On November 19, 2015, Pete and Beth Mannino planned on Christmas shopping the next day for their two children, 24-year-old Brandi and 20-year-old Joey. Little did they know that the next morning, they would wake up to one of their worst fears…the loss of their only daughter.
That morning Pete didn’t think anything of it when he did not see his daughter’s car as he pulled out of the driveway on the way to the gym. Brandi had an active schedule and was always on the go. She worked several different jobs and often stayed with her cousin at the last minute.
During his workout, Pete’s mom called with startling news that no one had heard from Brandi or her very good friend, Eike Krebs, since their departure from an event the previous night. Eike’s mom said it was very unusual for him not to come home, and the last time they talked he had mentioned taking Brandi out to the pier at Tiscornia Beach.
After arriving at Tiscornia Beach they encountered Brandi’s car, caution tape, reporters, fire fighters, and police. “The police officers came up to us and I’ll never forget hearing the words, ‘Your daughter is deceased.’ They said it as gently as they could, but hearing those words was just devastating,” said Pete.
The weather on the night Brandi and Eike visited Tiscornia was extremely windy, causing the waves to crash along the pier up to two stories high. No one knows if Brandi and Eike actually went out on the pier, however the assumption is that they did and were washed away by a wave. “Our lives became a nightmare; this had to be someone else’s life,” Beth recalled. “This could not be happening to us; this happened to other people, this was not in our plan for our family.”
The Manninos’ experience became very public. Many community members reached out to the family, offering sympathy and stories of both Brandi and Eike. Beth and Pete are so appreciative for the support that they received.
Within a few weeks of Brandi’s death, Pete’s sister recommended Lory’s Place to the grieving parents. “Right away we knew that this was right for us. The staff was amazing and we bonded with people suffering the same way that we are,” Pete shared. “We make the best out of our time at Lory’s Place. We have made some great friends and met wonderful people. Sometimes we laugh, other times we cry, but we will continue to go.”
Pete and Beth are so grateful for the role Lory’s Place has played in their lives and encourage others to support it. “We learned coping skills and gained strength through our discussions with others who have experienced similar losses,” said Beth. “We’ve been able to make life-long friends, which happens
when you share something so devastating, and we are all there for each other. Lory’s Place has been the best fit for us.”
Brandi loved her family and friends, she loved children and music, and had a strong faith in God – fighting dearly for the causes she believed in. For the Manninos it is hard not to have Brandi with them and the hole in their hearts reflects her absence.
The Manninos are stepping through their grief journey one day at a time, last year attending the inaugural adult grief retreat held by Lory’s Place and continuing to go to twice a month support groups. It is still very difficult for Pete to look at photos of Brandi or to drive by the cemetery. He has learned that he can take each day and
grieve at his own pace.
When asked directly about Lory’s Place, Pete states, “I feel comfortable at Lory’s Place. I am able to open up, express my feelings, and there is no judgment.” Beth added, “Lory’s Place for me is a hidden gem in the community. They’ve helped and
touched the lives of so many people. By making a donation to Lory’s Place, you are helping people that don’t know how to help themselves.”
Lory’s Place is respected as the regional leader in grief support services, and in the past year has:
- Supported more than 3,026 grieving children, teens, and adults
in southwest Michigan and northern Indiana
- Provided innovative, life-affirming programs in the community,
at business centers, and at 45 schools in three counties,
including Camp Lifetimes for children and an adult grief retreat
- Presented grief and loss educational sessions in local venues,
and continued to mentor other grief support providers
Since the death of a family member usually brings financial instability among other life-altering changes, Lory’s Place is proud that all of our professional services are provided without charge. Supported solely through private donations from individuals, foundations and organizations, Lory’s Place receives no state, federal, or insurance funding and does not charge a fee for any services.
No one should grieve alone, and with your generous support of Lory’s Place, you make the transformational work we do possible! Lory’s Place programs are available to all individuals who are in need of our services.