a doubt what she meant to me.
What you are thankful you made sure to do as a parent:
Told her EVERY day that I loved her.
4
What you wish you would have known as a parent:
How absolutely fragile a child’s mind can be.
What you wish you would have done differently as a parent:
My son committed suicide at the age of 13 years 4 months and 23 days. I have guilt every day for so many things. I just wish I could have protected him better.
What you are thankful you made sure to do as a parent:
I tell my kids every day that I love them!
5
What you wish you would have known as a parent:
That I would only have her for seven years… And to enjoy every minute, even the bad ones.
What you wish you would have done differently as a parent:
I wish I would have known how to explain to her about death.
What you are thankful you made sure to do as a parent:
Let her know every day that she was loved…
6
What you wish you would have known as a parent:
That there is no way to know if your child walking out the door will be the last time you ever see her.
What you wish you would have done differently as a parent:
Skipped school once in a while, broken a few rules, and just had fun with her more.
What you are thankful you made sure to do as a parent:
I was always a safe place for her to tell me her hardest secrets.
7
What you wish you would have known as a parent:
I wish I would have known how much pain she was actually in. Depression is real for teenagers and I didn’t know just how real until she was gone. Some things aren’t just stupid teenager phases.
What you wish you would have done differently as a parent:
I wish I would have not given her so much flack for so many things all the time. I felt like I was being a good mom, but now I know how unimportant some things are.
What you are thankful you made sure to do as a parent:
Every Sunday we went for a drive as a family and took turns choosing where to go. Those are my favorite memories.
8
What you wish you would have known as a parent:
That if there is a god he chooses favorites.
What you wish you would have done differently as a parent:
That I would have listened to the doctors and not wasted so much of what little time he had left praying for a miracle.
What you are thankful you made sure to do as a parent:
Just before he died, I gave him a piggy back ride against doctors orders. I was crying at the end he was laughing for the first time in days.
9
What you wish you would have known as a parent:
That not everyone will protect my children like I do.
What you wish you would have done differently as a parent:
I wish I had never let my 5 year old son spend a few days at his grandparents. They did not watch over him and he died from their neglect.
What you are thankful you made sure to do as a parent:
Every chance I get I tell my other children how thankful I am for them.
10
What you wish you would have known as a parent:
Every breath was precious, cleaning and laundry could have waited.
What you wish you would have done differently as a parent:
I wish I could have been there 24/7. I know that’s not realistic but I think of the time I spent sleeping as wasteful.
What you are thankful you made sure to do as a parent:
Told her over and over how much I loved her, held her as often as possible. Made her laugh.
Continued on next page.