Monday, August 2, 2021

Voices of Experience: Love and Light Live in The Wake of Loss

From the time we’re born, our brothers and sisters are our collaborators and coconspirators, our role models and our cautionary tales.  ~ Jeffrey Kluger

When her younger brother died unexpectedly on foreign soil in February of 2014, the mystery and complications around his death made the grieving process even more paralyzing for Susan Casey. Struggling to traverse her grief journey, she began to write, and as her blog’s audience grew, she experienced firsthand the saving grace of putting pen to paper. Soon she became a contributing writer to Open to Hope and The Grief Toolbox

In her inspiring book, Rock On: Mining for Joy in the Deep River of Sibling Grief, Susan delves deeply into her own experience of grief and includes interviews she conducted of siblings who lost a brother or sister and transformed them into powerfully written narrative grief vignettes.

As she takes us through each story, Susan reveals a different facet of her own grief and her path toward healing. By honestly and boldly sharing so much of her own sibling relationship and the losses she experienced, she holds her readers’ hands and allows us to dig deeply into our own bruised hearts until we come across a vein of joy. She writes,

I feel the coolness rise from the earthy depths and know I have a choice, we all do: to climb down, curl up tight inside a hardened heart with each loss we endure like a periwinkle snail, or climb up, spread arms and hearts wide to joy, to heartache, like a parched seedling welcomes the rain and the sun because it needs both to grow.

Here, thirteen months later, I tip my head to my dimmer sun, open my arms wide to love, to life itself. Gratitude swells and rises up through my body, as I maneuver my way along those cracks because I had time with a brother who has given me the courage to say yes to joy, to heartache. Without you, Rocky, I would not know the full depth of one without the other. 

© 2021 by Susan E. Casey

About the Author: Susan E. Casey, MSW, MFA, is an author, a licensed mental health clinician, a certified bereavement group facilitator, and a certified life coach. Throughout the past 25 years, Susan has worked in hospice, in-patient, and home-based settings with teens and adults, and taught numerous courses to executive leaders and clinicians. Currently, Susan works for a measurement-based care organization, providing clinical coaching to therapists, psychologists, and psychiatrists countrywide to improve mental health outcomes for youth and adults. Susan also teaches an 8-week online grief and loss course for those who have lost a sibling and recently launched her new podcast: L.E.A.P for struggling young adults. Find Susan on her website, Susan E. Casey and on Instagram, Facebook and LinkedIn.

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  • In Grief: When Tears Won’t Come
  • Is Losing a Grandmother Easier Than Losing a Sibling?
  • Sibling Loss: When Grief Goes Unacknowledged 
  • © by Marty Tousley, RN, MS, FT, BC-TMH

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