Season 1, Episode 5

Dr. Becky Von Handorf / Aly

Surviving Sibling Loss of a  Special Needs Sister and Surviviing Changing Family Dynamics

Dr. Angela Dean talks with fellow sibling loss survivor, physician, Dr. Becky Von Handorf, about the loss of her sister to a rare genetic condition.

      • Dr. Van Handorf shares her experience of disenfranchised grief and the challenges of navigating the loss of a sibling with special needs.

      • She describes the challenges of having her grief discounted due to her sister’s special needs.

      • The anticipation of her sister’s death was a heavy for Dr. Van  Handorf. She felt like she was “just sitting there and just like waiting for her to go.

Additional key points:

      • Dr. Van Handorf describes the value she found in using conversational questions and focusing on cherished memories to facilitate dialogue about her sister.

      • She highlights the importance of open communication with loved ones about her grief needs.

a picture of sibling loss survivor, Becky, and her sister, Aly on the podcast cover.
Transcript

Dr. Dean: 0:12

Hello and welcome to The Broken Pack™, a podcast focused on giving adult survivors of sibling loss, a platform to share their stories and to be heard. Something that many sibling loss survivors state that they never have had. Sibling Loss is Misunderstood™. The Broken Pack™ exists to change that and to support survivors. I’m your host, Dr. Angela Dean. In today’s episode I had the pleasure of speaking with Becky Von Handorf. She is a pediatric resident who has pursued her career largely in part to her sister having a rare disorder. We talk about the devastating loss of losing her sister, as well as how that impacted her relationships with her family and her meaning and purpose in life. I hope that you enjoyed today’s episode, and I look forward to sharing more of these stories with you

Dr Dean: 1:11

So today I’m joined by Becky. welcome. I’m wondering if before we dive into the really difficult things that we’re going to talk about, if you just wanna tell me a little bit about yourself.

Dr. Van Handorf: 1:24

Yeah, so thanks for having me. Hi, my name’s Becky. I’m 28 years old, originally from northern Kentucky, about 10 minutes south of Cincinnati. I moved to Louisville about six years ago for medical school, and I ended up staying here for a pediatric residency program, and I live here with my husband. We actually just celebrated our four year anniversary yesterday, and we have a tiny Oh, thank you. We have a tiny little dog named Gus,

Dr Dean: 1:56

Mm-hmm. Well thank you for that. especially thank you for the time cuz residency is, that’s a lot of time demands on your schedule.

Dr. Van Handorf: 2:07

Oh yeah, I’ve got my day off today.

Dr Dean: 2:09

Nice. and you said in pediatrics,

Dr. Van Handorf: 2:10

Mm-hmm.

Dr Dean: 2:13

Before we talk about the story of losing your sister, do you want me and our listeners to know about her?

Dr. Van Handorf: 2:22

So she is a pretty unique person, and I tend to talk about her in the present tense even though she’s passed away. But she was very special. She had a rare genetic condition called San Felipo Syndrome. That’s, I think only maybe about one in 200,000 people have it. And it’s recently been coined as, childhood Alzheimer’s because it tends to take away your skills. And she used to be able to talk when she was a child. And know, slowly she lost those things, lost the ability to walk and eventually to eat. But we were actually really lucky. She was born in the late eighties and in the early nineties they were doing some experimental treatments for her disease and including a bone marrow transplant. So she actually ended up having two of those and we got to keep her for a lot longer than most people do. A lot of our friends’ kids have passed away in their teens, in early twenties at most, and we got to have her until she was, 32.

Dr Dean: 3:30

And you were younger?

Dr. Van Handorf: 3:32

Yep. I’m five years younger than her.

Dr Dean: 3:33

I think you said when we first connected that, she was part of the reason that you went into pediatrics?

Dr. Van Handorf: 3:39

Yeah. I’ve wanted to be a doctor for as long as I can remember. I was at my parents’ house a couple years ago, and we found this paper that I wrote when I was like 10 years old saying I wanted to be a pediatric neurologist at Cincinnati Children’s, because that was the only kind of doctor I knew at the time, really. So, yeah, she’s, she was my reason for wanting to be a doctor and pediatrics has always been what I wanted to do.

Dr Dean: 4:06

So you became a pediatric pediatrician and you wanted to be a pediatric. Neurologist cuz that’s what you knew.

Dr. Van Handorf: 4:15

Yeah, before I knew what that actually entailed. Yeah.

Dr Dean: 4:18

Mm-hmm. So did you end up playing a role as a her caregiver?

Dr. Van Handorf: 4:23

Yeah, I think I of played that role in different ways throughout my life. I started babysitting, I guess what you could call it, probably when I was like 12 years old or so. and always just kind of helping out with things that she needed, like hygiene things, doing her hair. Feeding her snacks, feeding her dinner, and as I got older, she needed a little more help with things. That kind of changed a little bit and I had a more active role. I lived at home with my parents until I moved to Louisville, so I was always pretty involved in her everyday life.

Dr Dean: 4:57

And, what was your relationship like?

Dr. Van Handorf: 4:59

It was, it was different than, I think most sibling relationships were like because she was non-verbal, so she couldn’t really communicate with me. But we spent a lot of time together just being with one another, whether that was me talking to her or telling her things, watching movies together. Going on vacations together. Even though she couldn’t talk back to me, I still consider her one of my best friends and one of the closest people to me in my life.

Dr Dean: 5:32

Well, thank you for sharing that. Do you wanna share about the story about losing her?

Dr. Van Handorf: 5:38

Yeah. so her was something I think I always knew was gonna happen. We knew she wasn’t gonna live as long of a life as I will, God willing. But when it happened, it was very quickly the last year of her life was pretty tough. She started having seizures and was no longer able to stand up on her own. She ended up, been able to walk on her own for a couple of years, but she was at least able to stand and and kind move her legs. But even that kind of stopped in the last year. And then she started just not eating or drinking as much and went into the hospital about twice around the holidays last year. I think the first time was around Thanksgiving and then the second was right after Christmas, like probably about a year ago today or so, and she just couldn’t keep her hydration status high enough, and her sodium levels were really off, so she got admitted twice and around Christmas, knew that this was gonna be our last Christmas with her. I, I just of had seen this pattern before with kids in the hospital. I just had this feeling and so did my mom and in a way we almost felt like it was her way of saying she was tired she was ready by not eating anymore. She ended up passing in February of 2022, and just the weeks leading up to that were really tough because I was in Louisville and I was trying to come back as much as I could to be with her, but we just didn’t really know how much time she had. There wasn’t a definitive timeline for it. And I remember the weekend before she died, we were up in Cincinnati celebrating my oldest sister’s birthday and I just said to my husband when we were driving back, I was like, you know, I think we’re gonna be turning right back around after this. I just, I had that feeling that this was of the end and she had had her last meal actually that weekend. Sure enough, my mom called me Monday and was like, “Hospice is here they think you should come up, and, know, pack a bag.” And I already packed a bag the night before just because I had that feeling that something was gonna happen. We were up there for about a week. She ended up passing on a Saturday, so I got to be with her for about six days before she ended up passing away in the morning.

Dr Dean: 8:08

I’m very sorry that sounds awful. That anticipation.

Dr. Van Handorf: 8:14

Yeah, it was probably one of the worst weeks that I’ve ever had. It was just, it felt like we were just sitting there and just like waiting for her to go. It was just such an odd feeling.

Dr Dean: 8:23

Mm-hmm. What’s your relationship like with your other sister, if you don’t mind my asking that?

Dr. Van Handorf: 8:30

Yeah, we’re also very close. she’s seven years older than me, they’re both a little bit older than I am. and my oldest sister is married with two little girls who I’m very close with as well. And it was weird because her, my oldest sister’s Nikki, my, sister who died is Aly.. But since Nikki and Aly were so close in age, they actually had a pretty special relationship because Nikki was there when Aly could talk a little bit and walk, and she was there for all of Aly’s surgeries and they got to have that really close relationship. I also have a very close relationship with Nikki. we talk most days of the week. I go see her whenever I’m in Northern Kentucky and see her kids, and we’re also very close. I’m lucky I have her because I don’t know how I could have gotten through losing Aly without having a sibling.

Dr Dean: 9:20

Mm-hmm. I’m just curious with you as a physician, how did that change your perspective as you were anticipating the grief?

Dr. Van Handorf: 9:31

I think maybe it changed my perspective in how I wanted Aly to be taken care of. I’d seen, I’ve seen so many kids who’ve I’ve kind of questioned what their quality of life is with some of the interventions that they get, and I never wanted Aly to feel that way. I never wanted her to not have a good quality of life, and my mom’s a nurse practitioner and always felt the same way. And so I think it helped. It helped me understand what was happening with her, but I think it made it harder for me after she died. I think my job was just very triggering to me.

Dr Dean: 10:11

Mm-hmm. So is that what you mean? That going back to work piece was more challenging because of what you had just experienced?

Dr. Van Handorf: 10:19

Yeah, it was that, and I just had this feeling that I should have been able to save her and I should have been able to fix her and to get her to eat and to get her to drink. And I kept having to remind myself the only way to get her to do those things would be the interventions that she wouldn’t have wanted and that my mom and dad didn’t want either.

Dr Dean: 10:41

Yeah. So it sounds like you’ve struggled a little bit with guilt around the end?

Dr. Van Handorf: 10:45

Yeah. Yeah. I think I’m just getting into a better place of not having that guilt, but that’s very recent.

Dr Dean: 10:53

Yeah. did you feel supported by your family and friends after she died?

Dr. Van Handorf: 10:59

I did in certain ways. I think the relationship with my parents was difficult at times. It like of waxed and waned. There were times when I felt like the way they were supporting me isn’t how I wanted to be supported. Like they were the ones who really encouraged me to go back to work two days after her funeral and told me, this will get your mind off of it. This is good. you need to go back to work. Even though my residency program was more than willing to give me more time off. So I think they were, they thought they were supporting me and they were doing their best, but it wasn’t what I needed.

Dr Dean: 11:37

Mm-hmm.

Dr. Van Handorf: 11:37

And I I think my sister was pretty supportive too. She’s very quiet and doesn’t talk about her feelings, so I don’t know how supportive I was to her because she’s just has a very different personality from me.

Dr Dean: 11:49

Mm. So you said that that wasn’t what you needed, to get back to work. And I think this has been a theme for a lot of people that I’ve talked to and also myself. we just throw ourselves back into the daily life because that’s what we can do. But it also sounds like, and correct me if I’m wrong, that you had an inkling of what you knew you needed or in, at least in hindsight..

Dr. Van Handorf: 12:13

Yeah, I, I think I knew what I needed, but I wanted someone to tell me that it was okay to do that and I wasn’t really getting that from my parents. my husband was telling me to do that, to take some time off, but he also didn’t wanna go against my parents, and he didn’t know what I was going through and what they were going through. So I think he was just letting me make my own decisions.

Dr Dean: 12:35

Mm-hmm.. So looking back, what would you tell yourself now about, if you could go back and tell yourself then what you needed?

Dr. Van Handorf: 12:44

Oh my gosh. I would tell myself to take the time off because I ended up needing it like three weeks later. I was like, I can’t do this anymore. I have to have a couple weeks off. And I think I would’ve been in a lot better of a place if I had just listened to myself and my body and said, I need this time, and I don’t really care what anyone else thinks.

Dr Dean: 13:05

Yeah. For. my story was similar. I went back too soon. I left halfway through the day. So it sounds like you got a mixed level of support from your family. Do you feel like your friends understood or your colleagues?

Dr. Van Handorf: 13:18

I think they tried to help me as much as they could. I was just going through something so unique because no one else I know has lost a sibling. I know people have lost their parents and obviously grandparents, but my friends who I’ve known since I was in grade school, who also grew up with my sister, were especially helpful. And even my friends that I met later in life were also helpful, but I don’t think they knew exactly what to do. I think they did the best that they could and, but it was just some friends were better than others, and I think part of that was not knowing what to say.

Dr Dean: 13:57

For sure. How do you feel about the support that you get now?

Dr. Van Handorf: 14:04

I feel like since it’s been 10 months or so, I get, some support, but I also think that people don’t think about it as much. They don’t realize that my life is still of centered on that I lost my sister and for a lot of people, they think it’s almost been a year that things should be better, but they don’t understand how big of a loss that is. if I bring it up, they’ll help me and they’ll talk about it. But I don’t get many people reaching out saying, how are you doing? Are you doing okay? And I don’t really know what I need support-wise too.

Dr Dean: 14:45

Mm-hmm.

Dr. Van Handorf: 14:46

It’s of hard.

Dr Dean: 14:47

Yeah. It’s been 10 months and while, that sounds like a long time, that’s not very long In the grand scheme of life or siblings. What have you tried or how have you tried to get support maybe outside of your, your friends and your family?

Dr. Van Handorf: 15:06

So I joined a grief support group in my area probably three months after Aly died, and I was looking at things online, trying to find something because I just knew that I needed people who. I could talk to and who understood what I was going through and finding a sibling bereavement group was a lost cause at that point, cuz I couldn’t find anything. And the hospice stuff it cost money and I I’m not rolling in the dough right now. So I was just like, I can’t really afford that and going to therapy and I just was Googling and I found a group that I’ve stuck with ever since. It’s a group of mainly women. There’s one or two men that come to our group, but women who’ve lost their spouses, who’ve lost their adult children to multiple different ways in multiple different ways, they’ve lost them. There’s actually one woman who started coming a couple months after me who had lost her special needs sister as well, which was really special to meet someone who was going through that and I think honestly, like my grief support group has been one of the biggest things that has gotten me through the last year.

Dr Dean: 16:21

That’s fantastic and I’m glad that you had that special connection too, with someone that understands your circumstances. You mentioned counseling. Did you try counseling?

Dr. Van Handorf: 16:30

I did it for a couple of months. I worked with a therapist who I did online sessions with and I liked it for, and I think it was good for the amount of time I did it , but it was more focusing on different versions of yourself or paths past selves resolving trauma. And it was good for the amount of time I had it, but anymore I think I would more so need like a grief therapist or someone like that, versus what I was getting at the time.

Dr Dean: 16:58

Yeah, I thank you for that. Cause one of the things, one of the reasons that I founded this was as a psychologist, right? Like I, I had my own loss and then realized there’s not a lot of great support out there and not a lot of great training for even mental health professionals. and so that’s part of the mission here is to start to educate mental health professionals in a very specific loss. Thank you for sharing what you needed there. And I know that you said you don’t know what you need right now, and that’s okay too. is there anything else that you tried that you’re like, should not have done that or would want people to know that wasn’t helpful?

Dr. Van Handorf: 17:37

I think it wasn’t anything I necessarily tried, but I guess one thing I did try was just to like fully immerse myself in work and go back, trying to go back to who I was too quickly still, like I think not just the physical going back to work, but like not thinking about my sister and going back to work. I think that was really hard because you’re just not the same person after that. After a loss like this, you are, you’re just not gonna be the same. And I tried to be the same person that I was and that was not working for me and I wasn’t being honest with the people around me with my family or my husband. And I think that’s the biggest thing that didn’t work for me, was just trying to be who I was before.

Dr Dean: 18:27

Mm-hmm. Have started to understand who you are now?

Dr. Van Handorf: 18:33

I think I’m getting there. I still don’t feel like my old self again. and I think I’m still trying to figure out like what my new self will be. What will come out of Aly dying and what I can do with that grief that I have and that like loss of purpose I feel like I lost when she died,

Dr Dean: 18:55

Mm-hmm.

Dr. Van Handorf: 18:55

trying to figure out what that looks like exactly.

Dr Dean: 18:58

Yeah. Were there any changes in the family dynamic after she died?

Dr. Van Handorf: 19:05

A little bit. my, dad was, my sister was his whole world. He was just so devoted to her and just really cared about her a lot and was a part, big part of her physical needs every day. He would get her up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom. He would take her to her adult daycare in the morning. He just loved her so much and at times he, he almost made it feel like he was the only one grieving her loss. And there was a period of time where like him and I didn’t speak for a couple of weeks because we were working on planning a fundraiser for her for this coming summer, and he wanted to do it a lot earlier. And I just felt like he wasn’t acknowledging my grief. And sometimes he would say things like, she was my daughter if I would say I lost my sister. And that was hard for a while. And I think he’s, we’re great now and we have a great relationship but sometimes things like that still come up when I don’t think they take my grief as seriously as theirs, and that can get of frustrating.

Dr Dean: 20:16

Absolutely right. Like in the literature, we’re often called the disenfranchised mourners, which means that people don’t understand our loss. And it’s especially hard when your parents, it sounds like you’re pretty close with and have had a supportive relationship with. And they were invalidating you for sure. Yeah. What’s it like for you to see them also grieving and not be able to support each other in the way that you wanted?

Dr. Van Handorf: 20:45

that was really hard because my mom and I are very close. my sister Aly was a daddy’s girl, and then me and my sister, Nikki have always of been mama’s girls and she’s always just been very. She’s one of my best friends too. She’s always been really supportive and is one of the first people I call when something’s wrong and I guess I just was so used to calling her for support and to listen to me, but for a period of time it was like I would call her and she would talk about why she was sad, even though I the one calling her first. And that was hard for me to realize like we’re both grieving the same person in a completely different way and she can’t help me get through this necessarily because she’s And that was something really hard to stomach and I really struggled with. And it’s been hard watching them. Cuz my sister was, mean, not just my dad’s life, she was my mom’s life too. Every moment of their day was planned around her. And to see them in this different capacity where that’s not the case anymore is just really bizarre and it just doesn’t, it doesn’t feel right.

Dr Dean: 21:53

And unlike your older sister, you always knew Aly as sick and so

Dr. Van Handorf: 21:58

Mm-hmm.

Dr Dean: 21:59

you probably also knew your parents always in this caregiving role.

Dr. Van Handorf: 22:04

Yeah. Yeah.

Dr Dean: 22:05

And now you’re a caregiver of sorts, right? What do you miss most about her?

Dr. Van Handorf: 22:11

I think I just missed the energy that she would bring to everything. Every time I walked in my parents’ house, she was sitting in her spot on the couch and she just had this, just way about her. She was just so sweet and just such a like sunshine . And so when we heard her laugh, everyone would just smile and would make everyone happy, and being in her presence made you feel better and it made you wanna be better. And I think that’s the thing I miss most is just her presence and her energy that she always had. I can’t even describe just how sweet and precious that she was.

Dr Dean: 22:52

Mm-hmm. She sounds like she was a wonderful human being.

Dr. Van Handorf: 22:55

Yeah, she definitely brought out a softer and kinder side to me and brought out better parts of me that I think that’s something I miss too. I miss her being able to bring different sides of me out that, I don’t know if someone else can.

Dr Dean: 23:12

Yeah. As you are coming up upon these anniversaries around her death and her dying process, how are you feeling or anticipating things may change for you griefwise?

Dr. Van Handorf: 23:25

Yeah. the holidays were tough of, in and of itself. It was hard cause it was the first Christmas and she started to get sick, really sick right around Christmas. And I just feel like it’s gonna be a big shock to me when it’s been a year. I don’t think I’m gonna handle it well. Cuz it almost, it, it feels very weird because it feels like no time has passed, but it also feels like this year has just drug on and on. Like I’ve been a zombie and I just, it’s been an out of body experience almost. So I feel like when that year comes up, I just am, it’s gonna like, hit me in the face that it’s, it’s been a year and I don’t know how I’m gonna handle that.

Dr Dean: 24:07

Those are definitely hard moments, and I wonder if you’ll be able to identify what you need from other people then.

Dr. Van Handorf: 24:15

Yeah, we are planning on doing something on the day before, the anniversary of her dying, and we’re trying to figure that out right now. But just of doing a celebration of life for her and. Either at a brewery or at my parents’ house. Just something where people can come say hi or share a good memory of her. I think that’s probably what I want is people to just talk about her, because I feel like people are just so careful. It’s like you say her name and they break. If I say her name, I feel like I’m making people uncomfortable. They’re like, oh my gosh, I don’t, how do I respond to this? I like talking about her. That’s one of my favorite things to talk about., and I think that’s the biggest thing that I’ll need around that time is people sharing stories about her and pictures and moments that they had that meant a lot to them.

Dr Dean: 25:03

Mm. Do you find yourself holding back from sharing about her because of that?

Dr. Van Handorf: 25:08

In some settings, I do my, I have a core group of friends from fifth grade that I’m still, are still my best friends. And since they knew her really well, I tend to talk about her more openly with them. I talk about her really openly with my husband, but know, sometimes with his family I don’t talk about her, I hold back a little bit and with some of my extended family, I hold back a little bit because I sometimes I feel like they don’t know how to react.

Dr Dean: 25:38

Do you have some favorite memories that you wanna share?

Dr. Van Handorf: 25:42

Ooh, I have a few. One of my favorite memories was when I was little, I would throw temper tantrums because I think I just had a lot of issues growing up the way I did. And, one time I was just like, I’d thrown myself on the ground and I was so angry and Aly just walks over and is looking down over me and she just had this characteristic laugh and she looked at me and started laughing and I looked up at her and I was like, that’s not funny, Aly in that little kid voice. And my mom, mom just started bursting out laughing. She just, she thought it was one of the best moments that we had. And I a lot of my favorite memories of her aren’t necessarily certain days or certain things that happen, but I always loved when I would pick her up from her adult daycare if I was home from Louisville or when I was in college, and it would just be me and her listening to music on the radio, or usually listening Taylor Swift together. And just us two being together was always a good memory. She very much liked summer and warm weather, so my parents always had a pool because she could actually walk in the pool even when she couldn’t walk, on ground on land I guess. And summers sitting by the pool with her feet in the water or vacations at the beach. Her and my dad were always sitting in these little lawn chairs, right by the water. I think the beach is where I like to think of her now and where her favorite place was.

Dr Dean: 27:13

So do you take time to go to the water to remember her?

Dr. Van Handorf: 27:17

Yeah. This, past summer we didn’t go on vacation, but me and my mom, my dad and my sister and her girls, cuz our husbands were working, went to. like Outer Banks or Myrtle Beach or something like that I can’t remember. But we spread some of Aly’s ashes in the water, a couple months ago, just kind of thinking of her. It’s not so much, by the water that makes me think of her. It’s really the pool and the beach. So I I do like to spend some time by my parents’ pool and just think about her and feel like she’s sitting there with me.

Dr Dean: 27:51

Thank you so much for sharing about her and your process. Is there anything else that you wanna share about with regards to the loss or sibling grief or even, a very specific loss of a sister with special needs?

Dr. Van Handorf: 28:06

One thing that I shared with my grief group, which I think they told me, multiple people told me it was really helpful. Something my husband and I struggled for a little bit at right after she died because he’s very fortunate that he hasn’t lost many people in his life. He has all of his grandparents, all of his aunts and uncles, siblings, cousins, and he didn’t know. He had no idea how to be there for me and how to help me because he just wanted to fix everything. And finally I told him, I was like you can you bring her back? Because that’s the only way you can fix this. And it was really hard for him for a while, and then he just of started just listening to me and not really trying to fix it. I told him, I was like, I just need you to listen. I don’t need you to fix it. And that changed a lot of our dynamic after that. Now if he knows I’m having a bad day, he says, he’ll ask me. He’s like, well, if you could tell Aly one thing, what would it be? Or on Halloween, he was like, what was your favorite costume that Aly ever wore? And he’ll ask things that are more conversational versus how are you feeling today? And things like that have just been so helpful and I think communicating to him what I needed was really helpful for him too. Just for people who have spouses or family or friends out there who don’t know how to help. I think having an open conversation and telling them what you need is very helpful and can definitely make things better.

Dr Dean: 29:37

Yeah. And it sounds like too, by having that conversation, you gave him permission to ask you specifics and open up that space where you could talk about her more freely,

Dr. Van Handorf: 29:49

Yeah.

Dr Dean: 29:50

Which as you said earlier and as, we know sharing and talking about our siblings is so helpful, in the grief process. So I’m glad that you were able to do that. Have you ever considered writing all of those memories down? Like the things that you would say to her or the favorites?

Dr. Van Handorf: 30:08

I’ve thought about it. I’ve written it down and I had a grief journal I used for a period of time that asked about those things, and I did write some of them down, but I haven’t written them down specifically on my own.

Dr Dean: 30:20

Mm-hmm.. Yeah. Well, thank you so much. Did you have any questions that you wanted to throw back at me?

Dr. Van Handorf: 30:25

I think my biggest question is where do you see this of organization going? Because it’s really nice. I, like I said, I looked all over the internet for support groups and things like that. I couldn’t find anything and I especially couldn’t find anything for people with siblings with special needs. I guess I, maybe it’s not a question, but a comment, but I hope this continues and it keeps growing cuz it, there’s a need for it.

Dr Dean: 30:51

Yeah, so thank you for that question. I will be talking about this more in the weeks and months to come because I have a very large 25 year vision, and what I’m having to do is figure out how much can I do at one time while still working my other job and living my life, right? But the future does include support groups and training mental health professionals and a whole bunch of other resources, And there’s a whole slew of things that I have planned. Like I said, it’s very large for 25 years and I’m trying to temper that. Part of this podcast is also being able to help people share their story because like you know, a theme of today, how healing that can be. The last episode of this season will be me my story. But yeah, the larger picture is so many things, including training mental health professionals, because I has one and as I’ve been thinking about it, medical professionals too, because you guys run into this just as much.

Dr. Van Handorf: 31:53

Yeah.

Dr Dean: 31:54

Yeah. I’m growing it slowly, and that’s part of the reason I started the podcast is to figure out what’s needed, so it’s not just based on my story.

Dr. Van Handorf: 32:01

Yeah, I think that’s great because I know I’ve, I feel like people, like you said, discount my grief as a sibling, and sometimes I feel like even more so because my sister has special needs, and they’re like, well, you. You didn’t talk to her and she had so many physical burdens on her that she’s probably in a better place and it’s like, ah, that’s that’s a great thought. But, it’s still a really significant loss.

Dr Dean: 32:28

I did, also start some merchandis e stuff out there, basically to support the production of all of this. And one of the cards you might like addresses that better place thing.

Dr. Van Handorf: 32:39

Oh, I think I, I saw that. Yeah.

Dr Dean: 32:40

Yeah. Well, thank you so much for sharing about her and your process. Yeah.

Dr. Dean: 32:47

Thank you so much for listening. Our theme song was written by Joe Mylward and Brian Dean, and was performed by Joe Mylward. If you would like more information on The Broken Pack™, go to our website, the broken pack.com. Be sure to sign up for our newsletter, Wild Grief™, to learn about opportunities and receive exclusive information and grieving tips for subscribers. Information on that, our social media and on our guests can be found in the show notes wherever you get your podcasts. Please like, follow, subscribe, and share. Thanks again.

 

Listen wherever you get your podcasts!

Platforms the podcast is available on