Free As The Sun: Lou’s Songs of Life

It’s nothing less than a miracle.

Just a little over one year after Lou’s death (December 4, 2014) a CD of Lou’s music and a book of his poetry, song lyrics and essays, both entitled “Free As The Sun” will be published.  Louis was born to be a teacher and a healer and so it will be.

“As above, so below.”


Marv Ross, Portland singer/songwriter and music producer, has put together a beautiful five-track CD featuring four of Lou’s original songs.

Two tracks bring Lou’s voice & guitar back to life & two more shine with Shea MacKinnon as lead vocalist.   Marv plays guitar and bass; Gregg Williams (the Trench Studio) engineered three tracks and plays drums. Rob Stroup (8 Ball Studio / Moody Little Sister) engineered the title track. Marv & his wife, Rindy (Quarterflash) have donated a perfect fifth track – All Diamonds from their recent CD Love is a Road.

Marv & Rindy

The book manuscript is being edited.  The Kickstarter Campaign to fund the project will launch one week from today, on October 18th.  As Shea says in the Kickstarter project video, Lou surely has a hand in this from the Other Side.

Love is a road.   

Two years ago, on October 6th 2013, Lou came home to Oregon City after spending nine months away in three different residential dual-diagnosis treatment programs.  Two months in the Utah Wilderness from February to April had – most of all, he said – been transformative.  In a three day solo quest, during Lent, Louis found his voice at last.

Santa Clara, Utah / Second Nature (Entrada)

For the first time, with therapists Bruce and Matt, he had begun to speak out about the sad realities of his childhood.  He started to piece together a trauma narrative:  the memories of abuse that had haunted his days and caused him to suffer from traumatic nightmares for over half of his life.

Louis came home!

Lou attended the OAASIS Conference with me on October 26 (Oregon Advocates and Abuse Survivors in Service.)  He enrolled again in school.   He wanted nothing more than to be a triumphant survivor, to find new ways to cope with the unbearable pain he’d sought to relieve with drugs and alcohol and self-harm.

He attended AA Young People’s groups, met nearly every week with his trusted out-patient therapist, Donny. He meditated, read about recovery, wrote music, prayed, worked out at the gym, spent endless hours in perfect harmony with his best friend, Shea, and cherished the moments of natural peace he found in snowboarding on the slopes of Mount Hood.  And he wondered why he could not find the resilience he heard so much about while in treatment.

Lou & Shea - Timberline
Lou & Shea – Timberline

One year ago, in October 2014, Lou was enrolled full time at Clackamas Community College.  He had already completed eight college credits (Nature Writing, Algebra), earned his driver’s license, and worked part-time for a landscaping company.  And he had decided.  He wanted to be a counselor. He talked to the Early College guidance counselor about Marylhurst College’s Music Therapy program.

Tawnya, Lou & Candice Freshman Orientation at Clackamas Community College
Tawnya, Lou & Candice
Freshman Orientation at Clackamas Community College



Lou spent time with friends – especially Max & Shea – and had girlfriends galore.   He was loved by his friends’ parents – as he had been since pre-school!  His teachers appreciated his depth of soul and his gifts of self-expression.  All the while, Lou’s epic battle with depression, with anxiety and PTSD, with addiction, with nightmares and migraines – was continuing.

Louis was still walking a perilous tightrope suspended over a dangerous abyss, again using drugs and alcohol to dull his unremitting pain. He wrote furiously – music, poetry, journal entries, essays.  He was bleeding onto paper and into song a pain that would finally be more than he could bear. Sometime in the night of December 3rd/4th, an overdose of heroin brought an end to a brilliant life. Overnight, Lou’s sunny bright smile was gone.

Lou April 2014 Silver Falls
Lou April 2014 Silver Falls

Let’s talk about resilience.  

We live in a culture that believes that power and force are strength.  But brute force can be and too often is turned against women, children, the elderly, the disabled, even against our animal friends.  And what is more despicable than cruelty toward those who are “weaker” — that is to say, more vulnerable?

What if the kind of sensitivity Louis showed in his writing and in his music, to his friends, his classmates and his beloved dogs Bandit and Fergie are the real power?  What if Brené Brown, who writes about the power of vulnerability, has stumbled on a gospel truth?  “Except ye become as a little child…”

Lou & Fergie 2008
Lou & Fergie 2008

And what if those who are so deeply sensitive that they find it impossible to rebound from their soul trauma are in fact the “higher” souls in our midst?  As adults we can sing, “I’m gonna harden my heart” and we can mean it.  As children, we are vulnerable because we trust and we love without conditions and when our love is returned with indifference, cruelty, or violence (not to speak of abuse tantamount to torture) — Love itself has been betrayed.

Please share this post, share the Kickstarter Campaign for “Free As The Sun” when it launches on the 18th of October and help us share the Light and Love of Louis Raymond Case Debruge.

May his memory be a blessing.  

Camino - Oregon 2012
Camino a la Playa 2012

by Rhonda Case (Louis’ Mama)  Netarts, Oregon

with gratitude to Shea MacKinnon, Tristyn Meek, Marv & Rindy Ross, Mick and Charlotte Wilson, Gregg Williams, Rob Stroup and Naomi Hooley, Gretta, Bruce, Matt, Donny, Melanie, Barry, Andrew, Tyler, Parfait, Rachel & Andy, Neal, Karen, Riane Eisler, Jeff Cumpston’s family, Susan & Christian, and my cherished colleague and friend, Randy Ellison.  



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