I’m a survivor!

It’s been a while since I’ve written a blog…I started twice and had to stop because I just couldn’t gather my thoughts. I’ve been struggling with my feelings and I’m all over the place. One minute I’m okay, the next I’m sad then angry and it’s exhausting. I haven’t been able to get up the energy to delve into my emotions.

Today was 11 months since my life was so horribly changed forever! Andrew died 11 months ago and I can’t even tell you how I’ve survived this long without him! My life has been a complete blur and I’m still in shock. I’m trying to figure something out to do on the 1 year anniversary of my son’s passing and then his birthday, which follows shortly after. I need to have something to do in order to get through it with my sanity. I don’t have any tattoos but want to get one with Andrew’s handwriting that says “I love you” so I may finally go for it on Andrew’s Birthday (which is Michael’s first day of College).

Life is crazy for sure! Why do some people have to suffer so much more than others? Why are people born into poverty and others with silver spoons in their mouths? Why are some people gifted athletes and others completely paralyzed? Why are some people healthy their whole lives and others have serious heart, lung or liver conditions? Why are some people born with no mental issues and others struggle with horrible mental illnesses their whole lives?? There are a million secenarios to wonder about but we don’t have the answers & never will here on earth!

I feel like I’ve been handed a lot of struggles, heartache & tragedies in my life. I had my daughter when I was 20 and had to drop out of college and figure out how to be a grown up very quickly, My father suffered from bipolar disorder so my childhood was very dysfunctional and he committed suicide 12 years ago, my son was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer at age 14 & my other son died in a car accident at 20 years of age. But I’ve also had so much happiness in my life! I married the love of my life & my husband is my best friend.  I have a beautiful family and the most wonderful friends anyone could ask for! I have been surrounded by so much love and support which I’m so grateful for. My son, Michael is healthy and doing great. He’s starting nursing school in the fall and I’m so excited for him! My daughter, Amanda is back in school doing an accelerated nursing program & she’s kicking butt! She already has her bachelors in psychology and I couldn’t be prouder of her!

I also have a wondeful mother who has been a huge help to me. She’s always available in any way I need her but also gives me my space. My puppies make me smile every single day! They’re so loving and comforting plus so much fun! I’ve been spending a lot of time down the shore and I find more at peace there. The beach is so healing for my soul & I’m very grateful for my beach house! I never thought I would own a house down the shore and I feel very blessed that we do! I love it!

Tonight I had dinner with my son and his girlfriend and then my husband got down and we all went up to the boardwalk. We went on a roller coaster and got treats. It was a very enjoyable night just walking on the boards on a beautiful night with the people I love. Unfortunately, Amanda has work & school so couldn’t be here with us. When I’m with my family I always feel the best! I have days where I don’t want to get out of bed and just want to hide from the world & cry. But thank God, I also have some good days too where I can actually have fun & laugh!

I miss Andrew immensely and I think about him all the time. Everything reminds me of him and I always wish he was with us to laugh at things we know he would find amusing or watch the new superhero movies that are coming out or talk about what’s happening in WWE wrestling. I often wonder “what would Andrew think of this or that?” He had such a huge personality so his presence was always larger than life and I miss that tremendously!!

Somehow I’m surviving but it’s not easy it’s never easy! The pain is always there when I wake up each day and when I go to bed each night….it’s with me! I can’t believe my baby boy has been gone almost a year! When I take the time to really contemplate the facts that he’s gone forever, it enrages me! It scares me, it saddens me and it makes me feel physically ill! I still can’t soak it all in at once or I would go absolutely out of my mind! It’s just too much!

So I do what I need to do to get through another day. Another day closer to the one year anniversary of Andrew’s death! I do what I need to do to survive! I surround myself with the people who make me feel better….my family & my close friends! I talk to Andrew and tell him how much I love him and miss him. I play with my puppies and cuddle with them. I read good books and go for walks. I also go to my therapist and share my feelings with her. All of these things help me heal.

My huband, Mike and I share a lot with each other about our grief. I know there are many parents who struggle with connecting with their spouse during such tragedies but Mike & I are very open with each other and that’s a huge gift. I couldn’t imagine not being able to share my most intimate feelings with him.

As usual I’m writing this very late at night while lying in bed. It’s 2 am and I’m wide awake. My mind is very busy at bedtime. Tomorrow is a new day and I will wake up and face it like I do every day! Hopefully, it will be a beach day and I can have my toes in the sand, hear the waves crashing and feel the sun on my face!  No better way to spend a day! I will miss my son and long for his hugs and kisses but I will do my best to honor him and keep him with me in my heart! My Andrew was a very special kid….one of a kind for sure!! I miss everything about him….even the things that drove me crazy!

Andrew, I can’t believe you’ve been gone for 11 months! I never would have thought I could continue to live after losing a child but here I am surviving somehow! I will continue to do my best each day for you! I’ll have some bad days but I promise to have more better ones! You are my sunshine for always and I love you so much! I need you to give me strength to get through August!!

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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!

7 thoughts on “I’m a survivor!”

  1. We have control over how we deal with things but no control over the things. That is what I will take away from this post. Keep on writing Melissa!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. ❤️ Thanks for always sharing. We miss Andrew so much and it helps reading your blogs. Keep on writing and sharing melissa . ❤️❤️❤️❤️


  3. You touch us all with your words, Mighty Melissa. You touch us with your imagery of life in all of its joy and all of its sorrow.

    I wish someone had some answers to those introspective and existential questions you ask. But there are scholars who say that the questions must be asked and often they are more important than the answers.

    Keep us all in your life. Your Andrew has a plan for you and I think it’s big, really big.

    Liked by 1 person

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