Remember to stop & smell the roses!

I’ve come to realize that when a new season begins, it is painful to move ahead without one of your children alive to share in it. The sun is shining and the temps are warm enough to head to the beach and we are ready to start our first full summer season in our new beach house, however without Andrew here it isn’t the same! His bedroom still has his bathing suits in the drawers and his flip flops are in his closet waiting here for him to come back this summer. Unfortunately, he’s never coming back to this house and it makes me very sad and also very angry!

Our kids were so excited when we bought our shore house. They all picked their bedrooms and loved  having their friends come down with them. We bought a golf cart this season and Andrew would have loved driving that around! It’s just so painful that he’s not here to experience this with us! We miss him so much and we would give anything  to get him back!

Andrew had the biggest personality and was so unpredictable! We all miss his spunk & charisma! I met some of his close friends for dinner last night and I love when I’m with them & we share stories about Andrew.  I enjoy listening to them talk about him and it fills my heart with happiness! They laugh and speak about him in a more intimate way than everyone else! They knew a whole other side of Andrew & when I’m around them I feel much closer to my son. They are a different extension of him and I know how much he adored them and how special his friends were to him. They all  miss his crazy, goofy yet caring spirit!  Andrew was one of a kind and brightened every room he entered so there  is a lot to miss! I am honored that they want to spend time with me & I hope we always keep in touch. I’ll do my best to make that happen forever.

I like being down here at the beach  and going on long walks along the ocean and listening to the waves crashing onto the rocks & feeling the rays from the sun beating on my face!  I just walk and ponder about my life. I think about how much I miss my son & wonder why my life turned out this way? I try to find joy in my days but it’s not as easy as it once was! But I never want to lose seeing beauty in this world! I don’t want to be a bitter, angry, miserable person for the rest of my life so I allow myself to be sad but then I need to push myself to move on. I just refuse to live in that space! I can feel it but then have to keep going! It’s a lot of work but worth it! I still have to live my life without my son and that just plain sucks! My heart is broken and there will always be a void in my life; however, I know Andrew would want me to live with joy & laughter for the both of us, so I’m really trying to do that!

I want to honor my son and take his crazy energy and use it for good! My life  is different now and always will be but I find it important to work hard at healing and living a meaningful life! I don’t know why I was handed so much heartache & tragedy but I was and I need to take it & learn from it. Take what I learn and use it to be a better person! I need to help others and just live the best life I can not only for me, but for Andrew.

I refuse to stop living, stop laughing and stop seeing the beauty in life! To me that woul be a waste of a life and I would never want to live that way! It’s an effort every day to get myself moving but once I do I am always so grateful I did! I took my puppies on a long walk along the sea wall and it was a gorgeous day! The water was a beautiful shade of blue and green & the sun was shining brightly and warmed my skin!. We stopped and just soaked it in!  I talked to Andrew and tried to feel his presence!! My puppies, Bruce Wayne & Harley Quinn (named after Andrew’s love of Batman) remind me of him at times. They live in the moment and love to explore the world around them! I know he picked these puppies for me to keep me on my toes and feel that he’s always by my side! He wants me to stop and smell the roses as he always did!

So this Memorial Day weekend I’m going to do my best to enjoy being  around my loved ones and be grateful for our shore house and having it filled with my  wonderful family! I’m going to appreciate the amazing ocean & relaxing beach and watch the  glorious sunset each night! I will do this for me and for Andrew! I will keep him in my heart and share this weekend with him! My beautiful son who I miss so much! I love you, Andrew always & forever!


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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!

9 thoughts on “Remember to stop & smell the roses!”

  1. Our hearts are full of love and hope for you, Mike and the kids. I am so glad that you are doing a blog. I see and hear so much more positivity in your words. Mighty Melissa you are and always will be a shining light to so many people and it is getting brighter every day. Have a wonderful weekend at the beach and we will see you next week. 😘


  2. The summer feels so different now without your son dancing through the waves, hanging with his millions of friends. A handsome presence on the beach, in your new cottage and everywhere.

    You are bringing Andrew’s spunk everywhere you go, Melissa. Look out to the sea, it is eternal and so is his light and your love and energy for him.

    P.S. I think you might want to check out and send them this entry, particularly. They would very much appreciate your contribution to their newsletter to help other parents who have lost children. I know I sure do. If you want to add @MothersFindingMeaningAgain here on FB I would welcome it!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. We are down the shore too and we were all talking about Andrew last night. Reminiscing about all of our inside jokes we all shared and remembering his nickname that everyone gave him down here, “Shelby”. Everyone here absolutely loved him, he was one of us!! I miss him Melissa and I think of him every single day. Truly. And I still cry when I think of him and of all the good times our family was able to share with him. He will never be forgotten. Always with the Bradlys. Love you Melissa xoxo


  4. I am happy that you got to spend time with Andrew’s friends. How great it must have been to hear stories you may not have heard about him.
    The way you describe the walks and the waves I could almost feel the sun on my face and hear the waves. May you feel Andrew in all you do this weekend. 👣🙏


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