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The Tigger in All of Us

The Wonderful Things About Tiggers

A good friend of mine,who has also experienced the death of a child, sent me a clip of the song "The Wonderful Thing About Tiggers" on April 27th of this year, which would have been my daughter Jeannine's 28th birthday. Jeannine became forever 18 on 3/1/03 as a result of a rare and aggressive form of sarcoma. Jeannine's favorite Disney character was Tigger. Jeannine loved Tigger because he bounced and was the only one. Jeannine certainly bounced with what seemed to be an endless supply of energy during this lifetime. There were days that I got tired just trying to keep up with her. As an aside,the fatigue that I experienced in my early grief following Jeannine's death did not compare with the fatigue that I experienced trying to keep up with her when she was alive. The fatigue that I had when Jeannine was alive was always temporary because of the joy I experienced from her constant physical presence in my life. In early grief, I was never sure that I would recover from the fatigue of dealing with the profound pain and sadness associated with her permanent physical absence.  Jeannine was truly in my eyes the only one of her kind, a passionate ,heartfelt soul who defied conventional wisdom. I am convinced today that Tigger is as much a part of her spiritual identity on the other side. I believe that her Tigger energy is touching all whom she has met  . I know that the Tigger in her continues to redefine me ,teach me,and shape the path that I am on. Jeannine's  earthly life and eternal life continue to teach me that there is no such thing as conventional wisdom and  that there are several ways to go down the path of enlightenment. We may all bounce on that path differently, but our destination remains the same.

 Grief- An Uncomfortable Fit?

Tigger also boasted of  having a "rubber top"(in the video clip, he is stretching his ears). Rubber reminds me of the need for all parents to reshape their worlds following their childrens' deaths .  Our life long journeys become more meaningful when we  reshape and stretch the boundaries of  our thinking about life and death, which in turn forces us to challenge beliefs that no longer suit us . It is at times an uncomfortable fit, but a necessary one if we are ever going to learn to live again,while celebrating the lives of our children.

Cuddle Your Grief: It is OK
 
In the song, Tigger boasts that "Tiggers are cuddly fellows." Throughout our journeys, sometimes we just need a hug or a reassuring touch or nod to let us know that there is hope and that we can transcend the most painful of tragedies. Sometimes others need the same from us. Actions of love many times speak louder than words. Hugs, reassuring touches or nods are powerful forms of cuddling.These gestures represent  powerful forms of presence in our time of need and expresions of unconditional love. Whether you are the recipient or the giver , embrace  and celebrate that cuddling part of Tigger in your journey.  

Tigger's Gifts

I like to think that our children were and are all Tiggers in their own way. Each of our children have unique gifts and an energy that positively and permanently affected anyone who had the privilege to bear witness to it. It is that energy that drives us as parents to make sure that they are always remembered and that their legacy lives on long after we cross over.   Celebrate the Tigger in your children and let their unique gifts, energy and talents continue to guide you on your journey. Maybe in the process, you will become a Tigger too.

Final Thoughts

 I have two stuffed Tiggers that belong to Jeannine, prominently displayed on the shelf overlooking my desk. Their presence not only facilitates an ongoing connection with my Jeannine, but triggered this additional thought:

"It is not about the destination, but the journey."

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About the Author

I became a parent who experienced the death of a child after my daughter Jeannine died of cancer on 3/1/03 at the age of 18. I am a retired addiction professional and am also an adjunct professor in the psychology and psychology-child life departments at Utica College. In 2007, I established Bootsy and Angel Books, LLC(www.bootsyandangel.com). The mission of Bootsy and Angel Books is to provide information, support, and services to individuals and families who have experienced the death of a child or other catastrophic losses. I have presented workshops at national conferences of The Compassionate Friends since 2008 and at gatherings of the Bereaved Parents of the USAin 2009 , 2011 and 2012. I have been a keynote speaker for national gathering of the Bereaved Parents of the USA in both 2011 and 2015. I am also the chapter leader for The Compassionate Friends of the Mohawk Valley. I have contributed articles to Living with Loss Magazine ,We Need Not Walk Alone, Hello Grief and Recovering the Self Journal. I have co-authored two books with Linda Findlay of Mourning Discoveries on navigating through grief during the holidays and pet loss. I am a contributing writer for the Open to Hope Foundation and have also appeared on Healing the Grieving Heart and the Open to Hope Television show.. I am also a featured speaker, workshop presenter and coach for Aspire Place(www.aspireplace.com) You can also find me on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/david.j.roberts1

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