Bicycle bicycle bicycle

I want to ride my bicycle bicycle bicycle 

I want to ride my bicycle

I want to ride my bike

I want to ride my bicycle

I want to ride it where I like

From the Song: Bicycle Race, by Queen


“I Have A Thought”

At 9:00 am today (6/15/13), I received a text message from my dear friend from Long Island, Patty Furino. In addition to being one of my closest friends, Patty is one of my most influential spiritual mentors and witnesses on the journey I have embraced following the death of my 18-year-old daughter Jeannine in 2003. Her text read: “Hey I have a thought that I believe is Jeannine, can you talk?

The Bicycle Lesson

I replied to Patty’s text and told her that I had about 15 minutes before I had to leave my house. I was meeting my good friend Joe for a bicycle lesson. I have never ridden a bicycle (other than a three wheeler when I was little). In fact, I became fearful of riding a bike, due to the fact that I was run over by one when I was about five years old.  I never got on a bicycle again after that. One of the reasons was that there was no one to teach me. My father had left my mother and me, and she didn’t know how to ride a bicycle herself. Plus, as I got older, I never chose to address my fear of riding a bike .

Shamanic Wisdom

I also need to acknowledge another of my spiritual teachers, a holistic shamanistic practitioner in my hometown, named Susan, with whom I have been working with for some time now. During one of our sessions, Susan shared with me her strong feeling that I needed to learn how to ride a bike. After I shared my history with her, this reinforced her belief even more. In subsequent sessions, Susan continued to present this option to me as a way to address my fear of bike riding, find joy and discover new ways to connect with nature.

Jeannine ‘s Message

Patty called and told me that it was Jeannine’s wish that I spend some quiet time on Father’s Day with her, my father and my mother. Patty explained that Jeannine was concerned that I had not spent time with them lately with them due to having many different obligations to attend to in the physical world. I had to admit that I haven’t spent time with my inner self in a while, and that I was beginning to experience stress and general irritability as a result. I then proceeded to tell Patty about my upcoming bicycle lesson and she replied that Jeannine would be laughing her butt off, watching me trying to achieve balance on the bike. But she also told me that my father would both be there to ensure that I would achieve that balance. During the latter portion of the lesson,  I was able to pedal for a short time and maintain my balance well.  Towards the end of my ride, I felt like I was going faster than I wanted to; it was almost as if someone was giving me a push from behind to go fast enough so that I would maintain my balance.  I believe my dad made his presence known and gave me in spirit what he didn’t give me when he was alive…. a bike ride with his son. I left the lesson feeling exhilarated and wanting to do this again.

There have been many occasions during my journey where I have been out of balance and I have felt the effects emotionally and psychologically. There are certainly moments of imperfection during any transition following catastrophic events. As long as we can become aware of them without judgment, we can grow from them.

It Is Never Too Late

In my most recent post on this site, , I alluded to my father’s pain over his absence during my childhood years, and my decision to both accept his choice and forgive him.  His presence during my bike lesson today is evidence that it is never too late to be a father whether from the physical plane or the ethereal plane. I have also learned that you are never too old to try new things or learn new ways of relating to the world.

The Color Purple

My wife Cheri has also encouraged me in my quest to learn how to ride a bike. In fact, she mentioned to me that Jeannine’s purple adult bike is still in the attic and suggested that I use it to practice. Of course, it may need some repair, but what a feeling it would be to be able to experience the joys of bike riding with an object that connects me to my daughter.


Mitakuye Oyasin (All My Relations)

Tomorrow on Father’s Day, I will spend some quiet time paying homage to all my relations who have in spirit inspired me on my journey following the death of my daughter. I will thank my father for the lessons he taught me and for being present for my bike lesson. I will thank my mother for teaching me integrity, honor and courage and for rising to the challenges of raising me as a single parent. And yes, I will thank Jeannine for reminding me that she is not my only ethereal teacher, but for also reminding me to stay in balance as I continue to embrace the process of transformation.


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David Roberts

David J. Roberts, LMSW, became a parent who experienced the death of a child, when his daughter Jeannine died of cancer on 3/1/03 at the age of 18. He is a retired addiction professional and an adjunct professor in the psychology and psychology child-life departments at Utica University in Utica, New York. Dave is a featured speaker, workshop facilitator and coach for Aspire Place, LLC. Dave has also been a past national workshop facilitator for The Compassionate Friends and a past national workshop facilitator and keynote speaker for The Bereaved Parents of the USA. Dave also co-presented a workshop titled “Helping Faculty After Traumatic Loss” for the Parkland, Florida community in May of 2018,in the aftermath of the mass shootings at Stoneman Douglas High School. Dave was also a keynote speaker at The Tom Coughlin Jay Fund Remembrance Weekend during in June of 2019 in Ponte Vedra, Florida .Dave has also done numerous workshops at the local and regional levels related to transformation from grief and loss. He is the co-author with Reverend Patty Furino of the recently published book "When The Psychology Professor Met The Minister" which is available for purchase on Amazon. For more information about their book,please go to: Dave has been a past HuffPost contributor and has also published articles with the Open to Hope Foundation, The Grief Toolbox, Recovering the Self Journal, Mindfulness and Grief, and Thrive Global. He is currently a regular contributor to Medium. 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 Paraclete Press DVD video, Grieving the Sudden Death of a Loved One. He has appeared on numerous radio and internet broadcasts and Open to Hope Television. Dave was also part of a panel in 2016 for the BBC Podcast, World Have Your Say, with other grief experts, discussing the death of Carrie Fisher. Dave’s website: is devoted to providing support and resources for individuals experiencing loss.

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