Frequently Asked Questions
1. When and how did your husband die?
My husband, Officer Shawn Silvera was killed in the line of duty on September 6, 2005 while placing stop sticks on the highway in an effort to stop a high speed chase. He was purposely hit by a felon who had been fleeing police. Shawn was killed on impact, an instant act that instantly changed our life the moment he was taken.
2. Explain your message BE HERE NOW:
I remember going for a bike ride with Shawn one September morning, the day being warm and inviting. Before we had to pick up our kids from the neighbor’s house, we went to grab a quick coffee and I shared with Shawn a quote from the book, “Captivating” by John and Stasi Eldredge which read, “Now we should live while the pulse of life is strong, life is a tenuous thing…fragile, fleeting…don’t wait for tomorrow. Be here now. Be here now. Be here now.” Three days later Shawn was killed. The phrase “Be Here Now” became my mantra–my message on how to continue living, how to work through grief, how to raise my children…how to survive.
3. What is one of the clichés of grieving that bothers you?
Phrases such as “move on” or “move forward” are hard for me to relate to. They seem to negate the past and suggest I need to “move away” from what I once had in my life. My marriage to Shawn was a daily blessing; it wasn’t something I would have chosen to “move on” from. The idea of incorporating my past life with my present life seems to make more sense to me. I desire to take the love and goodness I had from my life with Shawn and live out those blessings today–to know and share love in my current relationships. Instead of concerning myself with “moving on” I focus on “moving.” I hope that I make each day matter by participating in the life I have in front of me.
4. What can I do for my friend who is hurting?
This is the number one question I am asked after a speaking engagement. Although everyone grieves and heals in unique ways at different paces, one of the best things we can do for someone else in a crisis situation is be there. My best comfort came from the friends and family who said, “we will listen without trying to fix this un-fixable situation. We will be here for you as long as you need–tomorrow, next month, a year from now, five years, ten years…we are here to walk with you in this journey of loss and pain.” It is vital to feel connected. If you can connect your loved one to someone else who has had a similar experience it can potentially be a life-line for them, offering them comfort and hope–telling them they are not alone.
5. Tell us about your book, “BELIEVE- A Young Widow’s Journey Through Brokenness and Back.” How did it come about?
A month after Shawn died I started blogging online and receiving emails from readers asking if I would consider writing a book about my journey. The year after my spouse died I began working with a life-coach in an effort to put action behind my grief. I was tired of talking in circles about my sadness, I knew that I needed to put my love and attention into something positive. I never realized the potential my pain had to make a difference in someone else’s life until I started sharing my grief journey with others. Today the book represents to me “comfort.” It is my tangible way to tell others I care and hold onto hope.
6. Tell us about your children:
At the time of Shawn’s death our son, Jordan, was 20 months old and our daughter, Madelynn, was 5 months old. Grieving with young children has been one of my life’s greatest challenges. I strongly believe that even babies can sense the loss of a parent and must be given the love and space to grieve. I continually tell people that my children are thriving. They are happy kids who love life and love discovering the life in front of them. As their mother I do not want to miss out on the joy of raising these two precious little people!
7. How do you handle the challenges and milestones of single-parenting?
The work of parenting is tremendous. Tackling the assignment as a single mom often feels impossible. I have learned that I cannot possibly be all things, all roles, both the “mom” and the “dad” to my kids, even though it often feels like I’m asked to do that. The wonderful support of friends and family are treasures to us that I cannot ignore or take for granted. My children will grow to be strong and courageous because of what they have been through and because of the people that have stepped into their lives to help. Still there are days when I have to cling to the motto my sister shared with me, “Keep Trying!” When I feel like I have failed or want to check out I remind myself that I can try again tomorrow. We will never be perfect. But, I do work to give my kids a stable and loving childhood while being realistic with my abilities and limits.
8. What keeps you going?
Many things. I love to spend time with my children, bake, train for a 5K and write! One of the most important things for healing is to do something. Whatever sparks interest, passion and energy. It may be as simple as taking a bath, looking at a magazine, changing a light-bulb or calling a friend. The list of ideas are endless: volunteering, making a gourmet dinner, journaling, joining a new class, taking a free day from work. It is vital to find what you like to do and try it again–even if that means small doses. Movement is a key to lifting the spirit.
9. What projects are you currently working on?
I love to write. It is my therapy. I don’t claim to be a professional writer, but I love to investigate the field of writing and how to become better. I am working on a second book about comfort and how to help someone else who is going through a difficult time. I believe we are all called in this life to be “comforters,” to reach out and help where we can. This is the only way we really make it through.
10. Are you open to dating again?
I am currently dating an amazing man who daily provides my life with grace, friendship and smiles. He has a great personality and confidence–someone who fits into our lives (my children and I) and accepts us as we are, where we have been and most importantly where we are going.