Our StoryAuthor: Ivonne Lizarazo
Pictured Above: Paddle Out Memorial for Lupe.
On May 18th, 2016 our hearts were eternally shattered when our beautiful Holly Ann Ambrosait decided to leave her body voluntarily following the tragic 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 the 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 Isabell Galluccio & Holly Ann Ambrosait, two young, beautiful, loving and talented girls with their entire 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 was the inspiration for this retreat. Waves of Hope is a nonprofit program that helps facilitate grief relieving retreats to Vida Asana School of Yoga and Mindfulness, located in Lupe’s beautiful hometown, Playa Hermosa, Costa Rica. We are able to offer this experience for a fraction of what this destination healing retreat would normally cost. Financial assistance is available for those that may need a little help covering a portion of their expenses. For those that are financially unable to cover any of the cost, we have a “wait list” available.
Pictured Above: Beach Memorial. 2019 Retreat.
During their week stay parents will be provided with a serene and safe space to talk and connect with other people that have gone through the same loss. They will have the opportunity to learn new techniques to cope with any grief, anger or guilt they may be carrying and they will learn how to channel their overwhelming emotions in more positive and healthy ways.
Available to them at our retreat will be individual grief/trauma counseling, group therapy, yoga classes, meditation sessions, breathing exercises, grief releasing workshops, energy work sessions, acupuncture/massage, journaling sessions, sound therapy, surfing lessons, hiking, zip lining, 3 vegetarian meals daily and so much more! Most importantly they will hopefully remember how to smile again, realize that there is life beyond the grief and that LOVE is the ultimate gift.
Pictured Above: Sound Therapy. 2019 Retreat.
We initially intended for this experience to be offered to parents that were survivors of suicide since that was how we lost Lupe & Holly, 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 safe space that will allow these parents to 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. Our intention is to have these connections grow into a community for these parents. A network of support they can connect to at anytime. A place where they can come to celebrate life and the memory their beloved children.
Pictured Above: Rainmaker Hike. 2019 Retreat.
Our dear friend Lupe Isabel Galluccio, 24, was an incredible professional surfer and probably one of the best human beings I have ever had the honor of meeting. Lupe surfed competitively all around the world from a young age and was loved by everyone lucky enough to come in contact with her light. She touched so many hearts and left a lasting impression everyone she met. She shined so bright that it was impossible to miss her in a crowd or when she walked into a room. You instantly fell in love with her big smile and genuine compassionate heart. She always had a way of making everyone 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 laugh and giggle. Her big hugs were legendary and are so sorely missed. Lupe lost her battle with bipolar disorder on February 23rd 2017.
The other gentle and kind soul was Holly Ann Ambrosait, 23. Holly was a sweet, talented girl who loved animals, photography, playing guitar, singing and writing songs. She had an innocent childlike soul but Holly struggled with depression since losing her father, Artie, to suicide when she was just 8 years old. The impact of losing her father at such a young age left an impression on her that consumed her most of her young life. Holly and her family were making plans to move to Florida looking for a fresh start at life. They knew that Holly would thrive in a beautiful and more healing environment if she was given the chance. 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’s already broken heart could ever bear. Holly lost her battle with depression on May 18th 2016 and passed away just days after attending Chris’s wake.
Pictured Above: Holly & Chris. RIP.
Pictured Above: Holly & her father Artie in the last photo they took together before he passed away.
Lupe & Holly. Forever missed.