The Old Woman in the Cave - Valerie Silveira
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The Old Woman in the Cave

I wrote a story in my book, “Still Standing After All the Tears,” about the Old Woman in the Cave. This story is a great depiction of how we feel while riding the Roller Coaster From Hell. It is the scary place where you might end up if you continue to isolate yourself. It is the danger we all face when our Beast is connected to that of another person. It is all too real for those of us who are, or were, waiting for someone else to change.

The Old Woman In the Cave

A woman named Victoria was walking down the street one day when she stopped at a wide hole in the ground. Years before she had noticed a small crack in the same spot. Over time, the crack grew wider and deeper, but Victoria chose to ignore it. When she walked down that street, she crossed to the other side and looked the other way.

On this particular day, Victoria could no longer ignore the gaping hole. She stood at the edge and peered down into what was now a sinkhole, a good two feet below the surface. Suddenly she lost her footing and toppled head first into the hole. She sat upright and struggled to make it to her feet but she was starting to sink fast.

Victoria was on her knees attempting to make it to the edge, when the soft earth gave way. Within seconds she was up to her neck and gasping for breath as the earth pulled her down.

She opened her mouth to scream for help, but it was too late; she was pulled below the surface and the earth closed in over her head. Deeper and deeper she sunk, and as quickly as it sucked her in, the earth spit her out.

Victoria landed on her backside in the dark. She stood up and put her hands out in front of her, moving forward until her hands met with a smooth rock wall. She felt her way along the wall until she came to an adjacent wall, and then another. She was at the end of some sort of tunnel. Terrified, she turned around and stepped into the unknown.

Her eyes adjusted just enough to keep from running into the sides of the tunnel as it twisted and turned. Suddenly she saw light coming from a small opening in the tunnel wall. Bending down, Victoria peeked into a spacious cave. At the far end of the lit cave room sat an old woman at a rickety table, dabbing at her eyes with a worn handkerchief.

Victoria moved into the cave and stood up. The old woman didn’t seem to notice her, so she walked softly, toward her. Victoria stood at the table and cleared her throat. The old woman glanced at her with lifeless eyes, hobbled to a pot-bellied stove, and began to stir something that smelled dreadful.

Victoria asked the old woman what she was doing in the cave, but she was met with silence, as the old woman set the spoon down and moved painfully to a single bed that sat opposite the room from the stove. She perched herself on the edge of the bed and gently retrieved a framed photo from the nightstand.

The old woman patted the bed beside her and Victoria sat down carefully. They sat in silence for a few moments, while the old woman gently ran her fingers over the chipped picture frame and deliberately traced the outline of the young girl in the photo.

Victoria looked around the room which was several times larger than the tiny living area where the old woman had placed her things. Dozens of faded photographs hung on a nearby wall.

Still clutching the photo, the old woman finally spoke, “This is why I’m here; she’s my daughter.”

“What happened to her?”

The old woman’s body tensed and a lone tear dripped down her cheek.

“She’s lost, I guess. I mean, I haven’t seen her in years. That’s what I’m doing here; waiting.”

She placed the photo back onto the nightstand and clasped her hands together. Victoria was puzzled; the hands looked familiar, yet she had never seen this woman.

Tears began to stream down the old woman’s face. Victoria instinctively reached for the familiar hand, but the old woman pulled it away and gestured toward the photo wall.

“They don’t understand,” she said.

Victoria moved to the wall and scanned the photos. Groups of people smiled and laughed, arms slung around each other. The old woman was much younger in the photos.

“Why are you waiting here alone? Why not go back and wait with them?” Victoria gestured toward the wall of photos.

“Nobody understands how much I miss her. They want me to go on without her, but I can’t; she’s all I care about now.”

Suddenly a black cloud appeared from behind the old woman and swirled around her midsection. With each revolution a tip of the black cloud stabbed at her chest, causing her to cry out in agony.

Victoria stepped backward until she was plastered against the cave wall. A photo crashed down and the glass broke at her feet, but she never took her eyes off the old woman.

“What’s happening?” Victoria shouted.

“Get out of her, now!” demanded the old woman.

“Wait, let me help you,” Victoria pleaded.

 “Leave me alone, please.”

Victoria’s heart was racing as she stepped toward the black cloud that now enshrouded the old woman. Although she couldn’t see her anymore, she could make out the outline of the old woman’s body. Sobs could be heard from somewhere inside the blackness.

“I want to be alone, please go now!” the old woman shrieked.

 Victoria glanced at the hole in the wall on the far side of the cave and back at the screaming black cloud. She turned and ran toward the opening. Victoria bent down to exit the cave, when a large mirror above the hole caught her attention. Her heart was pounding. Victoria wanted to get out of there and to find her way out of the tunnel, but she was mesmerized by the mirror. Its gold frame was covered in precious stones.

The old woman’s faint cries could be heard at back of the cave. Reaching out to the frame, she was startled by her hand, the same hand she had noticed on the old woman.

Puzzled, Victoria stepped in front of the mirror and gasped. Staring back at her was the old woman.”

 Don’t let this be your story. Stand Up and Fight! You have no control over other people, or their Beasts. Fight the one you can control. Don’t let another day go by; another day closer to you becoming the old woman (or man) in the cave.

From the Award-Winning Book, “Still Standing After All the Tears.”


Valerie Silveira is an award-winning author, international speaker and Beast slayer. Through the devastation of losing her daughter over and over to the addiction Beast, and finally losing her to a senseless murder, Valerie empowers others to stand up and fight for their lives. She is the creator of Nine Actions to Battle Your Beast and  the Still Standing Sisterhood membership program. Valerie uses her books and Sisterhood to guide women in their quest for happiness, peace, and purpose. She builds up women of courage who stand strong against any Beast in their lives.

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