SHARING HER STORY - Lorinda Stewart, Amanda Lindhout’s mother, made a stop in Red Deer as part of her book tour, sharing her side of the story about her daughter’s kidnapping. Carlie Connolly/Red Deer Express

Lorinda Stewart recounts being negotiator to daughter’s captures

Amanda Lindhout’s mother makes Red Deer stop on book tour

Amanda Lindhout’s mother, Lorinda Stewart, made a Red Deer stop today as part of her book tour.

Her newly released book is titled One Day Closer: A Mother’s Quest to Bring Her Kidnapped Daughter Home. According to her bio on Simon & Schuster, Stewart, “She became the lead negotiator with Somali kidnappers when her daughter Amanda Lindhout, coauthor of the bestselling memoir A House in the Sky, was taken hostage in 2008. After fifteen-and-a-half months of negotiations, Lorinda was reunited with her daughter.”

Lindhout’s book, A House in the Sky, which she co-authored with Sara Corbett of the New York Times, and been on a number of best selling lists, has been translated into a dozen languages and has been released all across the world. The book details accounts of torture, despair and ultimate survival in the 15-months she spent in captivity in Somalia after being kidnapped in 2008.

Stewart said the feedback since the release of her book has been positive.

“People are surprised because no one really knew what I was doing and not very many people have actually heard my story. For the most part the news that I was the negotiator, trained by Canada’s top RCMP negotiators, to be the negotiator with the kidnappers that were holding Amanda, is surprising,” she said. “People have a lot of kind and lovely words and they are inspired by the courage that both Amanda and I had through this journey.”

She added it was always in the plan to write a book, but she had a break down following Lindhout’s return.

“When Amanda came home nothing was the way that I pictured it. I had pictured parties and celebrating,” said Stewart. “I had planned a ‘pink party’ because that was Amanda’s favourite colour. After she came home I had a pretty big break down – all the stress took it’s toll. It was a surprise, but it really shouldn’t be. Everyone including myself expected me to be happy. Although I was happy and relieved, I was also dealing with a lot of horror – the experience that my daughter had in captivity.

“She was very sick when she came back and I was very sick as well. I have talked to various therapists during the years and experienced different healing methods, but the most healing part for me has been the practice of forgiveness.”

Stewart’s book is divided into three parts – the first being when Stewart was working with the Government of Canada, the second was when the government and Stewart split ways and when a private security company was hired and Stewart remained the main negotiator and the third part of the book was about the healing process after.

In addition, getting through those gruelling 15 months that Lindhout was held captive was not an easy task for Stewart.

“My mantra, which is the title of my book, I said every day, today is one step closer to Amanda and Nigel (Brennan) coming home,” she said. “My mantra was also Amanda’s mantra. We were across the world from each other, both of us spending every day thinking today is one day closer. It’s a pretty extraordinary connection that we have as a mother and daughter.

“I also talk a lot about the practice of gratitude – when you practice gratitude which can be difficult when you are in deep trauma – it kept me optimistic.”

efawcett@reddeerexpress.com

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