Out of the Darkness, Into the Light

A Cold Case State of Mind
On most Fridays from 5:00pm to 11:00PM, I am parked on the couch or in my bedroom, watching the “Cold Case” marathon on the ION channel.
This seven-year television series revolved around a dedicated and passionate group of detectives who came together as a team  to solve open murder cases. The series had great acting, scripts and story lines. Each episode ended with a song that reflected the personality, struggles  and more so, the legacy of the murder victim.
A Child Dies
There was one episode that I watched on Friday, 5/4/12, that left a lasting impression on me. In it, a 15-year-old girl was murdered before her dreams in life were fulfilled.  A song by Kelly Clarkson, called “Breakaway,” ended the episode. The lyrics in this song reminded me so much of my daughter Jeannine, who died at the age of 18 of cancer. Jeannine had dreams of her own that she wanted to fulfill.
During the early years following her death, I always felt that for whatever reason, she was not allowed to reach her true potential.

The Urge to “Breakaway”

On Sunday, I found myself thinking of Jeannine and simultaneously feeling the need to find the song “Breakaway.” After purchasing it and downloading it to my iTunes library, I found the video. My intent was to post it on Facebook, with a tribute to Jeannine. However, for whatever reason, I could not get on the Internet. I felt that this occurrence was a sign from Jeannine to rethink posting the video. I inferred that she did not want to be honored or otherwise recognized, but why?
It is Not About Me and Jeannine

After dinner on Sunday, I took a long walk around my neighborhood, iPod in hand, and listened continuously to “Breakaway” while spending time with Jeannine. I began to reflect on her accomplishments during  her short life. She became a certified nurses aide, found the love of her life, got an opportunity to work with her mother, and gave birth to a daughter who in many ways today has her mother’s personality.
 In the eyes of God, her true potential was fulfilled. Like it or not, Jeannine learned the lessons she needed to learn in this life, in the time that she was given on earth.  In the eyes of human law, 18 years was too short of a time; in the eyes of sacred law, 18 years was long enough. I have concluded that in all matters spiritual and divine, sacred law rules every time.  During my walk, I began to realize that the song “Breakaway” had more significance beyond the personal meaning that it had for me.
Many of my Facebook friends have recently been honoring the angelversary dates of their children whose dreams were unfulfilled during this lifetime. I now realized what Jeannine was trying to tell me: “Breakaway” was not just about our relationship. Rather, it was a tribute to all of our children who died before their dreams were fulfilled, and to the families who with honor and integrity are ensuring that their children’s unfulfilled dreams are becoming a reality.
So with that new insight, I posted a tribute on Facebook to all of our children and families left behind, with the Kelly Clarkson video as the inspiration for my words.
Memories Then, Memories Now

In early grief, memories of Jeannine brought up excruciating pain of what was and what could have been. Today those memories are an opportunity to spend time with her and learn from her divine wisdom.
Cold Case, “Breakaway,” and a long walk with Jeannine; different activities that converged to teach me a valuable lesson about our journeys. Everything is truly connected.
Out of the darkness and into the sun, I won’t forget all the ones that I love.”
From the song :”Breakaway” by Kelly Clarkson

David Roberts

More Articles Written by David

David J. Roberts, LMSW ,became a parent who experienced the death of a child, after his daughter Jeannine died of cancer on 3/1/03 at the age of 18. He is a retired addiction professional and is also an adjunct professor in the psychology department at Utica College, Utica, New York. Dave has presented workshops at national conferences of The Compassionate Friends and Bereaved Parents ,as well as local and regional venues. Dave was also the keynote speaker at both the 2011 and 2015 national gatherings of the Bereaved Parents of the USA. He is also a featured speaker,workshop presenter and coach for Aspire Place(www.aspireplace.com) Dave is a HuffPost contributor and has also written articles for several other grief and self-improvement publications. He has co-authored two books with Linda Findlay of Mourning Discoveries. One is on navigating grief during the holidays and the other is on pet loss. One of Dave's articles” My Daughter is Never Far Away" can also be found in Open to Hope: Inspirational Stories of Healing and Loss. Excerpts from Dave's article for The Open to Hope Foundation, called The Broken Places, were featured in the 2012 Paraclete Press DVD video, Grieving the Sudden Death of a Loved One. Dave has also appeared on Healing the Grieving Heart and the Advocacy Heals U radio shows , and the Open to Hope television show . Dave’s website: www.bootsyandangel.com is devoted to providing support and resources for individuals experiencing loss.

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