Moving Forward: Sara Quirt Sann's mom finds peace in yoga

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WAUSAU, Wis. (WSAW) -- After losing her daughter to a sudden tragedy, mother of Sara Quirt Sann, Gerri Quirt, turned to a hobby that both her and her daughter used to share together.

"Sara came to yoga a few years before I did, and I was reluctant at first," explained Gerri Quirt. "I can’t say for sure what it did for her, but I know she loved it as I do."

Quirt explained that it was an outlet to move on from the stress of their lives, and to also get to spend some time together.

"Gerri and Sara’s presence at the studio came in the form of genuine kindness to others," 5 Koshas Yoga Instructor Heather Van Dalfsen said. "They didn’t always attend classes together due to their busy schedules, but when they did see each other, I observed a warmth and joy between them as they took time to catch up with each other."

For Gerri, the decision to get back into yoga after losing her daughter wasn't a difficult one. She said that the hobby is much more than just exercising.

"For me, I need to be around this zone of no judging, peacefulness, and kindhearted, loving souls," Quirt said.

Van Dalfsen explained that everyone grieves in their own way, and for Gerri, it was with the help of an outlet that her daughter first introduced her to.

"Yoga is one way to process and emote in a safe space, in a class or studio space, connecting to individuals who listen, hug, reflect, even share a laugh or smile, gives everyone permission to express grief," Van Dalfsen explained. "Also, when individuals take time to breathe, move, have the opportunity to be quiet, even self-reflect, it can support the activation of the relaxation response to help decrease physical pain, anxiety, the mental and emotional overload that can accompany the processing of individual loss and the community’s tragedy. This can support transformation for an individual and the wider community."

And now, almost one year to the date, Gerri admits that she's doing just fine, all thanks to the positivity of this community.

"This community is amazing in so many ways. We are surrounded with much more good than evil. I can imagine that most people will forget and move ahead. This is healthy. But there are many lasting permanent changes in this community in honor of the four," said Quirt.

One of the lasting changes that is now apart of the community, is a rock memorial that Sara Quirt Sann's husband, Scott Sann had made as a way to show her love for the exercise, and to remember her by.

"On the stone is a replica of a picture of Sara doing a yoga tree pose in Colorado, and all of it fits together with her love of yoga, life, etc," mentioned Quirt.

Gerri hopes that as we come up on the anniversary of the shooting, that we can all move forward together and heal as one community who has overcome what was placed in front of us.

"Life can be short," Quirt said. "Try not to overthink things, appreciate the small stuff, practice minimal judging, and be grateful for the wonderful souls in your life."