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’ve written extensively about losing Larry Hull, my late husband, and our daughter’s father, whose plane crashed in Laos in 1971 during the Vietnam War. Larry is one of thousands of soldiers who made the ultimate sacrifice during that difficult and divisive war. Before he left for war, I promised Larry he would be buried […]
This Fall, I’ll release my new book, Your Turn: Ways to Celebrate Life Through Storytelling. In Your Turn, I invite readers to interact with and reflect on a variety of life topics including gratitude, addiction and spirituality. I challenge them to critically examine their relationship with some of the most influential moments in their lives […]
I’ve written previously on how powerful the practice of “paying it forward” to strangers has been in my life and the lives of those around me. This past week it was my turn to be the recipient of the beneficence of strangers. As I was out running errands and taking my new rescue dog Yogi […]
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.