Shawn Dennstedt, by his own admission, is a "scary" looking guy. 

 

He's also a bit of an "introvert", which is why he hasn't really struck up a conversation with anyone in his weekly yoga class yet. 

 

However, as be posted to the yoga centre's page, it's because he's grieving. 

 

 

Shawn lost his daughter Lianne, aged 19, to a rare form meningitis in September, after spending two weeks fighting for her life in intensive care.

 

 She was a sophomore at Northern Arizona University when the disease that took her life started out as a mere sore throat. 

 

While coping with an immense loss, Shawn discovered that practising yoga helped him to feel closer to his daughter. 

 

After attending three classes at The Little Yoga Room, he posted on the class page to introduce himself, and share his story. 

 

 

His raw words of loss are hitting parents everywhere hard, and the post has since gone viral. 

 

He explains that he listens to the chat around him before class starts: 

 

"Sometime I listen to the chit-chat, if there is any. So and so’s daughter is being a pain in the ass. So and so’s two boys won’t stop fighting. So and so’s husband, wife, partner, whoever….you get the idea, everyone needs to vent." 

 

But what people don't know however, is that he's constantly thinking about his daughter: 

 

"It occurred to me on my drive home today, that while most people seem to be trying to escape their kids while they practice, I'm trying desperately to find mine.  And I’m finding her."

 

 

Practising yoga, he continues, lets him relive his memories of her in a safe space: 

 

"While I lie on the mat with one hand on my stomach and one hand on my heart, I remember Lianne as a baby and how she used to sleep on my chest while I lay on the couch watching T.V.

 

I was glad the lights were turned down low the other night, so no one could see me crying." 

 

 

He concludes his post with a heartbreaking reminder to appreciate our loved ones over Christmas: 

 

"As we close in on Christmas, I would only offer that we take a moment to appreciate what - and who - we have in our lives. I would give anything in this world to hear my two girls screaming at each other again, just one more time." 

 

Speaking to Scary Mommy, Shawn said that he was surprised by how helpful yoga hs been:

 

Monday’s are sometimes difficult,” he says. “I had expected yoga to be physically challenging, but I was surprised by the emotional blowback. For some reason I felt compelled to write.”

 

 

He says he only intended his post to be seen by the class, but his yoga instructor shared it: 

 

 “She re-posted it and made it public. It seems to have gone a little viral from there. That was certainly not my intention.”

 

He’s “a little embarrassed” by how big the post has gotten, but is hoping that by sharing his thoughts, it helps someone else.

 

His post has truly struck a chord with both parents and non-parents alike. 

 

 

In the hectic lead up to Christmas, his post is a reminder to never take our loved ones for granted. 

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