Shortly after his brother’s death in October 2002, Marshall Dunn visited the morgue to say a final farewell. He wasn’t prepared for the peace on his brother’s handsome features: “He was smiling,” says Dunn, 35, whose memoir Letters to Mitch: The Healing Power of Grief, Love & Truth, recounts the road he has travelled since Mitch took his own life at age 26.
His journey was inspired in part by “something that hit me” in the morgue that day, Dunn tells WHO, a sudden prompting to explore deeper questions about his life and purpose. However, “I suppressed everything,” says Dunn, who was then studying media and cultural studies at Macquarie University. Neglecting his course, Dunn assuaged his grief with alcohol and drugs.
Eventually, after years of reading about spirituality and philosophy, “I picked up a pen and began to write—that cracking open was a great gift,” says the life coach, who’ll soon release Seeds by Design: Little Reminders of the Hero in You, a pocket book about courage and relationships. “Challenges, struggles and major life shake-ups are always invitations and opportunities to learn about yourself,” says Dunn. “When you break on through, it’s like seeing the world with a different lens.”
Lifeline 13 11 14; lifeline.org.au
For more on Marshall Dunn and the best new books of the season, check out the Autumn Reading Guide in this week’s issue of WHO, out now.