New Book Documents Local Hate Crime Survivor’s Journey

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Top image credit: Seven years after a neo-Nazi murdered her father and son, Mindy Corporon recounts her journey as a hate crime survivor in a new book, Healing a Shattered Soul. (Bill Tammeus | Flatland)

In the beginning, shortly after a neo-Nazi murdered her father and son outside the Jewish Community Center campus in Johnson County in April 2014, Mindy Corporon says it was:

“There were times when I was so frustrated that I was on the floor. I could not get off the floor. I did not want to go off the floor. Then there was the complete opposite when I would do it again. It was almost like I was bipolar and I’m not bipolar. But my feelings will recover. It was this boomerang. “

Mindy Corporon, author of “Healing a Shattered Soul”. (Contributed)

This is the kind of mental and emotional mystery tour that hatred can cause. The fanatic who killed Mindy’s father, William Corporon, and her son, Reat Underwood, shot the Jews. Instead he killed three Christians, including Teresa (Terri) LaManno in the nearby Village Shalom.

Now, seven notable years trying to fix it later, Mindy recounts it all in a new book, “Healing a Shattered Soul,” which will be published on May 3. In it, it takes readers back to the day of the shootings. But then she describes in great and often embarrassing detail what it took to get her life back on track and find a way to build something beautiful out of something so horrible and bad.

From that deadly Palm Sunday, Mindy and others, including Terri’s Jim LaManno, created the annual Give Seven Days, funded by the Faith Always Wins Foundation, which she co-founded. This year’s events will be mostly virtual and will start on April 13.

Writing this new book was a painful ordeal for Mindy and not just because she had to relive the murders.

Growing up, he explained, he was the “middle child of three. I call it middle child syndrome. I felt I had no voice. “

But as she designed magazines worth several years, in a podcast she did with family members and others and with her own memories, “I found my voice. . I feel that the end result is an authentic description of everything that happened. “

And he discovered that while writing can be healing, it can also be taxing, of course: “My hands would hurt. It has burdened me physically. ” Beyond that, she had to find a way to make the book more than just her personal story. So she brought back the thoughts and memories of her mother, Melinda Corporon, and her brothers Tony and Will, in addition to those of her husband, Len Losen, and her son, Lukas Losen.

“It was emotionally difficult,” he said. “But I think it’s a better book because I included other people’s stories.”

His cover Cover “Healing a broken soul”. (Contributed)

I felt a special relationship with Mindy in such a writing process because I went through something similar in creating my latest book, Love, Loss and Endurance: A Story of Endurance and Hope in a Time of Stress. Describes the many injuries my extended family suffered as a result of the murder of my niece, a passenger on the first plane that hit the World Trade Center in the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

Because this type of writing can be physically and mentally exhausting, it requires strategies to stay mentally and emotionally balanced, whether it means long walks, prayer, meditation, deep conversations with family and friends, a change of scenery or something else.

Mindy has learned not to compete with writing or healing procedures: “I’m more patient with myself now. I have never been very patient. Mourning prevents me from participating in life and gives me more patience and a much greater ability to have introspection, to be calmer about things. I am more thoughtful about things. But I’m probably even more active and fast than most people. “

Now that the book is about to be published, he said: “I think my dad and Reat would be proud. And I’m very happy about that. I tried to write it the way my dad would help me write it. I think it helped me write it. I’m more proud of it than I expected. “

However, it was difficult to do so and move on to the whole. He states in the book that he never seriously considered suicide.

“I did not think of committing suicide. “I did not plan it,” he said. “But if my death happened, I would be fine. There is this balance. I had to make sure I put myself in a stable position around people who could support me, around people who were healthy until I could get there on my own. It is a very precarious place to find. “

She has also acknowledged that healing her soul is a long process: “I am not complete and I can not tell you if there is a time when I will be complete. But I’m not sorry about that. It’s okay for me not to be complete. “

There is great wisdom in these words. And one way to get there was to work hard to keep her marriage healthy, which required a move to Florida where her husband spoke to her: “Our relationship is much stronger. Going to Florida was absolutely necessary. I’m happy with Florida now and we’re in a good place. “

What Mindy Corporon would like everyone who reads her book to know is: “Everyone can heal. You just have to be more discriminating with the help you render toward other people. God will put the people around you and you must welcome them. Everyone has a path to – I do not mean complete cure – healing enough so that you can move forward and make a difference in your life and in the lives of other people. “

But healing – especially the spiritual, emotional and spiritual kind – often requires abundant help. Ask about it. Look for it. It’s available. Maybe start with Mindy’s book and mine.

Bill Tammeus, a former award-winning columnist for The Kansas City Star, writes the “Faith Matters” blog for The Star’s website and columns for The Presbyterian Outlook and formerly for The National Catholic Reporter. His new book, Love, Loss and Endurance: A 9/11 Story of Resilience and Hope in an Age of Anxiety, was published in January. Email him at [email protected]

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