Barbara Snook

Dr Barbara Snook is a Professional Teaching and Research Fellow at the University of Auckland in the Dance Studies program. She taught dance in Brisbane High Schools for 20 years and was the Caroline Plummer Fellow in Community Dance at the University of Otago during 2008. Barbara received an Osmotherley Award in 2007 for her services toward the development of dance in Queensland and she was nominated for an Australian Dance Award for services to dance education in 2006. Her textbooks, Dance... Count Me In and Dance for Senior Students are used throughout schools in Australia and New Zealand. She has also written Dance Room Book One and Dance Room Book Two for children in the first years of school. Barbara writes academic articles for publication in international academic journals and is currently working on a research project that involves arts integration in primary schools. During Barbara’s tenure as the Caroline Plummer Fellow in Community Dance, she facilitated a dance programme for people living with cancer. The dance motivated the participants to continue despite hardship and they developed a sense of pride in being part of something that was larger than themselves. They embodied a sense of courage and finally in performing they moved their audience to tears. During the Fellowship, Barbara wrote a children’s book titled, Come Dance With Me about death and the healing power of dance. Barbara’s teaching allows her to work with students with special needs, the elderly and many other community groups. She is particularly interested in fostering creativity through the arts and in doing so, help participants to realise their potential. Her work in this area extends into China and India. Barbara enjoys participating in Authentic Movement sessions and dancing/acting in television commercials. Her great loves are her grandchildren who live in Perth, Brisbane and the Sunshine Coast. She is constantly planning holiday time with them.






from Chapter One: Introduction

Quite some time ago when I was a newcomer to Brisbane, I developed a close relationship with my neighbor Christine over the back fence. A neighbour who drank tea and shared life’s ups and downs helped me enormously in my transition to life in a new country. Although it wasn’t easy, I adapted and our children grew up playing together in our backyards. Life continued through its many different stages, until Christine’s 17-year-old son was killed tragically in an accident. Although she did her best to move on with her life, Christine could see that her two remaining children remained stricken with their grief.

Christine shared her belief with me that, when a child or young person dies, support is available to the parents but there is little assistance for the siblings. Counselling is available, but her children didn’t know what they wanted at that time and were not always able to articulate their feelings. Skilled counselors can work within these limitations, but many young people would rather not think about their grief, and, if the adult in the situation is also struggling with the grief, then they may be of little help. The loss doesn’t go away and dealing with grief as a developing adolescent is extremely difficult.

It came to Christine in a dream that a book needed to be written that contained stories of sibling loss and grief so that parents and young people in similar situations would know that they were not alone. The message of Save our Sons and Daughters (So SaD) was clear to her. She spoke with friends, including me, who had suffered the loss of a child. We were excited by the idea and hoped that our children would write and contribute their own stories. We wanted the siblings themselves to include their experiences in their own voices.

Christine’s passion was infectious. Everyone in the initial group discussed the importance of reaching young adults and teenagers experiencing similar losses, and so I committed to the responsibility of bringing Christine’s dream to fruition.

We believed in the vital importance of this subject. We also agreed that the book’s primary aim was not to provide personal therapeutic benefit, and cathartic expression was not the primary focus of this book. Children, teenagers, young adults and adults can feel lost and unsupported in their grief, and this was the reason that we shared our stories. We hoped our testimonies would assist readers suffering a loss to find connections with their own personal journeys. While the pathway through loss and grief is different for everyone, most people agree that grief is not easy to confront. Through our stories, we identify with those who are lost in the dense woods of their feelings and, in reading the different chapters of this book, it is possible to reflect on one’s own personal journey while marveling upon the sheer indomitable spirit of human nature.

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