Our StoryAuthor: Ivonne Lizarazo
On May 18th, 2016 our hearts were eternally shattered when our beautiful Holly Ann Ambrosait decided to leave her body voluntarily following the untimely passing of her boyfriend Chris Louros. Just 9 months later on February 23rd, 2017 our worlds came crashing down around us again when we received even more devastating news that our beloved Lupe Isabelle Galluccio had also taken her own life. The world lost two incredibly beautiful souls who were greater than life and the emptiness they left behind was catastrophic to those who loved them. Lupe Galluccio & Holly Ann Ambrosait, two young, beautiful, loving and talented girls with their whole lives ahead of them lost their battle with mental illness just months apart from each other and our lives would never be the same.
The passing of these two incredible souls and the continuing pain their absence caused their parents is what inspired this retreat. We initially intended for this experience to be offered to parents that were survivors of suicide, but we quickly realized that there are many ways to lose a child and no matter how you lose them the pain is the immeasurably the same. No parent should ever have to endure the pain of losing a child in any way. Whether its suicide, homicide, illness, overdose, military combat or an accident, the guilt and sadness they carry in their hearts could last for years and sometimes even a lifetime. These grieving parents are often left dealing with depression, anxiety, PTSD, feeling broken, lost, alone and full of questions that usually have no answers. They often find themselves stuck in what may feel like an unending loop they can’t break out of. Speaking about their feelings may also be difficult as there is often shame, guilt, fear of judgement or just the feeling that no one can possibly understand their pain. We want to provide a space that will change all of that for these parents. A place where they can talk openly about their pain, where they can cry freely and find comfort with a group of people that understand the journey they’ve had to endure. We’d like to have this grow into a community for these parents. A network of support they can connect to at anytime. A place they could return to every year to celebrate life in the name of their beloved children.
At Vida Asana School of Yoga and Mindfulness they will learn new techniques to cope with any grief, anger or guilt they may carry by teaching them how to channel their emotions in positive and healthy ways. They will learn yoga, meditation, breathing exercises, attend grief releasing workshops, one on one Rapid Resolution therapy sessions, energy work sessions, massages, learn to surf, go hiking, zip lining and more importantly they will remember how to smile again and realize that there is life beyond the grief. Please help us bring a little healing to these mothers and fathers who have had to experience such a tremendous loss by supporting us at our annual music festival fundraiser or by donating any amount to our Go Fund Me and receive a tax receipt. Waves of Hope has recently partnered with Operation Warrior Resolution, a local 501c3 non-profit, that offers free mental health care to local veterans. Our healing retreat is now offered as one of their programs to grieving military parents. NO AMOUNT IS TOO SMALL! ! We have been blessed enough to have been approached by an anonymous donor who has pledged to match us up to $5,000 dollars of whatever funds we raise every year! ANYTHING YOU DONATE WILL BE DOUBLED!!! All of the proceeds will go towards funding an all-expense paid trip to a healing retreat in Lupe’s hometown of Playa Hermosa, Costa Rica for 10+ parents who financially would not be able to afford such a trip. This retreat idea was started by Sean McDonald, owner of Vida Asana. Sean has recently had many close friends lose their children in various ways and he thought this would be a great way to help start the healing process. Our friend Lupe grew up at Vida Asana and later received her yoga certification there. Her mother Rosemarie is the original founder of Vida Asana and still teaches yoga there from time to time.
Lupe & Holly
Our dear friend Lupe Galluccio, 24, was an incredible professional surfer and just the best human being all around. Lupe surfed competitively all around the world from a young age and she was loved by everyone she met along the way. She touched so many hearts and left a lasting impression on those that were lucky enough to come in contact with her light. She shined so bright that it was impossible to miss her in a crowd or forget her once having met. You instantly fell in love with her big smile and genuine compassionate heart. She always had a way of making everyone she met feel incredibly special and loved in her presence. She was a lover of life and celebrated it every chance she had. I can still hear the mischievous silly way she would giggle. Her big hugs were legendary and are sorely missed. Lupe lost her battle with bipolar disorder on February 23rd 2017.
The other gentle and kind soul was my best friend Annie Schuller’s beautiful daughter Holly Ann Ambrosait, 23. Holly was a sweet, talented girl who loved animals, photography, playing guitar, singing and writing songs. She always had such an innocent childlike soul but Holly struggled with depression even as a child. Her father, Artie Ambrosait, took his own life when she was just 8 years old. Holly and her family were making plans to move to Sarasota looking for a fresh start at life. They knew that Holly would thrive in a beautiful and more healing environment like SRQ. Unfortunately their plans were cut short when Holly’s boyfriend Chris Lorous was tragically killed in a motorcycle accident on May 10th 2016. That was more than Holly could ever bear. Holly lost her battle with depression on May 18th 2016 and passed away just days after attending Chris’s wake.
In Memory of Chris Louros
Holly & Chris. Together Forever.
In Memory of Artie Ambrosait