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
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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: https://psychologyprofessorandminister.com/ 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: www.bootsyandangel.com is devoted to providing support and resources for individuals experiencing loss.

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