Due to numerous counseling sessions with psychologists, psychiatrists, healers, counselors and friends, I understand at a deep level, the emotions I feel.
As I slept last night, my subconscious was processing anger. The dreams I had were filled with rage. From somewhere deep in my soul, I have yet to process or maybe I am simply processing again, a deep anger for the loss of my father and son. TODAY marks the 5th anniversary of their murders by a white supremacist.
This week, our week of SevenDays® Make a Ripple, Change the World our staff of 4 (including me) and hundreds of our volunteers pour ourselves into others for the purpose of engaging all people to discover commonalities and overcome evil with acts of kindness. We deplete ourselves throughout each day and somehow find energy and joy for the next, until all seven are completed on ONWARD Day. Last evening, after Day 4, CONNECT, I was feeling the depleted.
Our featured speakers this year were reformed white supremacists,Christian Picciolini and Shannon Martinez, working with the Free Radicals Project. I took a deep dive into their past lives, listening to previous interviews and in live conversation with them. Their pain and anger manifested in childhood, was fed by violent experiences and fueled by white supremacists, neo-nazi skin heads…providing an outlet for their internal loathing and disgust.
They chose a path foreign to me.
Yet, I woke up with an anger inside, too.
How do I process this anger?
While writing is an outlet, and exercise makes my body feel alive…this very moment I am drinking tea and acknowledging the pain, and anger I have from the deep loss. Sitting in our sadness is not fun and can be quite tear filled. Yet, sitting in our sadness and anger, acknowledging them is key to a path onward.
I created the column below for our local KC Star
I know I will get through my anger. And sadness will come as our family meets today to remember Dad and Reat. Neither of these emotions will hold me down too long. I will find joy, love, peace and hope…because I know I can. I know my ONWARD.
Has it been 5 years?
“Theatre, lacrosse and baseball games as well as trips to the Bass Pro Shop and turkey hunting all stopped on April 13, 2014. My father would have enjoyed 5 years of birthday cake from each of his 10 grandchildren.
Reat would turn 20 in May of this year. No doubt he would be on a college campus, working his way into a career as a neurologist with theatrical aspirations. A friend to many, he missed three years of high school and his brother growing into a mature, contemplative, caring young man.
Terri LaManno missed significant graduations for each of her younger children and never got to move them into their new homes as they venture into adult life, achieving what she wanted most…loving life.
Personally, the transitions I have made in life are too many to recount in the 600 words allowed. I made a new home in Florida with my husband and son for the sole purpose of helping our son, Lukas, heal. My career is now filled with non-profit work (based in Lenexa, KS) rather than financial wealth management, which was my career and life’s passion for 26 years.
I repurposed myself out of necessity, to heal. My husband and I are still married, which is a feat of achievement after suffering so much devastating loss. I wanted to run and hide, leave the pain behind me…but for what…a new group of people who would never share the same pain or memories of my beloved father and son?
Counseling, journaling, yoga, deepening friendships, tear-filled conversations, no make-up and hugs…were necessary as I struggled to stand on my own two feet. You didn’t see me like this, did you? All of this is real…and can come back in the blink of an eye. It’s called grief.
My husband explains that we don’t get over their deaths, we learn to carry the burden of losing them with us. Every new memory created is created with them in our hearts and on our minds.
While I have never questioned my ability to make our world a better place, the murders of dad, Reat and Terri hyper-focused my intentions on kindness, faith and healing. I still questioned, could I make the world a better place in each of these three areas? Would this help me heal, could I find joy in this pursuit?
Our Faith Always Wins Foundation stands on three pillars: yes, you guessed it…kindness, faith and healing. SevenDays® Make a Ripple, Change the World, our annual event, fills up our kindness pillar.
Our interfaith workshops and Interfaith Youth Leadership Team make up our faith pillar. Workplace Healing, LLC, created in 2018, provides an innovative approach to healing in the workplace – where we spend much of our lives. Born from the murders that took three lives due to hate, fear and ignorance…our three pillars promote dialogue for the betterment of our world!
Family and friends bring me joy. Pouring my heart and soul into our foundation, helping people find healing, peace, love and understanding of “the other” bring me my own peace, my own onward.
Five years ago, I would not have imagined I would be promoting a conversation with reformed white supremacists. Yet, here I am asking you to come listen and learn. I mistakenly thought “being raised by hate” was the only path to this supremacy ideology. Learn how wrong I was. Learn about Hinduism, Judaism and other faiths along with taking care of YOU. Join us for a community walk. Find your healing. Find your onward.” www.givesevendays.org
Join us for our Faith, Love & Walk on Monday, April 15. Find your ONWARD with us.
In Kindness, Faith and Healing