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Ojibwe Women Remembers Daughter Lost to Drug Overdose and Who ‘had a Huge Love for People’

Cheryl Offord lost her daughter Shylynn to drug overdose in 2019. 

“Even though she was a beautiful girl inside and out, she still didn’t look at herself that way because of being bullied and things that were done and said to her all the way to grade 10,” Offord told Christine Nayler, host of the Life Stories podcast and founder of Ryan’s Hope. 

Talking about her daughter’s drug addiction, Offord said that “she started with crystal meth and then it was a roller coaster from there.” Shylynn “started IV using when she was 18 years old.” 

At the beginning of our healing process, Cheryl Offord took her daughter to embrace her Ojibwe culture and “she completely fell in love with it.” 

Offord said she started attending ceremonies and going to powwows with Shylynn. “She was a beautiful butterfly dancer, she danced for almost five years. This was a space where Shylynn flourished.”  

“She did love her culture,” Offord told Nayler. “She also loved to bake, she loved to cook. She loved family, she loved family time. And I could almost say that she was the glue to our family. And we kind of all miss that.”

Offord built a toolbox of survival mode. “So on a day, when I feel like I need to just talk to somebody, I’ll reach out to that person on a day where I feel like I just need to listen to something, I go online, and I listen to it,” Offord said. “If I feel like I need to go out into nature and go for a walk. That’s what I do. So these are all these little pieces of my toolbox that I use.”

Remembering her daughter, Offord said “she had a big heart, she was always wanting to help others, sticking by others, being there for others. She had a huge love for people that struggled so much that she almost forgot it by herself along the way. But it was just beautiful to see that in her.”

Though Shylynn died years ago, “she had made such a huge impact and imprints on people’s lives that I often get messages from them letting me know that she was talked about still,” Offord said.

Watch the full interview 

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