Almost a year later….

In two weeks, it will be a year since my son, Andrew died. How is that possible? I can’t even explain where this past year has gone or how I’m still standing. It’s just one big blur! However, as the one year anniversary is approaching I am feeling the pain & sadness much deeper …it’s like the fog is clearing. That is actually very scary to me. I’ve been crying a lot out of nowhere and my anxiety is coming back. I keep replaying that awful day over & over in my head.

I was talking to another mother who lost her child five years ago & I asked her if it got easier the second year and she said No…it actually was worse for her. The second year the haze wore off & the reality of her child’s death set in. She told me it does soften eventually but not for a few more years. I think it will be the same for me.

I have to continue living and force myself to do things I don’t want to do because once I get moving, it does help. I’m very blessed to have a great family. I have two other awesome kids & a very supportive husband. Also, I have wonderful friends who I can talk to & stil laugh and have fun with!

I also go to a grief therapist who has become a special part of my life. It was important for me to find someone to talk to that completely understood what I was feeling and she does. Unfortunately , we are both members of the worst club on earth. Her beautiful daughter passed away nineteen years ago so she gets it. I respect & trust her immensely and she has really been a Godsend in my life:

I stopped a lot of the medications I was taking because I didn’t like all of the side effects. There is no magic pill…the only way to heal is to walk through the pain.
There is no way around it. I’m not saying medications can’t help because I know it can. I just need to start from scratch because I didn’t even know what was helping and what wasn’t. I believe sometimes, less is more.

I need to figure out some healthier coping methods such as exercise & meditation. I’ve been using food & sleep as my therapy and I need to change that. I think sleep is important but my sleeping patterns are all out of whack & I’m always tired. I also use food as comfort. I’ve been eating whatever I want and as much as I want and I hate the way I look & feel right now. I’ve gained a lot of weight & just feel so unhealthy.

I was at the cemetery a few times this week and I told Andrew this year my goal is to lose weight. He was so brutally honest & if he were here he would be telling me I need to go on a diet! He got that from his father!

So i am planning to have a balloon release at the cemetery on the one year anniversary of Andrew’s death. After, I’ll have everyone back to my house. I’ve been in touch with Andrew’s friends and they are the reason I want to do this. Being around all of them brings me comfort.

I feel closer to Andrew when I’m around his friends. They love to talk about him and I love to hear their stories. They knew a different piece of Andrew. He was so private about his relationships with other people so I have learned a lot about Andrew through them. He was a safe place for people to go when they needed someone to talk to because he was so loyal & nonjudgmental. He adored his friends and they felt the same about him. He would drop everything to help anyone who needed him and I’m so proud of him for that.

I needed something to do on that day to honor Andrew & his precious life! He loved a good party so that’s what we are going to do! We are going to celebrate Andrew together. We will share all the crazy & funny stories we have about him….and hopefully I’ll get to hear some new ones!

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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 “Almost a year later….”

  1. The first year without your beloved Andrew approaches. How could that time elapse a bereaved mother asks? How did this many days go by without him here? It feels like a fog in the first year. I still ask others who know me, “How was I?” Some tell me and others just look at me. The second year is different. We start to see that we have to crawl our way back a bit. We read everything in sight, listen to every sage that resonates with our soul. We still give and get lots of hugs and lots of kisses; human touch is profoundly necessary with profound grief.

    That you have remained so thankful and aware of your surrounding network – other children, good mate, tremendous friends, other family – has so much to say about the woman you have always been. But before dear Andrew died everything seemed manageable even given that you had such worriment about your other son who is now rocking the world and ready to set the medical world on fire with his sis, amazing amazing amazing.

    The courage it takes to go on – moms and dads – after the loss of a child is indescribable. Some moms put on weight and some go the other way. I thought I looked good in a size 2 Calvin Kline pair of jeans until my sister saw me and almost fainted at how bad I looked.

    Strength comes when we least expect it, Mighty Melisa. An angel of mercy is standing next to you morning, noon, and night today and every day until that day when we all come together again on the other side. Until that day when we say, “My God, were you an angel all the while? Thank you for helping me.”


  2. Your blog opens my heart and reminds me to savor every single day, kiss my children and love and appreciate my family. My dearest friend I am so blessed to have you in my life and wish I could erase time for you to have your beloved Andrew back in your arms again.
    Love you 😘


  3. Muffy and I will come by your house on the 12th. Thanks for thinking of us. Your blog continues to inspire me to be a better person and mom. I agree with your friend from a facebook comment……… are a bad ass warrior. God bless you.


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