Living Without My Daughter
Grief and loss are a part of the deal living on planet earth. Living without loved ones who are absent from our lives by circumstances, or death, leaves a gaping hole in our heart. How do I live with the grief of losing a child? How do I deal with that hole in my heart?
The Home Invasion
On August 29, 2016 – two years ago today, I got the knock on the door no mother can prepare for. I was standing as strong as I could be, the mom of a daughter who was lost in the belly of her addiction beast, but that news knocked me right back down on the mat, and my Beast got back on top of me in that very familiar position.
I like to say it was the day the Beast didn’t just knock on my door, but rather he broke it down – a home invasion. But, that is not really fair to the pretty young officer from the coroner’s office who came to deliver the news that my 30-year old daughter had been murdered the night before.
It was, however, the Beast who put that poor girl in a position to have to stand on a front porch and watch my legs buckle under me.
“It was going to take a very powerful perspective to get me back on my feet.”
I figured out shortly after Jamie’s death, that if I was going to get back up off the mat again and learn to live without her, I was going to have to start living a “new normal.” Every single thing I have done since Jamie’s death, that was once normal, was foreign.
The idea was that I would move through each of these situations and moments that would at some point feel normal again, and over time, the hole in my heart would heal.
This wasn’t the same as other grief I have experienced and I knew it would take a very powerful perspective to get me back on my feet and smiling again.
I Made a Deal with the Hole in My Heart
That’s when I recognized the hole in my heart. In fact, I made a deal with it!
Call me crazy, but I knew there was no healing this one. I would have to learn to live with it. My heart would have to contain the hole, and everything else a heart should hold, all at the same time.
Here’s the deal:
I will never ignore the hole. When it lets me know it needs attention, I will honor it right away. I will give the hole in my heart the respect and time it deserves.
But, I will never allow the hole to swallow me up.
That’s the deal. You can stay in my heart as long as I live, but you will not take over my heart.
“How Am I Going to Live Without Her?”
A couple of days after Jamie died, I said to my son, Sean (not really expecting an answer),
“How am I going to live without her?”
“You have another child, mom, that’s how.”
Message delivered, understood, and agreed with.
That was the moment I knew I could do it. It took me a little while to get to the realization that this would require me to negotiate with a hole in my heart, but it was the message I needed to hear. It was another one of those moments that changed my life forever.
Finding the Courage to Be Happy Again
It all made sense – it was possible to live with a hole in my heart and be happy again. I had reasons to be happy again. One of them was Sean. I had other reasons too.
But, this was not going to be easy. I spent decades believing that if anything happened to one of my kids, life would be over for me.
The hole wanted A LOT of attention in the early weeks.
I was confused, and heartbroken, and I just flat-out missed my daughter.
No, this was not going to be an easy road, but I already knew how to stand up and fight, so one more time, I stood up. I learned to live with the hole in my heart. I found the courage to be happy again.
Grateful to have this memorial spot in my yard. It is often a good place to allow the hole some time and attention.
One of the many tributes to Jamie – my angel.
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 eventually 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.”