Sept. 14, 2022

Surviving Sibling Loss with Dr. Dawn DiRaimondo Psy.D. Clinical Psychologist

After losing her brother in 2004, Dr. Dawn DiRaimondo became interested in bereavement work. It wasn’t until later that she found out that there are almost no resources when it comes to sibling loss, so she decided to write a book Surviving Sibling...

After losing her brother in 2004, Dr. Dawn DiRaimondo became interested in bereavement work. It wasn’t until later that she found out that there are almost no resources when it comes to sibling loss, so she decided to write a book Surviving Sibling Loss: The Invisible Thread That Connects Us Through Life and Death. Dr. Dawn DiRaimondo Psy. D. was the inspiration behind this podcast. 

In this week's episode, I am sitting down with Dr. Dawn DiRaimondo and sharing about Dawn’s sibling loss history, how she dealt with losing her brother, the impact that it had on her family, how her book Surviving Sibling Loss: The Invisible Thread That Connects Us Through Life and Death came to existence, how therapy can help you move forward in your grief journey and so much more.

In this episode I’m covering:

  • Intro [00:00:00]
  • Dawn’s Sibling Loss Story [00:02:38]
  • The impact of losing Michael [00:04:14]
  • Dawn’s Grief Journey [00:08:49]
  • How grief evolves[00:21:00]
  • Resources and how therapy helps in the grief journey [00:33:50]
  • The spiritual side of grief [00:41:10]
  • Advice for Surviving Siblings [00:51:45]

For full episode show notes and transcript, click here 

Connect with Dr. Dawn DiRaimondo

Instagram | @drdawndawn

Website | Dr. Dawn DiRaimondo

Book | Surviving Sibling Loss: The Invisible Thread That Connects Us Through Life and Death

Facebook | Dawn DiRaimondo, Psy.D.

Connect with Maya 

Instagram | @survivingsiblingspodcast | @mayaroffler 

TikTok | @survivingsiblingspodcast

Twitter | @survivingsibpod

Website | The Surviving Siblings


[00:00:00] Maya: Welcome to the surviving siblings podcast. I'm your host, Maya [00:00:10] Roffler as a surviving sibling myself, I knew that I wanted to share my story. My brother's story. I lost my [00:00:20] brother to a homicide in November, 2016. And after going through this experience, I knew that I wanted to share my story [00:00:30] and his story.

And it's taken me quite some time to come to the mic to tell it, but I knew it was an important one to tell. So here I am to share [00:00:40] his story and mine with you. And it's important that I tell the story of the surviving sibling, the forgotten, mourn the story that is [00:00:50] not told enough. So thank you for coming with me on this journey.

And now it's your turn to share your stories.[00:01:00] 

Welcome back to the surviving siblings podcast. We are officially in season two and I'm really excited to be back. [00:01:10] And thank you guys so much for supporting me and listening to season one, where I shared my story and my brother's story, Andreas. But now [00:01:20] it's your turn to share your stories. And I am so excited today.

I am fangirling actually today that I have [00:01:30] Dr. Dawn DiRaimondo on my podcast today, she is my inspiration on really [00:01:40] starting. The podcast, the surviving siblings podcast I have shared before. She's a clinical psychologist. She's also the author of I'm gonna pull it up right now.[00:01:50] Surviving sibling lost the invisible thread that connects us through life and death Dawn, welcome to the show.

[00:01:57] Dawn: Thank you so much, Maya. I am so excited and [00:02:00] honored to be a part of this season. So thank you for having me here. 

[00:02:03] Maya: I'm so excited to have you here, and I'm so excited that you are kicking off season two with us, like I said, [00:02:10] and like you heard me as many as well as many other people did. You were the inspiration for me, really getting that kick in the butt to start [00:02:20] this show, this podcast, I loved your book. I love your book. I love your story. So I wanna start with talking about your [00:02:30] incredible brother and obviously his story starting back in 2004. So let's talk about Michael. 

[00:02:38] Dawn: Okay. So let's see, [00:02:40] I was 28 at the time. So this was 2004. My brother was 22. He was a flight medic in the army and he was in Iraq for [00:02:50] almost a year. And he was due to come home like in about six weeks from when we lost him. And he was on a [00:03:00] helicopter and unfortunately the helicopter was shot down and all nine people on board were killed instantly. There was another helicopter with them. And so that's how we know it [00:03:10] happened. They tried to revive everyone and unfortunately they couldn't save every anybody.

And at the time I just recently became a licensed [00:03:20] psychologist. I'm the oldest. And so there's three of us. My sister's about three years younger than me. And then Michael, uh, was about six years younger than me. And so the only [00:03:30] boy, and it just kind of catapulted me into. the world of grief and loss after losing Michael and my family, [00:03:40] unfortunately.


[00:03:42] Maya: It affects the whole family, as we all know. And so many things that I relate to I'm the oldest, as well as we all know, [00:03:50] and we lost our only boy in the family too. And so again, I just connected so much with your story. So tell us a little bit about, I know you [00:04:00] get into this in the book, but to share with all of these incredible surviving siblings here, tell us a little bit about what it was like after you lost Michael, what impact that [00:04:10] had on you as a surviving sibling and your family.

[00:04:14] Dawn: It was shattering to our family. It really was. It felt so [00:04:20] unbelievable and devastating and. My mom, especially needed a ton of support. And so a lot of my [00:04:30] focus for a long time was on trying to support her, my parents in general, but, but a lot for her to try to, [00:04:40] to survive, losing their only son. And, and so for many years, I didn't even feel normal really.

I mean, I looked like I [00:04:50] felt normal. , but I didn't, you know, I talk about that. I presented well. And so I think to other people, they thought I was doing better than I was. And I mentioned this, cuz I'm assuming [00:05:00] that some people listening to this can probably relate. And so unfortunately when you present, well, you don't always get the support you need because people don't know you need it.

 But on the inside I [00:05:10] just felt like I was broken and like a million pieces and then slowly kind of put back together. But really changed a lot. And I felt like I was a really kind a [00:05:20] sweet person before this happened. And then I just felt like I became really jaded and kind of impatient. And it, it was just my way of probably [00:05:30] grieving as I was just hurting, but didn't often show it and just tried to cope and live life and work and support my family.

But it was [00:05:40] really challenging for a long time to, to get through the whole process as best, I guess we could. Yeah, 

[00:05:48] Maya: I think so many people [00:05:50] listening can relate. I relate immensely to this because I love what you're saying about presenting yourself in a certain way, but you feel a totally different way. I love [00:06:00] that.

And I know we connect so deeply on that. I'm sure you guys connect with that as well. And going through life and, and your grief journey that just kind of continues for a while. How [00:06:10] long do you think that that went on for you, Dawn, where you just felt like you were presenting yourself a certain way instead of maybe showing how you felt or do you still do [00:06:20] that in some ways?

[00:06:21] Dawn: Gosh, that's a good question. I don't really know how to totally answer that. I think that. I think it came up that I would act [00:06:30] angry or snappy more than I normally would like that. Wasn't how I used to be, or I'd get tired. I was tired a lot. I feel like grief is really exhausting. And [00:06:40] so for me, it would come out in terms of being exhausted and I would cry, but it would be by myself more often, it wasn't really in front of other people. [00:06:50] And, and especially when I was around my family, I think I was always kind of geared to what can I do to help them a lot of the time. And I know a lot of siblings talk about that, right? Which is why [00:07:00] siblings are often referred to as the forgotten bereaved, because so much attention is in focus is how their parents are doing.

And that is [00:07:10] difficult. So I would say how, I don't know, maybe after a couple of years or a few years, I slowly felt more myself. [00:07:20] but in a different way, but in some ways it was better. I think in a lot of ways before I left my brother, I was a little too much of a people pleaser or too [00:07:30] accommodating, almost to a fault sometimes.

And I think I learned that that's not healthy and I need to make some changes that are actually better [00:07:40] forever. And that happened. I think that I changed in ways that were also healthier as a result of going through losing my brother and the therapy that you [00:07:50] do when you lose the sibling and all of that, you know, a lot of the growth that you make is actually good for you.

[00:07:57] Maya: I, I love that answer. And I love [00:08:00] what you said about the growth aspect of that, because as I've shared with you and all of you guys listening in season one, I went through so much, you [00:08:10] know, of that two presenting and, and deep despair and depression, you name it. And once I came out of that, I found there were some tools in my [00:08:20] belt that I didn't have before.

So I appreciate you sharing that with us. That's huge. And I think that all of you as surviving siblings will find that as well. Dawn, I think [00:08:30] what's really interesting with your story is that Michael, you lost Michael in 2004, but it took, you know, you were, you are a clinical [00:08:40] psychologist and you went, you got married, you opened your practice and time kind of evolved before you wrote the book. Kind of walk us through that journey. 

[00:08:49] Dawn: [00:08:50] Right. So let's see. I lost my brother in 2004. And then I got married in 2006 and had my daughter a year later. So [00:09:00] 2007. So for, and then I had my son in 2010, so I was really busy raising babies and it building a practice. And that was my [00:09:10] focus. And I started doing a lot of grief and loss work in my practice.

And so I see a lot of people that have lost children, siblings, partners. [00:09:20] And so it never even occurred to me to write a book. I didn't even really have a lot of time to read books if I'm totally honest with you. And I'm so thankful for [00:09:30] audible because it, you know, during my commute to work, I started listening to books and I felt like that opened up books for me again, because the books I was reading were children's books to my kids.

I wasn't really reading [00:09:40] self-help books or things like that until I could listen to them in the car going to work. So basically in 2019. I had a client who I was working [00:09:50] with mentioned that there wasn't much written for sibling loss, which of course was my experience. I found one book on sibling loss when I lost Michael.

[00:10:00] And I, I guess I assumed that over so much time, that more would've been added to the literature. And so I looked it up on Amazon after the [00:10:10] session and I found, you know, handful of books on sibling loss, but couldn't believe that there wasn't more and couldn't believe that there's so much more on other types of loss, like pet [00:10:20] loss.

And of course I love my pets, but it doesn't feel okay to me that there isn't enough for sibling loss with how significant of a loss it is. So at [00:10:30] first I just started making notes. Like if I were to write, what would I write about. and I'd put notes in my phone and then I would email it to [00:10:40] myself and it just felt like the floodgates opened.

Like I had so much to say about the topic and how I felt about it. And before long I realized, I think I'm [00:10:50] writing a book like that's, what's happening here. And I started making chapters and I started organizing it. And then I realized being like the bit of the researcher that I am, [00:11:00] that I wanted to interview other people that lost siblings to see which should be in this, what shouldn't be in this, what was helpful to them.

And so I interviewed 14 people that lost siblings, [00:11:10] five of which lost two siblings. So they really, you know, knew a lot about losing siblings. And I was so inspired and moved [00:11:20] by their stories. I realized they, they have to be in this book. And so with permission, of course, I. Shared their stories and quoted them in a lot of ways.

What helped them, what didn't help [00:11:30] them? What do they wish people knew about sibling loss? All of these things that I included in the book as part of it. So [00:11:40] 

[00:11:41] Maya: we hope you're enjoying this incredible episode of this surviving siblings podcast. I'm your host Maya Roffler we'll be back in just a minute after hearing [00:11:50] from our incredible sponsor.

When Dr. Dawn DiRaimondo lost her brother in 2004, she found only one book on sibling loss. At that [00:12:00] time, when she learned in 2019, there was still little written for surviving siblings. She knew it was time to start writing. She mixes [00:12:10] both personal and professional insights throughout her book. Dr. Dawn also interviewed 14 other surviving siblings and shared their stories of what was [00:12:20] most helpful to them in their grieving process.

Her book, surviving sibling loss, the invisible thread that connects us through life and death can [00:12:30] be found on all platforms, Amazon, audible, Kindle, and more. The wish that both Dr. Dawn and I have is to help surviving [00:12:40] siblings feel more understood, validated and less alone in this journey. Her book provides hope that you can find ways to stay connected to your sibling, [00:12:50] honor them, and learn to live with loss without leaving them behind in the grieving process.[00:13:00] 

I think that's one of the many, many things that just compelled me to fall in love with your book [00:13:10] and compelled me to reach out to you and our connection that we have now, which I am so grateful for, but it it's your story, but also there's something for [00:13:20] every surviving sibling within your book. The fact that you share other surviving siblings stories and that, you know, each one of us can connect with a different story [00:13:30] within the book.

I think that was just absolutely brilliant. How you, how you did that and to your point, I mean, I've lost my brother. You've lost your brother for us to sit [00:13:40] here and think about losing another sibling. Blows our socks off. It's like, wow, it's so deep. It's, it's a lot. It's a lot to take on. [00:13:50] And I love that it was one of your clients that came in.

I just wanna go back to that for a second. That came in and said, Dawn, there's actually not a lot of [00:14:00] books still, because this is something that I realized. And I started ordering all these books and I found yours, but there was, it was a handful still when I in year five, a [00:14:10] part of my grief journey was obsessed with getting these books and it was part of my process, but I'm like, it's a small part of my bookshelf.

It's not a huge part of my bookshelf. I [00:14:20] want it to be bigger. So it's interesting. So, but this, you were writing this during your, your notes and then when you eventually wrote this happened during, shall I say [00:14:30] it COVID times, right? This became a, a COVID labor of love for you.

[00:14:34] Dawn: Right. It, it totally, I'm sorry.

I'm hesitating. I think I'm so blown away [00:14:40] by how everything is unfolded, because I didn't realize I would write a book and I do wanna mention that I'm so grateful that you reached out to me and, you know, [00:14:50] connected with me because when you write a book, your hope is that it's gonna help somebody it'll inspire somebody and to find out that it has just [00:15:00] means so much.

So I really wanna thank you. And I appreciate it so much. And it's so cool to hear you tell me that it helped inspire you to start a [00:15:10] podcast, which is what I wanted was to help inspire people that there isn't enough for siblings to try to get through this and to [00:15:20] have podcasts and have more books. And I hope that people listening right now will feel inspired.

We need more so that we can help each other. Because nobody [00:15:30] understands sibling loss the way another sibling does. We wish they did, but our friends don't understand, especially losing someone. If you're younger, a lot of young [00:15:40] people haven't gone through significant loss and they don't relate and they don't know what to say or do.

And so it leaves people really alone with it. And so that's why I feel like we need each [00:15:50] other, especially to kind of help support each other through this time. So, anyhow, I wanna thank you again for reaching out to me.

[00:15:59] Maya: I [00:16:00] mean, it was incredible reading your book and, and getting this connection.

And I shared on season one that I reached out to you and we created this connection and now it's come [00:16:10] full circle. And now you're here kicking off season two with me, which is so awesome, but it really was, it was that kind of final push for me to create [00:16:20] this and to create this podcast, because hearing your story and hearing the stories of the people that you really selected again, [00:16:30] guys, I can't wait for you guys to read this book and you haven't already, I felt like I wasn't alone.

Which is so huge Dawn, and that's what made [00:16:40] me feel like I wanted to give back to the community and create something that I could give. And I love what you're saying too. So I, again, I think it's a big mission for [00:16:50] us and a big part of my personal journey and on your journey as well. And I think you are, what what's interesting to me too, is [00:17:00] that you're a clinical psychologist.

And so you see people and obviously have talked about grief and loss a lot, but you are also [00:17:10] sharing some spiritual aspects in this book. You're sharing your journey, personal things, which we're gonna get into, but I see a lot in, so I wanna talk about a couple things. I see [00:17:20] a lot in groups and a lot of questions and different things about therapy and how to process.

So I wanna talk about a couple of these things if you're okay with that. Yes. [00:17:30] First thing that I see a lot about is therapy. Something that is super important too, obviously you and to me and something, I talked about a lot in season one. [00:17:40] So when, how important do you think therapy is in this process of grieving?

Obviously, I think it is so important, but wanna get your take on it and kind [00:17:50] of your advice on how we should approach this as surviving siblings from a clinical psychologist. 

[00:17:56] Dawn: I think therapy can be so helpful because [00:18:00] a lot of times, again, our partners maybe can't relate our friends can't relate. And even though they wanna support us, they don't know how to, or they don't ask [00:18:10] enough how we're doing.

And. For therapy, you go and you basically talk about whatever you want to, you don't have to worry. You're gonna be too negative or bring the [00:18:20] therapist down or anything like that. It's their job. You're, you're not gonna overwhelm them. It is important to find the right therapist. I will say that I do think you have to possibly meet with a [00:18:30] couple people and find someone that their style works for you.

But then you get to talk about all of the different feelings that come up. There's so many, you know, they talk about [00:18:40] the stages of grief. They don't go in order, but we can have lots of conflicting feelings, feeling sad, feeling disappointed, feeling upset, feeling, let [00:18:50] down by the people we want more support from, but don't get it feeling mad that we've lost our sibling.

You know, our society doesn't give us a lot of help with the grief [00:19:00] process. So, you know, again, a lot of people are really alone with it. And I think when you're in therapy, you feel less alone. You learn. How a lot of your experiences are normal. You learn how to [00:19:10] manage it better. The actual, you know, process of saying things out loud, naming it helps.

It just helps you feel, I think, less intense [00:19:20] around your feelings. So it feels more manageable. So therapy helps with all of that and it can help, you know, when you have triggers, like the birthday of your sibling, [00:19:30] the anniversary of their passing, the holidays, the first of everything, all of that is really challenging.

And so to have someone to talk about it with [00:19:40] how it went, maybe there's family dynamics, everybody grieves differently. So even in your own family, you might find that someone wants to talk about the sibling. The other people don't wanna talk about the sibling. [00:19:50] Like how do you manage all of that? And that's what you do in therapy is you talk about everything.

[00:19:56] Maya: Yeah. That's, you've unpacked so much. And that was [00:20:00] huge for me in my grief journey. And I'm sure for all of you listening. No two people are really gonna grieve exactly alike. And it's something that [00:20:10] you and I have talked about before Dawn. These, you know, people say five stages of grief, seven stages of grief.

You know, that's been, you know, amendments to [00:20:20] whatever you wanna say, but I see people a lot say, oh, I feel like I'm in depression. When do I get to acceptance? When do I get to, oh, I'm in shock. When do I get to this? [00:20:30] I feel like in our society, there's a lot of like a hurry up and get to the, but I, this is again, want you to weigh in on this.

I feel [00:20:40] like we need to understand that acceptance is truly accepting that we're, we're not gonna move on from this in our life. We're gonna move forward. And how do we move forward [00:20:50] in a healthy, positive way? That looks good for us and feels good for us. So how, how does that resonate with you and I'd love for you to weigh in on that?[00:21:00] 

[00:21:00] Dawn: I don't know. I struggle with the word acceptance, cuz to me it feels like you're sort of accepting that it's okay. So I really struggled with that. It just never, it didn't feel okay. [00:21:10] So I don't know. I, I always say there's not enough words for grief. We don't have big enough vocabulary. So it's like we have to borrow these terms, but they're not quite the right terms.[00:21:20] 

And, and I think the rhythm of grief is much more like waves, right? In the beginning, lots of waves. They knock us over, they take our breath away and then [00:21:30] the wave seeds and you know, over time there's less waves, you know, but you know, I mentioned a metaphor now in my [00:21:40] practice because what I've seen with clients is they really did not like the idea that they were getting better.

They felt really conflicted around that. Better felt like they were [00:21:50] betraying their loved one. How could they ever be better? And so I came up with this car metaphor as a replacement, I suppose. And it, so picture this, [00:22:00] so picture a traditional car and you've got the front seat and the passenger seat back seat trunk.

And when people first lose someone or first come into therapy, often [00:22:10] grief is in the driver's seat, right? The crying it's hard to work, they might not be working. It just grief just basically is taking over every part of their life [00:22:20] practically. And any joyful, happy part of them is in the trunk. They can't even imagine ever feeling that again.

But the reality is over time, grief starts shifting, you know, sometimes it's in the [00:22:30] passenger seat or it's a little bit more in the seat and then functions come up. You, you know, you're invited to things again and. Then your joyful happy part sort, [00:22:40] kind of comes outta the trunk and kinda shows up and you smile or you laugh.

All right. So over time there's like a shifting of your grief. And what I found with [00:22:50] clients is they feel like they can get behind that because they don't feel like they're betraying their loved one to have their grief shift. And they're not leaving them behind in the process or quote, moving [00:23:00] on. So that doesn't feel real either.

We don't just like move on. We change and our grief shifts. So that's what I've been using. 

[00:23:07] Maya: Yeah. I'm so with you, because move [00:23:10] the term, move on. Or like the quote move on was such a trigger for me. And I never knew why. And like people saying, I wanna get to acceptance [00:23:20] or people telling me, like, you need to get to the point where you accept it, because I would have family members and even friends tell me, you need to accept it.

Huge triggers for me. And I didn't know why. [00:23:30] And reading your book, knowing you Dawn and knowing fellow surviving siblings and getting more educated and understanding myself more in this [00:23:40] process made me realize it's triggering because it's not realistic. It's not where where we need to live or where we want to live, because it's not [00:23:50] really healthy.

We want to move forward in a healthy way, in a way that we feel permission within ourselves in a way that's healthy. And that's why I'm. [00:24:00] Obsessed with your, the ocean and the waves. Love it, obsessed with it, but your car metaphor is everything. It's everything. I [00:24:10] remember the first time you told me this, and I hope you guys take this away.

Just take so much away, from this metaphor as much as I did, [00:24:20] because it just resonated so much for me, because I remember I literally, as you say this, as you talk about being in the driver's seat and then everything being in the trunk and then [00:24:30] potentially, you know, maybe you get in the passenger side and that's the, the grief, you know, and the grief kind of moving.

Maybe it's in the backseat. At some point, I visualize that. And I really think [00:24:40] as humans, we're people that need visuals. , that's why the tides work with us and the, the waves work with us and being able to visualize that. And that's why I think your car [00:24:50] metaphor is just wonderful and it works so great because I go back to right when my brother.

Died. And the homicide had [00:25:00] just happened. And I remember grief was in the driver's seat. I didn't even have my hands on the steering wheel. I was like flying down. We're here in [00:25:10] Atlanta. So if you guys are familiar like 85 or 75, and it was all over the place, a major interstate here, a mess. Right. So I can visualize that Dawn.

[00:25:19] Dawn: [00:25:20] Right. And I don't even know if I should ask, but where do you feel like your grief is now? 

[00:25:28] Maya: You can definitely ask me that. I [00:25:30] love that you're asking me that I feel that my grief will always be in the backseat a little bit. And I'm okay with that. And this might be really descriptive, but I'd [00:25:40] love to hear your input on this.

I feel like my grief is kind of like. Small memory of my brother, like [00:25:50] a little artifact in the back of my brother, like this picturesque thing of him in the back. And sometimes when things happen, it moves, it moves like [00:26:00] when you guys are hearing this episode, it'll be a week away from our birthday. and that's when it moves, it moves, it comes up to the [00:26:10] driver's seat with me and it kind of, I'm not gonna I'm I'm not gonna drive off the interstate again.

It's not gonna happen like that. Nope. We're six years in not gonna happen that way. [00:26:20] 

[00:26:20] Dawn: Good. 

[00:26:20] Maya: Um, but right, good. That's a good thing 

[00:26:24] Dawn: we want you here, right? Yeah. Yeah. 

[00:26:27] Maya: But in the metaphor of it, I [00:26:30] know. And I'm but the beautiful thing is I'm aware of, of that. And I know that that's gonna be a, a difficult day for me.

But I also have these things that I do where I honor [00:26:40] him and I'm aware of this. Right. And I'm aware that that, that presence that I have in the back seat for him, right. That I always have is [00:26:50] gonna be a little more upfront, might be in the driver's seat a little bit more and see I've, I've used your metaphor ever since, like, I love it so much.

I've really thought about this. So I love that you asked this, [00:27:00] but it's, it's, it's there and you know what, and then it, it's probably gonna move to the passenger. And then maybe in the back again, it's always gonna be there just, just, just a bit. [00:27:10] And then on his, you know, I've heard so many amazing terms as we move through this, like connection with other surviving siblings, people say death date, some people say [00:27:20] angel birthday, all these beautiful terms.

I love it. That's another hard one where he comes back up. As I like to say into the kind of, you know, the grief back into [00:27:30] the driver, but I'm not gonna drive off the road. Right. It's it's there, but I'm aware of it now. So that's where I am. It's probably more complicated answer than somebody first coming [00:27:40] into your office, Dawn, but that's where I am now.


[00:27:43] Dawn: Well, and it speaks to that it's become more manageable. Right? And it's fluid. It kind of, there's a [00:27:50] fluidity to it. You know, that the grief moves around it's it feels more manageable. And my guess is people listening to this? If they're in the very beginning stages there, it's like hard to [00:28:00] believe that it ever feels manageable.

That there's really gonna be joy again. And my hope too, is that you and I give people hope like there is right. There's still really hard days. [00:28:10] And the grief moves around in the car. It moves around in our lives and our souls and our heart, but there, there are days of joy and it does feel more manageable.

And that [00:28:20] is, , what people can expect. And I don't know if look forward to is the right word, but that can happen. Right. But doing the work, maybe that means [00:28:30] therapy. Maybe that means journaling. Maybe that means yoga being careful that they're not doing negative things, right. Don't drink this away or, you know, get into an [00:28:40] addiction to not feel it because all that does is prolongs.

It grateful weight. I say that all the time, grateful weight until you're ready. So if you talk about it, you name it, [00:28:50] that's being with it and that's processing it. And that's where you're gonna have a healthier outcome. And you know, maybe for people, their grief process is different. [00:29:00] Maybe they're gonna, maybe they won't start a podcast per se, but maybe they'll participate in walks, right outta the darkness.

Suicide walk had people have really positive experiences [00:29:10] from participating in that. Maybe you lost your sibling to cancer or health issue. Maybe you can participate in those things, but. Doing something makes you feel [00:29:20] better. It makes you feel like your grief, energy is being channeled somewhere. And that helps.[00:29:30] 

[00:29:30] Maya: I love that you brought that up because that's all coming up on this season. I feel like you just gave us a preview. Like that's amazing Dawn. That's incredible. But I also love that you brought that up [00:29:40] because I personally, as I shared before, I've done some of those negative things and it prolonged my grief.

Right. And I have seen people do [00:29:50] that. And I'm sure some of you listening may be thinking, oh gosh, I am doing that. Maybe I am, you know, doing some of those things, those things to numb and prolong. [00:30:00] And I think it's important to know that you're human things happen, but it's about what we do next. Right? How do we move forward?

the [00:30:10] key thing that we say here and. Yeah, I, I love what you said about being a part of something and doing something actively. And it doesn't mean you have to write a book like you did, or do a [00:30:20] podcast like me, but being a part of something definitely makes you feel more connected. That's what it did for me and made me feel like I was able to [00:30:30] honor.

It makes me feel like I'm able to honor Andreas and I'm sure you feel the same way. , but also give back and help others. 

[00:30:39] Dawn: Absolutely. [00:30:40] It's healing. It just feels a good energy, right? It just makes you feel, I don't know, connected. [00:30:50] It's a, it's been really heal healing to write this book, absolutely. To connect with the people I interviewed for the book to have it feel so validating.

That's what I was so struck by. [00:31:00] Whether they had lost their sibling with six months or 19 years, the intensity of how connected they still felt and how [00:31:10] impacted they were came through in every interview. And it, I was like, wow, this is, this is really something. And I'm really glad, like I'm finally [00:31:20] right.

Putting a voice to it, or like you are like, it feels so important to do that because people just don't know. I think so few people understand the [00:31:30] magnitude of how much you're affected and hurt and changed by losing a sibling so much. 

[00:31:36] Maya: Absolutely. You brought up like 12 great points [00:31:40] there, but I'll just try to pinpoint over some really strong ones.

So one thing that you brought up is the. Right because it's like, I mean, we could get into a whole other [00:31:50] episode about this, the concept of time. right. But it's something that I've uncovered too. And it's something you do so beautifully in your book with people who have lost, you know, their [00:32:00] siblings and different amounts of time that have passed.

It doesn't really matter. Right. Because we move forward and we've talked about this already, but it's, you've still [00:32:10] lost your sibling. The pain is there. It's what you do and how you move forward. And I think that's so important for all of you who are listening and do listen to this podcast and, and read [00:32:20] Dawn's book.

It's important to validate that, like, I love that you said that that's a huge word. And it was validating for me to, to know, because hearing from [00:32:30] so many people I've heard from people who have lost someone within a week, a sibling within a week, a day, a couple hours and 40 something, 50 [00:32:40] something years.

So it's like. It is with you. It is with you. It's powerful stuff, really powerful stuff. [00:32:50] Something I wanna go back to just for a second Dawn, while we have you here, because this is you are the person to ask. You mentioned this briefly, it's really [00:33:00] important who you go to for therapy and therapy has been integral in obviously this grief journey for me, but in my life in general, I'm a huge [00:33:10] fan obviously, but in my grief journey it's been, I, I don't, I don't think I'd be here having this conversation with you and with all of you guys, if I didn't go through [00:33:20] this, and I see a lot in groups where, , surviving siblings ha struggle with it because sometimes they'll go to a therapist and they feel like it's not a fit, or maybe the [00:33:30] timing is off or, , the connection's not there or fill in the blank.

Right. And they feel defeated. So coming from you. A clinical [00:33:40] psychologist who does this on a daily basis. What's some advice that you can give our incredible surviving siblings about therapy. Because again, I feel like it's so important in the process. 

[00:33:50] Dawn: Well, a great website is called psychology and you put in your zip code, so you could see people's profiles, pictures, what we write [00:34:00] about what types of specialties they have.

And I would start with that. If people are trying to use insurance, I will tell you it's difficult to find a therapist that takes your [00:34:10] insurance. You can filter on psychology today by insurance company, by specialty, I'd recommend putting grief in lost so that you're getting a therapist that. Does a lot of [00:34:20] work around significant loss and, and not all do, especially if you have a younger therapist, they maybe haven't gone through it.

So I would do that. If you have to use in your, your [00:34:30] insurance, I would put in the insurance, I would also be open to paying private pay. , it's I think therapy's the best investment you can make in your life. As you're talking about, [00:34:40] you could go every other week that helps. So it's not weekly if it gets too expensive, but I think it's the best money that you could spend is on yourself.

And so when you read their [00:34:50] different, you know, profiles, it kind of gives you a little bit of a sense of them. And then again, I would go and I would meet, I would call and, and try and leave messages. And I will tell you, a lot of people [00:35:00] are full these days. COVID has blown the field up, which I guess is good in some ways, but it makes it more difficult to get in with somebody.

So if you leave a message, I would give [00:35:10] them some information. Of that you lost a sibling. You're looking to get in therapy. If they're full, could you go on their waiting list? Because you might have to go on someone's [00:35:20] waiting list. You'll eventually get in, but if you're persistent, you follow up again in a month or whatnot, you'll get in eventually.

So I would recommend that and I would meet with two or three people and [00:35:30] see who feels right for you. But that, those would be my recommendations in finding the right person. You could always ask for a referral, meaning if you have a friend who likes their therapist, although [00:35:40] therapists can't see close friends and they can't often see family members because they're, we're not supposed to learn about a, a client through somebody else.

Right? So if your best friend goes in and [00:35:50] complains about you, and then you're like in the next day, they've already heard the story. They won't do that. But if you know somebody or that used to see a therapist that they really like referrals are [00:36:00] good, but that website psychology is a great resource. I'd recommend that.

[00:36:06] Maya: A great, great re uh, great resource and [00:36:10] thank you for breaking down referrals, because I do think that's something that not everyone understands. It's a great. Thing that happens. And I've referred people to [00:36:20] my psychologist therapist that I've been to, but at the same point, like your bestie can't go to your therapist and then you can't like work it out and like fighting over, like what [00:36:30] happened at happy hour.

Like not a thing, bring situation to bring some levity while we're talking about a very, , very important topic. [00:36:40] So yeah, no, just wanted you to wait in on that because I see to your point during COVID and you know, all these groups that I'm in, where you guys are coming from and listening to, I appreciate [00:36:50] it.

But wanting to support, I think support groups are really great, too. Nonprofit support groups, things like that. But the one on one therapy I do think is, is [00:37:00] really important and key. So I wanted to make sure that we gave that a moment in this episode, Dawn, that you were able to give some advice on that and how to get in [00:37:10] and don't give up because I think sometimes we get deterred.

If it's not, we feel like, oh, Nope, that person wasn't the right fit. And that's okay. It's kind of like, I don't wanna say it, [00:37:20] but it's kind of like dating. You have to kind of go in front of the person and until it's the right fit. And like, you're not gonna go on one date with someone and be like, okay, I'm never gonna [00:37:30] get married again because I didn't like that date.

Right. I agree. Yeah. how their works. 

[00:37:37] Dawn: Some people are scared of it, but I think people [00:37:40] often find that they like it a lot more than they thought they would. That it's really nice to have an hour in a week or. however, often you go where you just [00:37:50] stop and you reflect, how am I doing what happened? Like just to make sense of your life and get more support.

I mean, who doesn't want that? And I [00:38:00] have to tell you, I think it's one of the few places that you're not sharing someone's attention with their phone. I mean, because your therapist is not on their phone, they're not looking at their phone, they're looking at you [00:38:10] and I don't know anywhere else. When you really think about it, even with your friends, even with your partner, they often have their phone next to them.

And they're often looking at their phone [00:38:20] while they're with you. Right? I mean, I, I kind of do that even with my own family. Like they, I'm sometimes distracted by my phone and that doesn't happen in a therapy [00:38:30] session. Like they're, they're really just focused on you. And I think that's also really helpful.

[00:38:37] Maya: I didn't even think about that perspective, but [00:38:40] of course, like I do when, when we chat, I'm thinking back to my own personal experience and you feel like there's no one else in the world, it's just kind of you. Right. And you [00:38:50] really get that a hundred, like 150% attention. And I personally, I feel like I've left and I feel [00:39:00] lighter.

Like that takes time. I do think, but that's my personal experience. And, and I've shared that, but such a great point that you shared things for sharing that too. So yes, don't [00:39:10] give up is our message. Please be consistent because I think it's really important in the process. But I wanna shift again and talk about, so we're talking about therapy.

One, I wanna [00:39:20] shift to spiritual a little bit, because what I think is so powerful about you Dawn and also about the book is one. Yes. You're a clinical psychologist. [00:39:30] Yes. You've written this incredible book. Yes. You've taken stories from surviving sibling. But you also have a spiritual component to the book.

Do you wanna [00:39:40] talk about that a little bit and your perspective, because I think it's interesting to be a clinical psychologist, but also be open to this perspective.

[00:39:46] Dawn: It is. I do think we should talk about it and I have to tell you, it took me a [00:39:50] long time before I was open with people about the spiritual part.

I think you were gonna be talking about, so yeah, let's do it. 

[00:39:57] Maya: Yeah. So as I [00:40:00] shared on season one, I ended up going to see the same person that is mentioned in Dawn's book. [00:40:10] the same medium and my personal relationship with the spiritual side mediums, anything like that. I was really quite open [00:40:20] to it prior to the loss of my brother.

And my shift was. Kind of to shut everything down after the loss of my brother. And I found [00:40:30] myself in year five, opening that side back up again, especially after reading your book, but I was guarded in who to trust and so [00:40:40] wanted to do a lot of research on whomever I went to and definitely research this particular, medium and loved your book and knew you were credible [00:40:50] and kind of went all in and saw him before I reached out to you.

So, but wanna hear a little bit more about your experience. We want you guys to read the book and hear the whole experience, but [00:41:00] wanna hear about your journey. And we'll kind of talk about the medium aspect and we'll dive into this, but this was something that I finally opened up to in my fifth year. It was a part of my journey, [00:41:10] you know? Right. 

[00:41:10] Dawn: So I think what happened when I first lost my brother, I wanted to know everything about what he. Went through meaning I [00:41:20] read about near death experiences, theories of the afterlife. Like it became like a second dissertation to me. I really wanted to know where is he now?

Where did he [00:41:30] go through? And in doing that, we came along books about from mediums, which are people that believe that they can see and hear from people [00:41:40] that have passed on or to the other side, as they would say. And we went to several different mediums until another mom who lost her son in Iraq, [00:41:50] recommended the medium I talk about in the book.

And he was amazing. And I think that for some people, they just have to know their [00:42:00] loved one is okay. Still exists somewhere that we will be together. Again, they, they just need that to get through and we needed that. That needed to be a part of [00:42:10] our. Experience to provide a little bit of comfort and that's what happened.

I mean, literally we felt like we connected [00:42:20] with my brother and it felt really validating. I don't know how much you want me to talk about and what a session with a medium was like. , but it was a really [00:42:30] helpful in our grief process in believing that he does still exist on another or in another dimension somewhere.

[00:42:38] Maya: Yeah. I think [00:42:40] that, that is the key message, right? I think a lot of people feel conflicted. So this is another thing that I've gotten quite a few messages [00:42:50] about, , post season one and also in a lot of groups. And what, what does it mean to go see a medium? Who do I trust? [00:43:00] Who should I open up to? And this is so I'll kind of give you this and then I want your take because.

I I followed suit. I read your book and I saw the same person [00:43:10] because I he's very credible. Excellent, excellent. I mean, hit the nail, the head and I will get into that in a second, but, , I see people sometimes in [00:43:20] groups and this is, this is for all of you out there. If you're kind of fresh, this is my take.

If you're kind of fresh in grief or if you're kind of vulnerable or willing to tell people too much and [00:43:30] stuff, I kind of say, hold off, that's kind of me because I, if, if you're going to someone that's a true medium or someone that's truly has this gift, [00:43:40] they, they know, but that's kind of my take. So coming from you, Dawn who experienced this, went into this like a dissertation.

I love that. I love it so much. , which is why [00:43:50] I was like the logical brain and the Yamo Virgo. So I'm very logical. So I, I was attracted to that in your book, like you would about this very logically. I, I, that resonated [00:44:00] with me and. It's not that I wanna be skeptical, but I want to know that this is really the person that they're speaking to on the other side.

And I was [00:44:10] very much like you in, in the exact like year to two years after I lost my brother, I wanted to know exactly what happened. I was like an FBI agent, like trying to figure [00:44:20] it all out. And as that time went by things shift in what you want to know. , I think you always kind of wanna know that's, you know, we always wanna know the [00:44:30] unknown as humans, but, , I think the ultimate you hit the nail in the head with that.

We wanna know they're okay. We love them that never fades. And so going into [00:44:40] selecting a medium, or if you're gonna go that route. Giving that advice. I, I know this is kind of a big question, but what advice would you, would you give? Because I, sometimes I feel [00:44:50] people are either so antied or are, are maybe a little too vulnerable going into it, but would love to hear your take on that.

[00:44:57] Dawn: I think if somebody's to is anti and [00:45:00] it's not for them, then don't do it. That's okay. You don't have to do it. People have to wait three months. That's usually the feedback is you should wait three months, so you can't do it right in the very, very beginning. [00:45:10] And if someone's open, I'd get a referral from someone who's actually seeing the person and go, and basically the kind of validation you often get [00:45:20] is how the person died, what their personal's like, what they look like.

In some cases, maybe you'll get a name, maybe you won't, but you'll get enough validating [00:45:30] information that you, that you believe like this is who they're connecting to, but a medium is going to basically. anyone you've lost could come through 'em in a session. [00:45:40] So with a good medium, you won't give them a name.

You won't give them a picture. They'll tell you who showed up in the session, they'll say like to your right. I see these people or [00:45:50] to your left. There's something about like the mother's side, family side. I can't remember which side is right or left, but they'll say, oh, the spirit came forward. Now they've backed off.

And, and so the spirit will try to [00:46:00] give the medium information or make the medium feel something in their body. So sometimes if someone was shot or had a lung cancer, they'll say I feel a heaviness in my chest, [00:46:10] or I feel a pain in my head or something. And they'll basically say, does this, does this make sense to you?

That's all I want you to say, don't give me information. Does this make sense to you so that all that information feels [00:46:20] validating that they're connecting to your loved one? so, and I do think the timing matters and if someone's not ready, don't do it. Wait, you don't, it's only one [00:46:30] part of grieving one tool in the tool bag, right.

It's not gonna speed up grieving with the grief process. So I think it's fine when someone [00:46:40] feels like they're ready, then do it. And if it's not for you, that's okay, too. So that's what I would say. So you said that mm-hmm 

[00:46:47] Maya: yes, exactly. I'm so glad you said that because [00:46:50] for me, I, I just, for some reason, and, and this probably blew some people's minds because I was so open, like I've seen an astrologer since I was 17 [00:47:00] years old been like reading our family for a really long time. I was really open, I'd see mediums, like in my twenties, but like something [00:47:10] shifted in me, Dawn, like something had shifted and I was like, no. And then all of a sudden I was ready. So I love your advice. Just kind of trust and, and believe. But, [00:47:20] you know, I.

I love how I was going in very hesitant and open at the same time, [00:47:30] because I do think you have to be open, cuz I think it's a struggle if you're not open. , but the same thing is with therapy, the same thing is with anything that you're trying to do to help yourself move [00:47:40] forward. It's the key here. And, , what was interesting for me in the session was he nailed so much and there were [00:47:50] so many, like I can't really think of anything that wasn't accurate.

there was maybe one or two things that I didn't understand. I didn't know [00:48:00] those things at the time when my brother had passed, there was one or two people he mentioned there's probably friends of his that I didn't know. But one thing that I believed I shared on [00:48:10] the season, , prior was that he had told me that I would be the voice for my brother and I had no idea what [00:48:20] that meant.

This was in August August of 2021 prior to, , you know, ever thinking of, of doing this ever sitting [00:48:30] here with you, Dawn ever doing anything. And you know, said that my brother would be with me and it was really wild. And then I ended up connecting with you and reaching out to [00:48:40] you and. Kind of the rest was history, you know, the podcast happened and then it, it hit me one day when I was sitting in my little recording studio.

[00:48:50] Oh my God. , I'm sitting here being his voice. It was wild. It was wild, but he, he nailed everything. He said it was my brother. He nailed the age, how he passed. [00:49:00] I mean, there, there were no minced words, you know, it was, he said he was, he was murdered. It was a homicide. It was, you know, very which, which for me to your [00:49:10] point on, was clarifying for me because that was never said in such clarity in, in my story.

Right. Wow. From someone. So that's what [00:49:20] I needed to hear. And nobody knew that that was not like public knowledge, this podcast wasn't out or anything like that. So, , it's interesting, but I know that this same [00:49:30] medium gave you some advice too, that you 

didn't know right. Yeah.

[00:49:35] Dawn: That was funny many years ago. I think he said it a couple times [00:49:40] that I was gonna write a book and I just laughed. I had two little kids at the time and I was like, I'm not gonna write a book. I can't even, I don't even have time to read books. Like, and I thought, well, you know, he is not [00:49:50] right about everything. So this is just one of those things he's not correct about.

And, and it really wasn't because he suggested it. It really was when my client mentioned that there wasn't much written on [00:50:00] sibling loss. , so it's like, he knows the future too. You know, he's got some insights, , into what's gonna happen. You know, another idea for people is that [00:50:10] sometimes it's nice to see a medium around their birthdays or the anniversary of their passing.

You know, it's kind of a, something you can [00:50:20] look forward to. Cause it feels like a little bit of a visit with them. Yeah. So that's an idea. If anyone was thinking about it, would I do this or when would I do this? It's kind of a nice way to kind of [00:50:30] celebrate their birthday or their passing the anniversary or the holidays or something like that. So. 

[00:50:38] Maya: and I love that. I love that [00:50:40] idea and I, I will definitely do this again. Like it, it definitely opened me back up to this and I'm so glad that it did. And [00:50:50] it, that is what gave me the push to connect with you. And here we are talking about this. It's so interesting how the world works. Right? It's, it's a beautiful thing.

So [00:51:00] I, we had to cover all of that. I, because it's just so much other people's stories going to therapy, but also the spiritual aspect of this, because I love that [00:51:10] you, that really sets you apart, Dawn, that you cover that as well. And it's, I think it's a beautiful thing that you do that and incorporate that, but I wanna [00:51:20] ask you.

To kind of fill in anything that I may have missed because you are just a wealth of your wealth of knowledge with sibling loss and you [00:51:30] are much further along in your grief journey than I am. I'm coming up on six years. So what advice would you give to all of us as surviving siblings? If you could go [00:51:40] back in time and look at yourself early Dr. Dawn . 

[00:51:45] Dawn: Oh my goodness. 

[00:51:46] Maya: And give, give yourself advice right after you lost Michael or [00:51:50] maybe all of us, as we're earlier in our journey. What's some advice that you could give us some, some points that maybe we missed. 

[00:51:56] Dawn: You know, I think what I wanna say is like, even [00:52:00] connecting with you is a really good example of something like you would've never guess of how things would go, because it all feels so bad in the beginning, so [00:52:10] terrible and upsetting and shattering and all this stuff. But the reality is it's not just that, that there really are some changes and some [00:52:20] things that come into your life or some people that come into your life that are positive.

Right. And even in the book, I talk about the gifts left behind and I ask the [00:52:30] interviewers, how has your life actually changed or from the loss that's positive. And what I feel like is that I've [00:52:40] really learned to not take time for granted and not take relationships for granted. And I think it helps you really prioritize what really means the most [00:52:50] to me.

And does your calendar match your priorities? Right? Like if you tell me this is, this person means a lot to you or this. activity or whatnot, and yet you [00:53:00] never make time for it. I think it's time to reevaluate how you're living your life. And I think when we lose a sibling, it rocks us to the core and it's a really good wake up call of what are you [00:53:10] doing and how do you wanna proceed?

And so some of these changes actually help you live more enhanced, enlightened lives. If you're open [00:53:20] to that eventually, right. It's really hard in the beginning, but if you're open to that, there are really unexpected blessings along the way you being one of [00:53:30] them, I'm very appreciative of you. And I'm so glad of what you're doing for this community.

And again, it was an unexpected [00:53:40] light or a part of this process. I would've never anticipated. I would, I didn't realize I was gonna write this book. And so I think people knowing that if you're open and you [00:53:50] like, let yourself connect with other people, like good things are gonna happen to, and some of the changes you make in your life.

Will literally help your life in the future. [00:54:00] Like, I'm really clear now about certain choices I make. And I have to tell you, I see people who have not gone through significant loss and they, [00:54:10] I don't think they have the same clarity. I don't think they prioritize their relationships the way I would, where they even their parenting or what they're [00:54:20] doing is a little different.

Because I think when you've lost someone precious to you, you're careful with what you do with your time and your choices. And I think that's a gift. [00:54:30] So I guess I wanted to mention that too, cause I think it's important. 

[00:54:36] Maya: Okay. Now I'm emotional. He got me emotional because, sorry. [00:54:40] That's it's no, it's so accurate.

Like that was so beautifully said, Dawn, like. I'm sure you guys feel [00:54:50] that, but it's, it gets, I feel like it gets deeper and deeper every day, every month, every year. And as hard as this is as [00:55:00] difficult as this is, it is not something that you wish on anyone or I would ever like to go through again. right.

But [00:55:10] like you said, to, to go through it and to see what you can get O out on the other side of it, I agree with you completely. I [00:55:20] watch people and, and the people I've connected with like yourself. I watch them as individuals in their relationships, as, you know, husband, [00:55:30] wife, mother, or father, you know, whatever right in work and whatever they're doing.

And every moment counts for them in a different way. When you see significant loss in [00:55:40] somebody's life. And I think that's. It's, it's almost indescribable and you've described it and I think I could not have done that. So thank you [00:55:50] for sharing that with us. And so that prompts me for one more thing.

Before I talk about where we can find all of your incredible work and your book is I wanna talk about, , I know [00:56:00] you and I have talked about this, but wanna mention this, you and I have this in common as well. Our, our spouses have not technically gone through such a significant loss, and this is [00:56:10] something I see come up as well.

And so this kind of goes with what you were just talking about. So can't close this out without talking about this love to hear your advice to, [00:56:20] again, the incredible thriving siblings, listening on how, how we communicate that to our significant other [00:56:30] spouse. , loved one who, who maybe not understands.

Such a significant loss, right? Because they may not operate in that way. Right. Because we are [00:56:40] operating in the way that you've just beautifully described. What's some advice that you can give, cuz I see this a lot again, this is another question I get a lot or I see a lot of feedback on,

[00:56:49] Dawn: I think it's a great [00:56:50] question. And I had to tell my then boyfriend now, husband, when I first lost my brother, that I needed him to ask me how I was doing and that [00:57:00] I knew I would say fine or something sort of, you know, surface initially. And then I needed him to ask me how I was really doing so that we both knew that meant, how am I doing [00:57:10] about losing Michael?

And that was helpful because I needed him to know how I was really doing and not assume I was [00:57:20] okay or I wanted to really talk about it. And so I would recommend that people tell their partners, maybe even their close friends, please ask me how I'm doing about [00:57:30] my sibling. How I'm really doing. And so that it goes deeper.

I mean, you basically have to tell people what you need, like tell them how you want them to [00:57:40] support you. I know my sister asked her best friend to put on her calendar every year for us. It was January 8th, every year, check in with me and reach out [00:57:50] to me. She needed to have at least someone outside of our family know what that day meant to her.

And I will say actually, one of the best parts of social media, I think [00:58:00] is how it can be used around grief because you could post something and it gives people a really easy way to engage with you. They can do a heart or the like, or a comment, [00:58:10] or they could say, oh, I missed your brother too. And I love him.

And, and it feels like it's this nice way of being able to get support and acknowledge the birthdays, the anniversaries, things [00:58:20] like that. So I would encourage people to consider using social media in that way, because you might be surprised at how helpful and supportive it [00:58:30] feels to. People's comments and reactions to know that they still think about your sibling or they're thinking about you, cuz that's what we want.

Right. We want to know that people still love and [00:58:40] remember them and that, that they're doing that with us. And again, that we're not alone in it. So that's what I would recommend is telling people specifically how they can support you [00:58:50] and maybe engaging on social media around the important days for you.

[00:58:57] Maya: Love it. Yep. We could not [00:59:00] leave today without talking about that because it's something I see all the time and it's something I've gone through personally. And I know that you've [00:59:10] gone through it and have been able to come out on the other side and have a great partner and great relationship. But it's, and I'm, I am very lucky too.[00:59:20] 

I I'm the same way I've had to say, like, I need this. I need to be able to talk about Andreas right now. Hey, today needs to be about Andreas. And he's walked down to that Creek with [00:59:30] me and thrown the sunflowers and just held my hand. But if I didn't know how to finally like step up and say, no, I need you to do this with me. How [00:59:40] would he know? He's not a mind reader.

[00:59:42] Dawn: Exactly. And people say all the time. Well, if they really loved me, they would know no, like time out don't we all want people to read our minds. Not true. [00:59:50] They do love you. They do wanna support you. They don't know what to do. A lot of times people are afraid. If they bring it up, it'll make you sad. And so they don't wanna bring it [01:00:00] up. And maybe you're someone that you don't want it brought up. I don't know. But if you are someone that wants them to ask, then you need to ask them, tell your partner or your friends, like, please ask [01:00:10] me how I'm doing, or please bring it up. Don't be afraid to bring it up. It's not gonna upset me. It actually helps me for you to ask me about how I'm doing. [01:00:20] 

[01:00:20] Maya: I love it. Let 'em know where you are in the car, 

[01:00:23] Dawn: right, right. That's another way you can say it. Like, Hey, my grief is really in the front seat today. Like I [01:00:30] need you, or I need to talk about it. I need to look at pictures together.

I need, you know, whatever it is that you need, tell people. So, or go on, maybe [01:00:40] some of these there's I know there's a lot of sibling loss, Facebook groups maybe participate in a group, put a post there. People will definitely comment and reach out and [01:00:50] support you. So 

[01:00:52] Maya: yeah, they definitely will. And, and we will too. So Dawn, where can they reach out to you? Where can they find you and where can they find [01:01:00] surviving sibling loss? The invisible thread that connects us through life and death. 

[01:01:05] Dawn: My book is available on Amazon and audible and [01:01:10] Kindle and every format and platform that. Was available. I wanted this book, , available to them. So I think the book is [01:01:20] everywhere. I'm in California. And so I'm only if it, I don't know, people are thinking of getting a therapist, but, , I'm only licensed in California, but [01:01:30] my website let's see, you'll probably put it in your notes. Yep. , anyhow, I think they could in my [01:01:40] email, maybe you'll put that in the notes too.

If people wanna reach out to me directly, but I really encourage anyone listening to this. If you feel [01:01:50] alone, please try to connect. Find a group, social media. Maybe you reach out to Maya or myself and don't do this alone. [01:02:00] Get into therapy. It's too hard to do alone. So. Right. 

[01:02:05] Maya: Agreed and read Dawn's book. You can find it in our show notes and you can connect with Dawn as [01:02:10] well in our show notes. And of course with us Dawn, thank you so much for being here and kicking off season two with me, this has been so much fun. Thank you so much.

[01:02:17] Dawn: I'm so excited and I'm so excited for your second [01:02:20] season. I cannot wait to listen to it myself, and thank you so much for having me hear Maya. 

[01:02:25] Maya: Thank you so much for listening to the surviving siblings podcast.[01:02:30] 

If you enjoyed this episode, as much as I did creating it for you, then share it on your chosen social media platform. And don't forget to tag us at [01:02:40] surviving siblings podcast so that more surviving siblings can find us, remember to rate, review, and subscribe to the podcast. And don't [01:02:50] forget to follow us on all social media platforms.

We're on Instagram, Twitter, and TikTok at surviving siblings podcast. All links can be [01:03:00] found in the show notes. So be sure to check those out too. Thank you again for the support until the next episode. Keep on surviving my surviving [01:03:10] siblings.[01:03:20] 

Dawn DiRaimondo, Psy.D.Profile Photo

Dawn DiRaimondo, Psy.D.

Psychologist & Author

Dr. Dawn DiRaimondo is a clinical psychologist in Sacramento, California. She lost her brother, Michael in 2004, while he was serving as a flight medic in Iraq. This life-changing experience deeply impacted both her personal life and career. Dr. Dawn specializes in grief and loss in her private practice and published her first book, "Surviving Sibling Loss: The Invisible Thread That Connects Us Through Life and Death" in 2020. Her other areas of clinical interest include seeing people with depression, anxiety, and ADHD.