Scores mourn Melissa
Just under four weeks after the police upgraded her death from natural causes to murder, Melissa Silvera was laid to rest at the St Andrew Parish Church Cemetery on Friday, following a poignant funeral in the sanctuary.
The wife of People’s National Party former Member of Parliament Jolyan Silvera had been baptised in the church just over 40 years ago. She was married in the church in December 2015, and on Friday, family and friends said farewell to her in the same church with her murder mystery unsolved.
The atmosphere was filled with a mixture of sorrow and celebration as tributes were presented, reflecting the profound impact that Melissa Patrice Walter-Silvera had on the lives of those who knew her.
Tributes from her cherished “boy mom group” — including heartfelt words from Lacy Wan and others — painted a vivid picture of the unwavering love that Melissa embodied throughout her life.
Her widower’s tribute was eloquently delivered by his mother Cynthia Silvera as he wept openly and sought solace in the embrace of their three boys.
Melissa’s memory was described as a comforting beacon of inspiration and enduring love. The void left by her physical absence was acknowledged, and Jolyan, through his mother, expressed his commitment to carrying forward the flames of her love.
One particularly resonant quote shared during his tribute encapsulated the essence of Melissa’s character: “Aristotle said, ‘We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence is not an act but a habit’; this was Melissa.”
The funeral provided a space for reflection, shared memories, and a collective expression of gratitude for the time spent in her company.
In his homily, Canon Sirrano Kitson pointed out that Jesus taught people that they should seek to express gratitude.
He told the congregation that following the will of the way of Jesus requires individuals to follow the Lord’s Prayer and the Beatitudes.
“Melissa had a deep faith. She was baptised here in 1981 — I held her in my arms — then as a young, fresh, preacher. When she returned after her studies I was chaplain at the JDF (Jamaica Defence Force). Since being here she would come and see me every month. The office staff knew when she came, everything would stop for two hours… no matter what was happening,” said Kitson.
“Melissa had an appetite for excellence — only the best was good enough. She also had a heart of compassion for the poorest, most vulnerable and the voiceless in the society. That was her heart. Even as she stepped from Petrojam [in 2008] and went through various avenues, she remained rooted in her faith. Each month we discussed many issues — I visited her home. I presided at her wedding and baptism of her children,” added Kitson.
“A person rooted in the faith of Jesus Christ, as she was initiated into the faith through baptism, she experienced the love and care of Leslene [her mother]. Many would think she was spoiled by her mother… but they should have met her grandparents. Her grandparents were members of this church — they started the process… Leslene continued it.
“She was nurtured here. In all the storms and stress of life, it was her spiritual nurturing that strengthened her to face so much. Even the loss of her child, it goes against the natural order,” said Kitson, in reference to Justin Silvera, the couple’s child who was two years old when he reportedly drowned in a pool at their Stony Hill, St Andrew, home.
“It was her faith that nurtured her. It was her faith that strengthened her. It was her faith that sustained her. We are invited to invest more of our energies, time, by being nurtured in the faith of Jesus Christ through the practice of the Lord’s Prayer. We too often take life for granted and so many things for granted,” added Kitson as he urged the congregation to “live like Jesus, walk the way of Jesus, and do not be tempted by the waywardness and the glitter and glamour of the world”.
Melissa Silvera was found dead in bed in the family’s home on November 10, 2023 from what was initially reported as natural causes.
Weeks later a post-mortem revealed that she had been murdered, with three gunshot wounds found in her body.
Investigators are yet to reveal if they have determined a motive for her murder, or if they have identified a suspect.