The Relay For Eternal Life

My daughter Jeannine has been prominent in my thoughts lately.  Since her death on March 1,2003 at the age of 18, due to cancer, there isn’t a day that goes by that I am not reminded of her presence in my life. The best of who Jeannine was in her lifetime is embodied in me and will forever be embodied in me. Integrating Jeannine into my heart, mind and soul is what has allowed me to discover life without her physical presence. 


Luminaria Musings


I recently changed my profile picture on Facebook (see below).


 This picture of Jeannine’s luminaria was taken by my niece at an American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life that she attended while she was in college. I received over one hundred twenty Facebook likes, cyber hugs and comments indicating that my friends were thinking of me. I was humbled by the response, and gratified to see that Jeannine continues to be remembered and acknowleged almost twelve years after her death.  


In addition to yearning for her physical presence, there were additional reasons that I chose  Jeannine’s luminaria as my Facebook profile picture. I wanted to acknowledge her continued role as a teacher and a wise spiritual guide in my life.  I wanted to thank her for revealing to me that love transcends the physical world, in its purest most unconditional form, and that it never ever fades away.  The luminaria is really more about honoring the impact of Jeannine’s eternal life, as it is about my transient sadness over her physical absence.

 I have learned the value of simultaneously embracing seemingly contradictory emotions as I continue to walk a path of transformation after loss.  It is empowering to honor, rather than suppress the uncomfortable emotions or thoughts that is a constant part of our circular journey of grief.  What we don’t run away from, serves to teach us and to redefine our perspective about the world around us.

“ A shift in perspective makes the particles in your universe dance to different possibilities” –The Afterlife of Billy Fingers, by Annie Kagan

We Are a Moment’s Sunlight

 There is a line from an old, yet timeless song by The Youngbloods called Get Together reminding us that: “We are but a moments sunlight, fading in the grass.”  As I get older, I am reminded how quickly the years go by and that our stopover on earth is a short one. I also have become increasingly cognizant of the fact that I have been given the privilege to grow older, while Jeannine and other children were not. There are times when I question why I was allowed to grow older, but I also realize that my mission on earth is not over. Once it is, I will be reborn into a new existence, with the hope of a glorious reunion with Jeannine and all of my ancestors and friends who predeceased me.   So as I approach the twelfth angelversary of Jeannine’s day of rebirth I will continue to live the best life that I can, for as long as heaven will allow.

All in Due Time

I will honor the spirit of my daughter and the teachings that I know she will continue to reveal.  I will also spend some time with her beautiful spirit on 3/1/15.  Each year I have developed specific activities, those that represented the unique bond that we shared when Jeannine was alive. This year I am content to let the plan reveal itself to me.  Jeannine will be a part of whatever unfolds, and that knowledge gives me feelings of contentment and peace.



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( 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( You can also find me on Facebook at:
I'm Grieving, Now What?