Maree Elizabeth Rivera

Maree Elizabeth Rivera

Outgoing, caring, compassionate, funny, adventurous

Maree was a caring, loving person, very outgoing and always smiling; everyone who met her adored her. She loved to dance, spend time at the beach and was a social butterfly. She enjoyed coloring in adult coloring books, fishing, horseback riding, and driving ATV’s.

Maree had a passion for the elderly. She was moving toward becoming a geriatric nurse before her addiction took over. Maree also had a gift for hair styling, and was the go-to person for prom hairdos when she was in high school. She tried to get her cosmetology license to be a beautician, but again, her addiction to drugs impeded her success.

The greatest loss due to Maree’s substance use disorder was her inability to raise her daughter Olivia 12, who she loved intensely. She missed her a great deal, but also knew that being raised by her paternal grandparents was in Olivia’s best interest. Maree was working toward a time when she could be the mother she wanted to be for her daughter and was close to getting there. Maree’s mother said, “Olivia will always know how much her mom loved her. I see a little Maree every time I see Olivia and feel so blessed I have a little of Maree left.”

Maree’s mother, Susanne, related a story about the time Maree saved her life. Her mom was at Maree’s house getting her hair styled, when her blood pressure suddenly dropped and she passed out. Maree thought it was a heart attack and immediately called 911. When her mom came to, she said she was fine and didn’t need to be taken to the hospital. Maree insisted she go and after four days of testing, it was revealed that she had a life-threatening aneurysm. She had immediate cranial surgery to fix the aneurysm. “If she hadn’t made me go to the hospital, I would definitely not be on this earth right now,” her mom said.

Shortly before she passed away, Maree spent time on her mom’s farm. “I was so blessed to have her those two weeks. It was on my bucket list to have her trail ride with me, and it happened,” her mom said. ‘The smile on her face while riding was unforgettable.”

During active addiction, Maree’s personality changed, she had mood swings and lost a great deal of weight. She would become easily angered and aggressive, which was unlike her when she was sober. “It was so difficult trying everything you can to help only to find that nothing is working,” her mom said. ‘It made me so sad that there was little I could do for her.” Her mom misses Maree’s laugh, hugs and her smile, and especially misses holding her, hearing her voice and being called Mom.

Susanne has learned a lot about addiction and now understands it better. “Addiction took my daughter from me even prior to her death,” her mom stated. “I had to change the way I thought and spoke around her when she was using drugs. I will never be the same; I miss her every day, that will never change.’

Maree’s mother, Susanne Way, provided the information for this narrative.

February 20, 1989-March 7, 2020

Age 31-Lived with the disease of addiction 15 years

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