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The Bill of Rights of Parents Who Have Lost a Child

1. I have the right to grieve for however long I need to, even if others think I should “get over it.”

2. I have the right to mention my child, even if it makes others uncomfortable.

3. I have the right to find comfort in my Faith, even if others disagree with what I believe.

4. I have the right to treasure my children’s pictures and belongings, even if some think I should hide them away or discard them.

5. I have the right to avoid social gatherings I know will trigger more pain for me, even though some people may miss me.

6. I have the right to find solace in dreams in which my child appears, even if the beliefs of others take offense.

7. I have the right to share my Faith which has sustained me in my deep sorrow, even if others have different beliefs.

8. I have the right to not be gossiped about behind my back about the way in which I mourn, even if others think they are helping me by talking about me.

9. I have the right to not share things about my child that I hold close to my heart, even if others think I should.

10. I have the right to cry, even if it embarrasses someone who is with me.

11. I have the right to smile, even if some may think I shouldn’t.

12. I have the right to visit my child’s grave and remain there as long as I need and want to, even if others would prefer I be elsewhere.

13. I have the right to not celebrate Holidays, even if others don’t understand why.

14. I have the right to not have to explain to others what if feels like to have buried my child, even if another wants to know.

15. I have the right to express my sorrow in whatever artistic manner I choose, even if others don’t like my expression.

16. I have the right to believe I will see my child again, even if others do not share that same hope.

17. I have the right to believe that in God’s Spirit I am still one with my child, even if others can’t understand this or have been taught differently.

18. I have the right to work through feelings of fear and anger at my own pace, even if some don’t agree with those feelings.

19. I have the right to see the world differently in my grief, even if others don’t see it the same way.

20. I have the right to perceive life and death differently, even if some think I have “gone off the deep end.”

21. I have the right to speak of my child as if he still exists, because he does, even if some judge me for doing so.

22. I have the right to choose if I need medication or not.

23. I have the right to grieve, even if some would prefer I “cheer up.”

24. I have the right to violate my rights at any time, even if some make accusations when I do so.

Jude’s book, “Gifts from the Ashes,” is available at Direct Textbook.

Follow this journey on Jude’s website.

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Thinkstock image by marako85

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