Episode 103: Holding the Evangelical Church Accountable ft. Shelly Snow Pordea

Laura Formentini was in Ethiopia when her son Blaise died by suicide. An empath like her, he had difficulty connecting to the material world and day to day life often felt overwhelming for him. Though it took years and has been painful, she has come to accept and honor her son’s choice to no longer be here. Humanitarian work and sponsoring more than 40 kids in 18 years enabled her to survive her grief and transform it into a healing force in the world. She truly believes it is possible to turn dark into light even while experiencing loss. Laura joins the last episode of And Then Everything Changed to tell Blaise’s story and talk about her new book Twentyone Olive Trees: A Mother’s Walk Through the Grief of Suicide.
Laura Formentini is an author, nonprofit photographer and activist who believes that where there is love, there is always life. She has learned that the power of love can literally take us to the edge of the world and her biggest dream is to infuse courage, passion, and enthusiasm into anyone who has lost theirs, because it is a beautiful world and there is so much we can all do and share with others. Her first book, Twentyone Olive Trees: A mother’s walk through the Grief of suicide to hope and healing is due out January 2022 and she is also starting an online virtual healing sanctuary with numerous deep holistic modalities for anyone going through grief, loss, or a desire to reignite their spark.



I’m a writer, a teacher, a native New Yorker, and I love hearing about people’s lives. When I think back to my elementary school days at PS 20 in Flushing, Queens whenever we began social studies or a history lesson I wasn’t that interested in learning about battles, topography, or politics. What I wanted to know was how people lived: What their families were like, how they adapted to their circumstances, what they ate, how they celebrated, how they felt.
Sociology became my major at Binghamton University and in my life so far I’ve been an actress, a salesperson, a Zoo Keeper’s Aid, a volunteer animal trainer, an ELL teacher, a mother, and a wife. I’m grateful for the experiences I’ve had, all of which led me to create this podcast which is one of the most rewarding projects I’ve undertaken. I couldn’t ask for a better job than having in-depth conversations with survivors, thought leaders, authors, social justice warriors, and people who believe that we are all connected and then getting to share their stories, insight, and vulnerability with listeners.
I’m so glad you’ve landed on this page. I hope you find stories here which resonate with you and that you’ll tune in every week. 


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