Our founder, Mary Elizabeth Yoder, was just eleven years old when her father died after a drunk driver struck their family's car. Life was thrown upside down until she was able to fully grieve his death, forgive the man responsible and heal some 30 years later. She then came to empathy with the man other side of this tragedy, a human being, who also suffered, yet differently. Within rose a deep desire to raise awareness and help others on both sides of tragic events understand their own unique grief, forgiveness and healing process and to expedite their journey through the pain to recovery.
The documentary Mary's Story details the real-life events of her journey through grief, forgiveness and healing and shares why she started Elevating Hope. Please watch and share your comments on our Vlog Blog.
Q & A with our Founder
Q: How did you deal with the death of your father by a drunk driver?
A: In 1981, there were no grief support foundations available. We didn't know how to deal with grief. While I vowed never to forgive the man who "killed my father", i also vowed to finding a way to be happy again. So I dedicated my life to finding the silver lining but without dealing with the underlying grief, depression and anger it was like putting icing on a mud pie. As an adult I studied many healing modalities to find a way to "make myself whole again". It wasn't until 2007 when my cousins died in a car accident just two days before the 28th anniversary of my father's death that i was flooded with overwhelming emotions I had suppressed. I started to feel myself to push these familiar fillings down and try to make them go away. My training kicked in. I was finally able to simply be with my grief, in loving memory, in a beautiful celebration of all that we shared and all that we we will never share. I have so much gratitude and appreciation for my cousins gift to uncork my suppressed grief. After I was able to finally fully grieve, I still hadn't found peace. I saw that holding onto my bitterness and resentment towards the man who caused his death was robbing me of inner peace. So it was in 2008 that I went to find him. I had to know if he was in pain, was he alive, was he dead, did he care, did he not care, did he have kids, or not, had he stopped drinking or gone out and done it again, but most of all I had to let him know that after all these years i had come to care for him and didn't want him to suffer any longer either. We had all suffered enough. Love is that no one suffers. So I went to seek so that I can be for giving to myself the potential of restoring peace and harmony to my inner life.