Excruciatingly Painful Love
Nearly 13 years ago, my beautiful, athletic, artistic, funny, quick-witted daughter took a very wrong turn in her life. (Out of respect for her story, I choose to call her Jordan). She left her safe, loving suburban life and made her way into a very different lifestyle from the way she was raised.
Three years later, in August of 2004, she was shot by her ex-boyfriend. In a fleeting moment, I was thrust into a world that I never wanted to know. On the eastside of Lake Washington sat our peaceful home in Bellevue, Washington. That day I was on the other side of the lake in Seattle, in the ICU of Harborview Medical Center.
It was surreal. As I waited for Jordan to awake after emergency surgery the night before, memories flooded my mind, and my heart. The past three years had been a far cry from where I thought Jordan’s life would be. The girl that I once quipped would be “the first woman president” was lying in a hospital bed with nearly 50 staples holding her abdomen together, and a 9 mm bullet lodged in her abdominal wall.
That day I was certain, would be worst day of my life, but it wasn’t – not by a long shot. In the years after the shooting, Jordan slipped further away. Today she is addicted to heroin.
As Jordan’s life spun out of control, my heart broke a thousand times. No matter how many times I put on the Supermom Cape, I couldn’t seem to save her. I was powerless to battle her Beast for her. I knew I needed to let her find her own way, but fear gripped me. If I pulled out the safety net, then she might…I could not bear to speak the words.
I know about tough love. Sure, I said no to my children plenty of times. I made my teenagers stay home on a Friday night, because they had not done their chores or acted disrespectfully. Turning my back on my then twenty seven year-old daughter, who may have had nobody left in the world that was willing to go another round with her, was not tough love.
It was excruciatingly painful love.
Loving Myself Enough
When it comes to our children, mothers are willing to do just about anything. We would step in front of a speeding train to save our kids, or go without food to be sure they are fed. It does not matter how old they become, this is a bond like no other. Moms love their children, often too much.
I finally did it. I took off the Supermom Cape, and put it away. It was so tattered that I really should have tossed it out, but instead I folded it up and tucked it away. I have no plan to get it out again, but somehow I could not get rid of it. There are a lot of memories with that cape, good or bad.
It turns out that the very thing preventing me from taking it off is what eventually caused me to remove it. Love.
My codependency, enabling (and whatever else you might want to throw in there to describe it) behavior was destroying me. And it was not helping Jordan. I took off my Supermom Cape out of love. I love Jordan too much to continue helping her self-destruct. I love her too much to continue controlling her journey, and keeping her from her school of life.
Mostly, I found out that I love myself enough.
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.
Until her death in August 2016, Valerie chose to call her daughter Jamie, “Jordan.”