Not feeling very Merry

It’s been a long time since I have written a blog. I’ve thought about it a few times but I was afraid to open up the door to my deep sorrow. It’s always there, however I try to keep it hidden because when I allow myself to really face it, the pain is unbearable. As we approach Christmas, I can feel myself unraveling. My heart is starting to pump a little faster, I can’t sleep and I feel like I’m carrying weights around on my shoulders! I dread leaving my house because the rest of the world is shopping, decorating and baking cookies in preparation for a joyous holiday and I am trying to run as far away from Christmas as I can.

I used to love Christmas! I would make my kids stand in front of our perfectly decorated tree to pose for our Christmas card. I baked cookies and shopped like crazy to find just the right gifts for everyone! I hosted dinner every year on Christmas day and I loved it! My kids would wake up Christmas morning so excited and I would rush down to start the Carols before they came down to their piles of gifts! It was always such a magical time of year that I thoroughly enjoyed. We all just loved Christmas, most of all, Andrew! He would have his long detailed list ready Black Friday.  He was usually the first one to wake up and be so anxious to get downstairs! It was so much fun to watch him open his gifts because he would be overly excited and wanted everyone to see all his treasures. Andrew loved  sticking to our family traditions and didn’t want  me to ever change things up at all.

So here we are again, our second Christmas without our son and it’s more dreadful than words can explain! I thought maybe this year I would want to decorate or put up a tree but I just can’t do it! I don’t want to do it and even the thought makes me want to throw up! I can’t decorate a tree without Andrew here to hang all of his ornaments up! I can’t place stockings on our mantle knowing Andrew isn’t here to open up the one with his name stitched on it! How do you shop for 2 kids when you always had 3?? It’s cruel! It’s mean and it’s fucked up! I’m sorry but it is and it makes me so angry!  I just want my son back! I just want my old life back! I hate this! It takes so much energy  to wake up every day and have to face the world with a fake smile on my face when what I really want to do is just lay in bed and scream!

I already skipped my first Holiday party tonight. I was so anxious all day and just stayed in my pajamas and did nothing. I tried to get myself together but I wasn’t in the right frame of mind so I decided to stay home.  Luckily, I have wonderful friends who completely understand and support me. it’s not that I don’t want to be around everyone, I’m just not in the mood to celebrate because of my intense grief. It is so exhausting to get in party mode when you’re suffering the loss of your beloved child, so sometimes I just have to say I can’t do it today and that’s okay!

I went to the cemetery and brought some Christmas stuff to place at Andrew’s grave. After I was done I just sat in my car and cried wondering how can this be true? It’s Christmas time and ready to become a new year and my son is still gone! It’s just so unbelievable to me that my precious child is never going to walk into my house again! Never give me a hug or tell me he loves me! Never going to get married or be a father! Why? Why did this have to happen?

This second year has been brutal. I have heard other bereaved Mother’s say that the second year can be worse because the first year, you’re so numb that you don’t feel the pain as deep but the second year the fog clears and the fact that your child is gone forever sinks in! It’s been true for me…..I have been feeling very depressed and I just miss Andrew very much! It’s so unnatural to not be able to talk to your child for over a year so I actually crave to touch my son! I long to hear his voice or smell his scent! I just want my son to come home where he belongs. When the reality of living the rest of my life without my son hits, it literally takes my breath away!

Today when I was just daydreaming and thinking about Andrew I thought of an anology to explain how I feel. People see me living my daily life and I look normal and think  I’m doing well, but deep inside I’m really not good at all. It’s like I was on a cruise ship having a wonderful time surrounded by my friends and family having the time of my life and then I was thrown overboard, alone in the middle of the ocean! What a scary place to be, all alone in the dark unknown waters. I have a life vest so I’m staying above water, but barely. I survive day after day….somehow, but then wake up the next day and have to face that I’m still out in the middle of the ocean with nobody to help me. Some days I wish I didn’t have to wake up and feel this sorrow anymore.

We are leaving for Aruba on Christmas morning so I’m looking forward to going somewhere warm, sunny and beautiful with my family. That will make the days be a little softer that holiday week. We went away last year too and it was definitely the right thing for us to do. The pain is always there, but it helps to have a change of scenery and pleasant distractions.

I’m just trying to get through each day and not focus on tomorrow, let alone next week. It is too overwhelming to look ahead to the future. I’m just going to keep doing what I’m doing…which is my best! I feel like that’s all I can do for now. I finished real estate school which was a huge accomplishment for me right now because my brain is broken.  I also started selling jewelry and I’m  having much success with that and I  really enjoy it. I have a fantastic network of friends  that build me up time and time again! I have a lot to be grateful for, even though I also have reasons to feel very cheated! I allow myself to feel both!

I am amazed I’m still standing after 16 months aince Andrew’s tragic death. I used to look at mother’s in my situation and think “how do they do it?” The andwer is that we don’t have a choice! We just have to keep going because we are alive and we have other children and spouses to live for. We also need to honor our child who is no longer here. It’s my job to keep Andrew’s memory alive! I talk about him each day and will continue to do so! I love you. my sweet boy, and I miss you more and more every single day! Life without you isn’t the same and never will be!  cc2e8996-bf24-4d65-8457-31270ce7d082-e1544342341228.jpeg


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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 “Not feeling very Merry”

  1. I don’t really know you, but I read this and my eyes fill up & I just cry for your pain! I’m so sorry that you have loss your son! No words can heal your pain. I hope that you continue to find comfort with your family and good friends during difficult times!
    Enjoy your Christmas away! 🙏❤️


  2. Melissa, there may be a glitch in your responders. I posted earlier and it was difficult and I see it’s not here. I’ve had trouble off and on with Word Press but this is such an important post that you’ve written that I am responding here as a test! Oh, life likes to test the writers – YOU and ME!


      1. Well, I just wanted to say that the second year is different than the first. There’s the realization that an entire year has gone and the question, “Where did it go?” Remember the first year after giving birth? No sleep, on edge, waiting for nap times but an underlying joy? The second year brings the same no sleep and on edge but the joy has gone. Then the secondary feeling? Will I never feel joy again?

        Joy is a big word. I didn’t feel that emotion, not even a flicker, until Connor was born, my first grandchild. Before Katie’s death I felt joyful most of the time even when she was sick because I always had great hope she would be well again but it wasn’t meant to be. Her death broke my heart but not my soul because our souls are eternal and hers still goes on and so must mine and so must yours, Melissa, just like Andrew’s soul goes on and reaches across the heavens. And, if we have any strength, it pours down from above, from our angel children and the creator who gave these great spirts to us and to all the grieving parents out there.

        Your precious Andrew’s death was sudden, almost home in his own driveway. It’s a different kind of shock. There is nothing to reference that kind of shock like you were thrown naked over a cliff.

        The picture of Andrew above shows he had a mischievous grin like he knew he was going to get some wonderful and thoughtful gifts from Santa and Mrs. Claus and I suspect he had some special ones for his siblings!

        You do live your life with meaning, Melissa, but somedays even meaning doesn’t cut it. I know that personally but then another day – like today – I’ll be like, “Oh, I’m so grateful I’m able to smile and be connected to such tender souls as yourself.”


  3. Sitting here at 2 am, reading your blog. I started reading it about 14 hours ago, then stopped because I just couldn’t do it. Your words are so raw, true and real to me. So now, I am sitting here listening to my dog snore, by the light of the tv, and the tears are flowing. This 2nd Christmas is much worse than the first. The reality is sinking in.

    I am happy for you that you will be going away with your family. I will be home this year….we will see how that goes. Luckily I have my best distraction, my new grand baby Michael David.

    Much love to,you Melissa. ❤️Sue

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Dearest Melissa,
    You pain is so sharp!! I wish I could take it away, but there is nothing I can do but let you know that I think of you and pray for you.
    I love you tons!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I am sorry you are hurting; you’ve spoken for others who can’t and I appreciate that. As I enter my 3rd holiday season, I am doing worse rather than better. Can barely type this through the tears. Thanks for sharing and being true in your words rather than covering up your pain. #eternally25

    Liked by 1 person

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