Dr. Tyra Manning’s story is both unique and universal, as it demonstrates the pervasive devastation of loss while demonstrating how courage and love can triumph. Tyra’s husband was shot down over the Laotian jungle while flying a top-secret mission during the Vietnam War. She learned of his death while she was hospitalized at the Menninger Clinic, where she was being treated for depression. Tyra’s worst fear had come true.
Determined to fulfill the rest of the dreams and promises she and her husband had made to one another, that she get well and become a teacher, Tyra persevered through the darkest of times. Ultimately, Tyra earned a doctorate in education from the University of Kansas, becoming one of the nation’s top school superintendents.
She has devoted her forty-year career to helping children achieve their highest potential. Since retiring in 2004, Dr. Manning’s mission has been to share her personal journey of hope with people who are experiencing depression, addiction, and loss.
Though she travels around the country delivering the messages and lessons in her new book, Where the Water Meets the Sand, Dr. Manning is a born and bred Texan. She currently resides in the Texas Hill Country.
Need help? Check out these resources:
- Operation Homefront for military families
- SAMHSA Behavioral Health Treatment Services Locator
- National Eating Disorders Association
- Alcoholics Anonymous Near You
- Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance Locator
- Boerne Impatient Drug and Alcohol Rehab Centers
- Texas Withdrawal Treatment Options
I admit, I’ve done the Texas two-step more than once, trying to decide whether I had the courage to address this issue – especially because it feels so personal to me. I have no interest in making a political statement during these polarized times, but I speak from my personal experience and from the heart. […]
I’m incredibly grateful that Operation We Are Here has included my memoir, Where the Water Meets the Sand, on its book list. Please check out the website for a list of books for grieving children, teens and adults.
This weekend I’m remembering my father, Cliff Decker, who died of heart disease in 1956, and my daughter Laura’s father, 1st Lt. James L. Hull, who was killed in the Vietnam War in 1971. We will never forget them and still miss them. Who are you thinking of today?
Determination By Tyra Manning
I’ve always been fascinated by hands; they reveal so much about an individual’s character. In fact, I often make a point of tightly clasping the hands of those I first meet, discreetly glancing down to check out the unique pattern of wrinkles, scars, callouses or arthritic bends etched in their skin. These imperfections offer an amazing view into the kind of life that person has lived.
This fascination with hands goes back many years, to when I was a patient at The Menninger Clinic. As part of my therapy, I was required to take sculpture classes. I soon found that the tactile sensation of working with clay, rolling and flattening it on a table and then shaping it into another form was very therapeutic.
I also learned that my favorite inspirational subject, by far, was hands. In fact, for many years, my favorite piece of art from that period–a clenched fist sculpted out of clay–followed me wherever I went. The fist became, for me, a symbol of my own determination to overcome life’s challenges and a reminder of how far I’d come in my own journey.