Courageous People Get Scared Too
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Courageous People Get Scared Too, But We Get Back Up Anyway

Courageous People Get Scared Too

We often confuse bravery, or courage with a lack of fear. There are some very courageous people out there – folks far more courageous than I am. So, I cannot speak for those who seem to have superhuman courage, but I think most people feel fear, no matter how courageous they become. Look at the definition below and notice it speaks to the “ability’ to do something that frightens one, and “strength” in the face of fear. When you become courageous, you might feel less fear, but importantly, you begin to face fears no matter how you feel about them.

cour·ageˈkərij/noun: courage

  • the ability to do something that frightens one.
    she called on all her courage to face the ordeal”
  • strength in the face of pain or grief.
    “he fought his illness with great courage”

The Beast Slayer Was Scared

Riding that Roller Coaster From Hell as my daughter, Jamie, rode hers with the addiction Beast for more than half of her thirty-year life, was more than scary. I learned to stand up and live courageously at the tail end of her ride. I stand courageously today after her death, and during the months, and moving into years, of an unsolved murder hanging over us. You could argue that I am courageous. I am, but a situation this past couple of weeks scared me. Yep, the Beast Slayer was scared.

Would I Be Enough?

I have a very good friend, Pamela, who has a daughter with special needs. Shauna is forty-four, and is wise beyond her years in many ways, but in others she has a childlike innocence. She is married to Adrien, who has different special needs. They both live with Pamela, who advocates for and sees the souls of these two beautiful people in a way that is hard to describe. They have requested, in the event something happens to Pamela, that Rich and I look after them. Of course we agreed; it is an honor.

Truthfully, I feel a bit scared. I wonder if I could ever be enough. In witnessing all Pamela is to Shauna and Adrien and how valiantly and selflessly she loves and supports them, I wonder at times how I would ever step into even one of Pamela’s shoes. I get scared I might not be up to the task should the day ever arrive and I stepped into a guardian role.

 Poker Face

Shauna insisted I be with her for a thyroid biopsy a couple of years ago because “Auntie Val had a thyroid tumor and biopsies.” Most recently, it was discovered Shauna had very enlarged thyroid glands, and in fact, one of the masses was cancer. The one thought to be benign was huge and invading her vocal chords, threatening permanent damage. Yesterday was her surgery and if not for out of town friends visiting, I would have had some much scarier days leading up to the surgery.

Shauna was wheeled away with a huge smile on her face – so brave. The small group gathered in the waiting room laughed and talked, refusing to think the worst. I was brave. I wore a poker face. After all, I had come to be courageous.

Short-Lived Relief

The surgeon came out and announced the surgery went very well and they removed everything, including her lymph nodes, and the cancer had not spread. We literally cried tears of joy.

Our relief was short-lived. The surgeon returned about twenty minutes later to let us know Shauna was in respiratory distress and they had to intubate her again. She was headed to the ICU.

Facing the Fears

As I held Shauna’s hand in the ICU and watched her labored breathing, I fought back the tears. I needed to be strong – for Pamela, Shauna and Adrien. Pamela and I held hands and she prayed over her daughter and I remembered the time in 2004, when my own daughter laid in the ICU with a breathing tube down her throat, and a bullet stuck in her abdomen. I pushed those thoughts away – this was about Shauna, and she could count on me to be brave.

Adrien doesn’t show much emotion, but as he left the ICU after first seeing his wife, I knew he was barely holding it together. I embraced him, and he sobbed, but only for a few moments. He wiped away his tears, determined to be strong for Shauna, and for Pamela.

Courage Builds Courage

As I drove away from the hospital last night, I knew that I had been courageous. I was scared, but I faced the fears. I was ready for whatever the moment held and whatever was around the next corner. I would be there for my friends.

Did my courage help my friend and her family? I’m sure it did – even just a little. But I know this for sure –  it was me that witnessed courage yesterday. I watched this little family bravely face the unknown. I saw a couple who have individually, and collectively, faced bullying, judgement, and so much more – stand up and face their fears. I watched Pamela bravely navigate the unknown with a resolve to keep standing, no matter what.

I wondered about her life and the courage it took for a scared seventeen year old girl to make the decision to keep her baby, and to keep fighting for that child with special needs. I thought about Pamela’s belief that Shauna and Adrien have given her more than she has ever given them.

Who Really Had the Courage

I went to the hospital yesterday, full of courage, ready to be the strong one. I left knowing that I was not really the bravest one yesterday. Sure, every little bit of courage helps, but the it was the courage of this little family with “special needs” that left me just a little bit stronger.

Get around some courageous people. Courage builds courage.


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.”


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