Follow The Grief Toolbox 

  • |    
Home

Please Come to Boston: The Circularity of My Grief Journey

Walkaways....2002

 

No big differences these days

Just the same old walkaways

And someday

I’m gonna stay

But not today

From the song “Walkaways” by the Counting Crows

Lyrics by Adam Duritz

 

During June of 2002, I developed a strong dislike for the city of Boston.  You might even call it a strong hatred. My hatred or dislike was due not to the city itself or because of the fact that I am a fan of the New York Yankees. My strong emotions were generated by what transpired in Boston during that time, a truly life changing event. My 18-year-old daughter Jeannine was diagnosed with a rare and aggressive form of cancer, and was given what amounted to a death sentence at Dana Farber Hospital in Boston. Jeannine was told that there was no cure for her cancer, and that the only hope was aggressive chemotherapy and total remission, until a cure could be found.  Ten months later, on March 1,2003, Jeannine was dead.

In retrospect, the drive to Boston was a portent of things to come.  The city itself was undergoing a lot of road construction and there were potholes everywhere. The holes in my psyche and heart were numerous and deep after Jeannine’s death, and my life as I knew it was now under construction. I had to rebuild my life, with an entirely new foundation, a foundation that did not include Jeannine. 

 

Once I got the news of Jeannine’s diagnosis and prognosis, I could not leave Boston fast enough.

I gotta rush away, she said,

I been to Boston before

and anyways

this change I been feeling doesn’t make the rain fall

 

From the song “Walkaways” by the Counting Crows

Lyrics by Adam Duritz

 

It wasn’t raining when I left Boston, but I was changed.

 

Walkaways.....2013

Just the same old walkaways

And someday

I’m gonna stay

But not today

 

From the song “Walkaways” by the Counting Crows

Lyrics by Adam Duritz

 

I have mentioned in previous writings that the grief journeys of parents who have experienced the death of a child are circular as opposed to linear. I also believe they are cyclical as well.  As much as I loathed the city of Boston and wanted to leave it because of its association with Jeannine’s illness and death, I had vowed to go back there . I knew that there was much beauty and aestheticism associated with the city and I wanted to go back and experience that some day. I did not put a date on some day.  I stated this intention in one of my early journal writings. I knew early on that my negative perception of the city of Boston was due to the bleak outlook that I had following Jeannine’s diagnosis and prognosis. Perhaps, my desire to revisit Boston during my early grief was the actual beginning of my desire to change how I viewed Jeannine’s death, However, I was too grief stricken to actually recognize it.  One of the things that I have discovered following Jeannine’s tenth angelversary is that I am able to more readily describe moments of progress that I made during early grief.  I was more empowered than I gave myself credit for; I truly did the best that I could given the circumstances.

 

Back to Boston

From July 5th-July 7th, I will be in Boston for the 36th National Conference of The Compassionate Friends.  I will attend this conference as a parent who is in the eleventh year of my journey following the death of his child. I come to Boston as a man who has been transformed and redefined as a result of the challenges presented by Jeannine’s death.  I have developed a greater awareness of spirituality and synchronicity that has allowed me to continue the relationship that I had with my daughter, and in the process find new purpose in my life.

The Numbers Game

I have become more conscious of the significance of numbers or numerology since Jeannine’s death. Given the fact that March 1st of this year was the tenth angelversary of Jeannine’s death, I decided to research the significance of this number. Ted Andrews, in his book Animal Speaks, writes: “In the study of numerology, the greatest emphasis is upon the single digits of one through nine.”  He further notes that all double-digit numbers can be reduced to a single digit by adding the two digits together (Andrews, P. 52). Using this formula, I would take the number 10, which would equal 1+0=1.  The number 1, according to Andrews represents, among other things, beginnings.  I also discovered another website: www.ridingthebeast.com/numbers/nu10.php  which had this about the number 10:

“At the Mayas, it represents the end of a cycle and the beginning of another. The ten was regarded as being the number of the life and the death.”

 

What Does This All Mean ?

For me, the common denominator between the Mayas interpretation of the number 10 and Ted Andrews’s interpretation is beginnings.  Jeannine death on March 1st, signified the end of one cycle in my life and the beginning of another. Everything that I knew to be true about life and the natural order of the universe was unceremoniously stripped bare; I felt like a skeleton riding a motorcycle, untethered, exposed, and uncertain of the road ahead of me. Eventually, I developed a new skin, forged by my need to redefine the rules that governed my life and my views about death. It was and still is a necessary process to create new chapters in my life, chapters that will allow me to continue to grow in service to others and develop greater self-awareness as a result of the challenges presented by Jeannine’s death.  My July trip to Boston represents one of those new chapters or new beginnings. I know there will be more truths to be revealed that will further empower me on my journey. I am excited to view my second experience in Boston from this perspective.

 

Share This Article With Friends

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

Shopping cart

View your shopping cart.

Featured Product

Blue Wooden Urn - Up
$999.00
Sculptor Roberto Milan lives and works in his native city of Udine, Italy. As a child, his passion for art was nurtured...

Register Your Toolkit Here


Learn more about this informational and inspirational DVD program offering hope to the bereaved.

Popular Content