In December a judge is expected to hand down a decision in the Amanda Lindhout kidnapping, but her mother Lorinda Stewart says the verdict and sentencing will not provide closure.
“For me closure comes with forgiveness,” said Stewart before she spoke to a large, supportive crowd at Chapters who came out for a discussion on her new book, One Day Closer, about her 460-day fight to bring her daughter home.
Stewart was her family’s chief negotiator after her daughter, a freelance journalist from Red Deer, who was seized with an Australian photographer by Somali gangsters in 2008.
“I can’t say I’ve found closure because I’m in the process of forgiveness. It’s not one choice and then it’s done. It’s something I practice over and over again because something will come up.”
Like facing the one of their kidnappers, Ali Omar Ader, who was on trial in October.
She said closure will come when the memories have lost their charge, when she can put the experience down and walk away.
“It’s a process but I’m committed to that process because what’s the alternative. Live in anguish and anger and bitterness. It takes away from this beautiful life that I have today.”
She said writing the book brings everything back to the surface for people, but it’s not where she lives everyday.
“I live in the present moment which is wonderful. But it is a part of who I am. It’s an experience we went through.”
Stewart said Lindhout is doing well.
“The trial of course brought a lot of PTSD issues for her, but she has an amazing therapist she works with so she’s learning how to cope with that without it taking over her life.
“She’s incredible. I just really stand in awe of her.”
Lindhout also just wants to enjoy this second chance she’s been given to delight in this beautiful life, her mother said.
Stewart, who struggles with anxiety and PTSD, said it’s important for both of them to teach others what they’ve learned from their experience.
“Very few people will have a crisis to the magnitude, to the level, that we did. But crisis is relative. I’d never say anybody else’s crisis is not as big as mine because to them it might be.
“Who goes through life without dealing with life and death issues? Nobody. Really it’s about choices after the fact. What do you do with what’s happened to you.”