In December, a crowd of 400 attended a Mothers Against Drunk Driving candlelight vigil and received an unexpected yet touching welcome from Barrington Police Chief John LaCross.
LaCross asked the group to place their feet flat on the floor and close their eyes as he guided them through a meditation that included deep breathing and visualizing a lost loved one as music played in the background.
He then invited them to view a light. “As you get closer to the light, you notice a person is in the center waiting for you. This person is your special loved one who has passed over into the spirit world.” He guided the group to see their loved one’s smile. They want you to release your sadness, anger, guilt and loneliness, he said.
Many in the group were brought to tears.
LaCross has helped families hurt by drunk driving with guided meditation for many years, hoping to let them know they are not alone and their loved one is still with them.
LaCross lost his older brother to suicide in 1979 and is no stranger to loss and grief. His brother’s death helped him start on his own spiritual journey.
He wrote his first version of The Visit, the guided meditation he used last month, after he was asked to welcome families to a MADD vigil by the executive director, Gabrielle Abbate. She told him it would be a good idea to discuss statistics and possibly mention underage drinking as two local teenagers had died recently in a drunken-driving crash.
He felt that this was not what people wanted to hear, and they wanted instead to connect again with their loved one.
LaCross meditates for 30 minutes every night by candlelight and is a Reiki master. He has also used his healing-touch training with cancer patients at a nearby hospital and for very ill family and friends. He has taken several grief counseling classes and enrolled in a stress reduction program this year.
LaCross offers a real story of inspiration and power, and hopes to bring a more holistic approach to policing one day and even offer a class to help police officers reduce their stress through meditation.
We can only hope he succeeds, given the high-stress environment officers face daily. Even the U.S. government is now turning to meditation as a way to not only reduce stress for soldiers but also relieve PTSD.