Friday, November 6, 2009

Welcome Jean Reagan

Welcome to Jean Reagan, author of Always My Brother. Here is a post directly from her about grief and how writing became an important part of the healing. Please feel free to comment or share your own experiences with grief and writing.

When my 19-year old son John died of a drug overdose, I was emotionally paralyzed. All the layers of hope for his recovery instantly vanished, yet still lingered in my mind and heart. I knew I should journal, but the task seemed overwhelming. At the same time I worried I would forget critical thoughts and memories if I didn’t write them down.

I’m a list-maker by nature, so I came up with a strategy that worked for me. Initially, all I required of myself was to list headings on the top of journal pages. Then, when I had the emotional strength to write, I tackled the heading that seemed most manageable. I could dabble or dig deep. And, with these topics, I could always trigger memories I feared I would forget.

Here’re some of my topic headings:

Words and advice that haunt me.
The first time I held John.
Telling our daughter about John’s death.
Specific memories of his laughter, his gentleness.
Relief from worry—really?
Scanning crowds for his face.

Eventually many of these emotional truths made it into of my children’s book about sibling loss, ALWAYS MY BROTHER. (Tilbury House Publishers, June 2009)

One unexpected joy I experienced in writing this story was that I could “rewind” John’s life to a younger and healthy period before he was tortured by drug addiction. For more information about the story behind the book, visit

Thanks Jean for this valuable inspiration. The book is beautiful and your words will touch many.


Kristi Bernard said...

This is wonderful. This is a good way to help parents teach their children about loss. This year my family lost a total of 8 this year alone. One of them was my grandfather. My 6 year old nephew had to experience death and loss for the first time. It was troubling. Thank you for sharing with us.

Karen and Robyn - Writing for Children said...

Jean, I'm sure this is a difficult matter to share with other, but I'm sure it will be a benefit to others dealing with a loss.

Kristi, eight in one year is so sad.

Karen Cioffi

Donna M. McDine said...


You are an outstanding individual to share your grief with others that will hopefully ease their suffering.

Best wishes.

Children’s Author
Write What Inspires You Blog
The Golden Pathway Story book Blog
Donna M. McDine’s Website

jeanreagan said...

Thanks so much for hosting my book, ALWAYS MY BROTHER! Thanks to everyone for your kind comments.

The hope that my book can help ease the pain of grieving children helps my own grief journey. And puts a smile on my face.


Jean Reagan

kirsten said...


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kanishk said...

It was troubling. Thank you for sharing with us.

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