I can’t sleep!

I can’t sleep! It’s 1:00 am and I’ve been lying in bed for over an hour and my heart is pounding so I’m wide awake. Sometimes I get anxiety at bedtime which is very annoying because I was tired and now I can’t sleep. I had a quiet day so I don’t know what triggered it….but it snuck up on me as anxiety does sometimes.

I’m on an SSRI medicine to help with depression and anxiety since the death of my son, Andrew. It is helpful, yet makes me feel disconnected which I don’t think is good. I can’t feel the way I normally feel. It’s like instead of the grief being in my actual body….it’s sitting on my shoulder. I don’t know how else to describe it. It almost feels unreal at times and like I’m in a dream….actually a nightmare!

One of Andrew’s friends asked me if she could have one of his hoodies. We were having lunch together so I wanted to bring one to give to her. I went into his untouched bedroom and was looking through his closet and starting smelling his clothes and began crying and thinking how unbelievable it is that he’s never coming home! Andrew’s room is just how he left it….his dirty clothes still in his hamper & a half full water bottle still sitting on his buereau. I just can’t get rid of anything! It’s like I’m accepting he’s gone and I am not ready for that yet! I would rather pretend maybe he’s coming home! It sounds insane because in reality I know he isn’t but I still want to trick myself into believing it even if it’s fantasy.

There are certain places my mind begins to go and I have to stop it because it’s too painful! I start to replay the accident and picture exactly what happened and see Andrew in his car. I imagine if he knew what was happening? Did he die instantly? God, I hope so! He crashed into a fence down the street from our house so me and my family have to drive by the site every single day. We have a cross there to acknowledge where our son took his last breath. I can’t go by without saying something to Andrew, but some days I wish I wasn’t forced to drive by that spot. It pisses me off that my son senselessly died there….10 seconds from our home!

I also replay his funeral and our son laying in the coffin. That day…actually those weeks are a blur to me so when I think about it, I feel like I’m watching a movie. It’s almost like I’m trying to convince myself it’s real because it still isn’t 100% real to me. So when I’m trying to go to sleep and quiet down my brain, my heart starts to pound and my mind starts to race!!

I told myself to write because maybe it would calm me down and it actually helped. I need to acknowledge my feelings so I can let them go. This is my life now and I need to do whatever is going to help me get through another day without my child. I feel like I’m talking myself off a ledge all day and it’s exhausting! My mind goes places on it’s own and I can’t always control it which is frustrating.

It’s work to just try to find small joys in each day. My two puppies have been a blessing and I’m so glad I got them. They are so sweet, affectionate & funny…I love them both so much! I definitely believe Andrew brought them to me because they are exactly what I needed! I’m so proud of Amanda & Michael and they bring a lot of joy into our home. My husband, Mike is my best friend and I’m grateful I have him by my side in our crazy life!

Losing a child is the absolute worst thing that could happen to a parent! It’s cruel and our lives will never be the same! This type of pain you never move away from, you just learn how to live with it! I’m trying so hard to do the work to heal in a healthy way and continue to live a life with value and meaning. My job is to keep my beautiful Son’s memory alive! He was so passionate and had a huge presence. Andrew was extremely generous…he would give anyone the shirt off his back! He loved huge and was so kind! I want to honor him by taking my pain of losing him and do good with it. That’s what he would want from me!

So now it’s 2 am and I’m feeling calmer and hopefully can fall asleep. I want to thank everyone who subscribed to my blog and have been following me. It’s an honor to have you read what I write & I really appreciate each one of you! I’m very grateful to have you on this journey with me!

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My name is Melissa Shelly and I am a 46 year old mom who lives in Newtown Square, PA. I never thought of myself as mighty but when my 14 year old son, Michael was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer on August 18, 2014, everyone kept telling me how strong I was. Three years later on August 12, 2017, my 20 year old son, Andrew died instantly in a car accident. Again, people kept saying I was so strong and I actually hated when people would say that to me! I have heard 100 times “I could never do what you’re doing....if my child died I wouldn’t be able to function!”. That’s what I thought about myself until it was me! I didn’t ask to be handed these tragedies & painful traumatic events and I never felt I had a choice....I had to be a mighty leader!! I am a mother of three children and a wife to a wonderful man. We needed to survive and keep hope alive in our hearts! I wish I never had to be strong....but unfortunately we don’t control many things in our lives; however, we can control how we deal with them. It isn’t easy and I have some really bad days but I continue to work on healing and living my life with meaning and purpose. I want to share my pain and my successes with anyone who wants to walk beside me!

6 thoughts on “I can’t sleep!”

    1. Hope you got to sleep! Try reading a book! That helps sometimes . I been reading Clementine , The life of Mrs Winston Churchill. It started to get boring that buts you to sleep . Trying to get through with my son who I don’t hear from unless I call on his private phone . No one answers the home phone when my name comes up. His wife won’t speak to me. Guess I have lost a son!?


  1. Sleep is a healing necessity after we have lost a loved one. When we have lost one of our children, sleep feels like a luxury, so I hear you, Melissa. Every day to wake up and put your feet down on the floor and head to the shower is an accomplishment and every mother who has been here – and I have – knows the strength that simple action takes.

    What we practice we get good at. So your walking those two cute puppies and watching them frolic will help you smile and to remember your Andrew’s smile. Now I feel like crying because I feel your daily pain which is so deeply connected to your love for him.

    Peace little sister,


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