When author Dawn DiRaimondo, PsyD, lost her brother in 2004, she found only one book on sibling loss. So, she wrote the book she wished she had then.
Surviving Sibling Loss: The Invisible Thread that Connects Us Through Life and Death is the gold standard of grief books, helping not only people who are grieving but also their therapists, partners, and friends better support their loved ones. The chapters are deliberately short and full of easy-to-find resources, and the book can be read cover to cover or picked up and put down again. This structure aids those who are struggling, who fatigue and lose focus easily under the weight of their grief.
Author Dawn DiRaimondo, Psy.D is taking her latest book, Surviving Sibling Loss: The Invisible Thread That Connects Us Through Life and Death on tour – a Virtual Book Tour, that is, with Outskirts Press! Technology has created a wide variety of ways to reach audiences all over the world. All it takes is a little thinking outside the box, and nowadays you can market a self-published book in a variety of affordable and impactful ways. Virtual book tours, for example, are a great way to connect with readers from all corners of the globe, all from the comfort of your own home. Join Dawn DiRaimondo, Psy.D and Surviving Sibling Loss: The Invisible Thread That Connects Us Through Life and Death as they appear in features and interviews (such as the one below) in the weeks and months ahead!
OP: Tell us a little bit about Surviving Sibling Loss: The Invisible Thread That Connects Us Through Life and Death. What is it about?
Dawn: Surviving Sibling Loss interweaves both my personal and professional experience with sibling loss. I begin with my own experience of losing my younger brother in 2004, while he was serving in Iraq. I also interviewed fourteen people that also lost one, and in several cases, two siblings. If people can’t relate to losing a sibling through war, they may relate to losing siblings through suicide, cancer, accidents, homicide and more. I share clinical insights about bereavement, as well as a chapters with excerpts from my interviews and a chapter on all of the most helpful things we did to cope after the death of our siblings. This book is designed to not only help people that have experienced significant loss, but also the people in their lives (parents, partners, friends and even therapists) that want to better understand how to support them. My hope is that after reading (or listening to) my book, surviving siblings are left feeling understood, validated and have a number of ideas on how to both navigate through their grief, and continue to honor their lost siblings as well.
OP: Why did you decide to write this story?
Dawn: When my brother, Michael, died in 2004, I found only one book written about the loss of a sibling. Last fall, one of my clients shared with me that there wasn’t much written about sibling loss. I looked into it and found only a handful of books, and even less on Audible. I was disappointed and surprised to learn this and knew I needed to write this book. Siblings often feel lost in the grief process, as most of the focus and support (including their own) is geared towards their parents. The significance of what is feels like to go through life without one’s brother and/or sister is vastly unknown to others. Many people, including myself, report feeling like a part of them has died too after losing a sibling and have no idea how to process that level of grief. As a psychologist, I specialize in working with people who have gone through significant loss. Young people especially feel alone in their grief, as most people their age don’t experience significant loss for many years. Mainstream American culture doesn’t offer any traditions beyond a funeral to help people with the grieving process, as other cultures and religions do. Even our vocabulary and the English language lacks enough words to describe the feelings of grief, in part I believe, because people don’t want to talk about it. All of which leaves people feeling alone, not understood and under-supported. I want to help change the conversation around grief. I want to help normalize the feelings experienced and show people how to live with significant loss versus feel pressure to “move on”, which is something they can’t and don’t want to do. You don’t move on after the death of a child or sibling, you learn to live with that loss and my hope is that this books helps people learn how to better do that.
OP: How did you get your book published?
Dawn: After interviewing several people that published books, I decided to self-publish through Outskirts Press. My book is available in print, e-book formats and will be available on Audible very shortly.
OP: What types of readers would be interested in this story?
Dawn: People that have lost siblings, children, and their friends and family that want to better understand and support them. I also include a chapter for therapists and ideas to bring to one’s therapy, including insights and information for clinicians that may not have gone through significant loss yet themselves. I think anyone that has experienced a significant loss would find value and helpful information in this book.
OP: What is special about your book?
Dawn: I think the fact that I write this book from both a personal experience of losing my brother and as a clinical psychologist that specializes in significant loss, is unique and valuable. I purposely wrote the chapters to be short and easy to read because I know that traumatized and grieving people can’t concentrate for long, often feel fatigued and have difficulty with focus and memory. I structured the book so that people can easily skip around to the chapters they want to read or go back and re-read. The book is relatively short and the feedback I am getting is that it is easy to read, has a conversational writing style, and is comforting and helpful. I also think the interviews of the fourteen people I included, represent so many different ways people have lost siblings (suicide, homicide, cancer, accidents, etc) that hopefully people can relate to someone’s story and experiences in this book. I include feelings and dilemmas that I think people who haven’t lost a sibling yet wouldn’t realize or think of, i.e. what it is like to become an only child for the first time, to lose a twin, how hard it is to be asked how many siblings you have after they have died. Since many people don’t know what to say to someone after their loved one dies, I included a segment from the interviews on what to say and not to say to people after they lost their sibling.
OP: What differentiates it from other books in the same category?
Dawn: There aren’t many books written on sibling loss, a handful or so. I don’t think there are any written by someone that is also a therapist. As a psychologist, I am trained to give people information in a way they can take in, understand, feel comforted by and not feel reactive to or defensive about. My hope is that this skill translates into my writing style as well.
OP: Have you published any other books?
Dawn: No, just a dissertation (in 2002 on using music in therapy with adolescents).
OP: Do you plan to publish more?
Dawn: Haha. Can you ask me this again in a year? I am getting that question a lot lately. I don’t know, probably but not yet. This book was written in 2020 during stolen moments with two children home from school all year due to Covid, along with working from home (therapy via zoom) and a new puppy. I suppose if I felt inspired about something enough, I will. I’m just hoping my kids will be back in school at that point and the world won’t be dealing with a global pandemic any longer. One can wish. I would like to start a podcast about grief, as well as other topics that are commonly talked about in therapy sessions.
OP: Thanks for your time, Dawn! We look forward to learning more about you as you visit other bloggers!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Dawn DiRaimondo, Psy.D. is a clinical psychologist in Sacramento, California, where she lives with her husband and two children. She has over 20 years of experience working with adolescents, young adults, and adults. Her private practice specializes in treating people with significant grief and loss, depression, anxiety, and ADHD. Dr. DiRaimondo is also engaged in the emerging field of nutritional psychiatry and the interplay between nutrition and mental health.
This author purchased the Virtual Book Tour marketing option, which allows self-publishing authors to connect with bloggers and harness the power of the blogosphere by taking their book on the “virtual road.” Learn more about this service by visiting your Publishing Center and reviewing the available marketing options.
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