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Instead of suppressing her grief and anger, Laurie got honest about her emotions. "I thought, 'Why not get angry? What else can [God] do to me?'" she says. "It gave me the sense of freedom to feel what I had to feel and go through what I had to go through."

Then, Laurie says she realized she could think of what was taken away from her or she could think about what was given to her. She decided to focus on her blessings. "I was given a great life," she says. "I had this great little boy. I had a wonderful marriage. I had a great life. To sit there and to be angry that they were taken would deny that wonderful life I had with them."

Laurie has also learned to forgive. When the National Transportation Safety Board concluded that the plane crash that killed her loved ones was caused by pilot error, she dealt with her emotions head on. "Forgiveness, I believe, is something that we give to ourselves," Laurie says. "It's a choice we make, and it frees me up of any anger or hate. It doesn't mean I wasn't angry. It doesn't mean I wasn't jealous of him and his family. But once again, I just dealt with those emotions."

Following the crash, Laurie was on crutches for two years. Since then, she has created something positive from her tragic experience—LemonAid, a company that creates designer crutches. Fifty percent of all profits are donated to Step With Hope, a foundation dedicated to helping people cope with profound loss. She also has a fresh outlook on life.

"Instead of living this life of expectation and rules and formulas, I feel like I live this life of curiosity," Laurie says. "I have no clue what's going to happen tomorrow, so I just take this moment to be here. To meet the people I get to meet. To be surrounded by the events and the experiences."
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FROM: Why They Beat the Odds
Published on March 01, 2007

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