believe by jennifer silvera

Thoughts from Mary (My first attempt at blogging)

As a counselor, I am struck again and again by the universal nature and influence of death and loss.  Everyone has or will lose someone they love.  It is only a matter of time.  While death is universally experienced by all, grief is processed so differently and individually.  But everyone has to answer the question, “How do I go on and how do I live?”  

I just finished Believe: A Young Widow’s Journey Through Brokeness and Back by Jennifer Silvera today with streaming tears of conviction and of sorrow. Conviction for how now to live and sorrow for this woman’s loss.  I am struck by how poignantly and clearly she captures the raw and  unending nature of grief and loss.  

Jennifer’s husband, Shawn Silvera, was killed at the age of 32 in 2005 in the line of duty in Lino Lakes, MN, leaving her with a two children under the age of 2.  She is about my age and yet writes with wisdom of one who has lived a long life.  I met her at a function last month ( where she was the guest speaker. I was struck by her honesty, humility, and quiet strength even in the midst of still fresh sorrow.  I was intrigued.  I found out she had just published her story that month.  I bought the book to support her.  As I read her book, I was struck by how her book supported me.  I cannot imagine her pain and how she manages to rise each morning, leaning heavily into God’s presence and strength.  

A number of quotes from this book remain with me and serve as reminders of both the precious and fleeting nature of my life.  I don’t intend to be cohesive in thought or pithy in this blog, just a conduit of a powerful message.  If it makes you curious, you will have to get the book.  She writes:

  •   “I don’t want to settle for an unfulfilling life because I LACK THE COURAGE to go after the life I really wanted” (p. 216).
  • “The best therapy for loss is to do something with the grief” (p.213).  (She writes this not as one who does not know grief but knows it so well that it consumes her daily and therefore must do something in order to not let death win twice.)
  • “I feel closest to God when I am creating something new” (p. 213).  I resonate with this immensely.
  • “It’s a lonely place to to be stuck in hate” (p 107).
  • “Jennifer, our lives can become death or death can be one part of our lives. We choose.”  (a statement from another widow to the author, p. 110)
  • One moment of many moments when she felt like she could no longer go on, she wrote this prayer: “God when I am immobile, be my movement.  You are my heart’s healing.  Take your place in me.  You see all the dimensions that intersect grief.  All the levels and layers of hurt.  Be my promise for the future. Be my comfort for the past.  Be my reflection for the moment.” (p. 119)


See the beauty.  See the blessing.  Be here now.  (her words not mine)