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10 Years

As I write this, I can hardly believe that 10 years have passed since Lily’s choking accident on February 24, 2011. It is just so hard to comprehend. In some ways, time has flown by, and in other ways, it seems like an eternity has passed. There is so much I could say about these past 10 years, but I honestly don’t even know where to start. There have been the lowest lows of fear and legitimate terror, and there have been the highest highs of little rays of hope that we’ve received. We have been to the pit of despair and back again many, many times. We have learned to make the best of the situation and find peace and joy as much as possible. But, as much as we try to be positive and accepting of it, there are still times when I find myself incredibly angry for many reasons. As I have come to learn, this anger is normal, and these things happen along the way of the road we are traveling. I am struggling a bit more than usual this year, probably because it’s “10 years” and that makes it sound really awful. The weather is also not helping and I need a really huge dose of sunshine ASAP.

This is a quote from another mom of a brain-injured child, and I think it sums up how I’m feeling right now quite clearly:

“In some instances time does not heal. Instead life continues on, acting merely as a distraction. The grief remains, as raw and sorrowful as it once was. Sometimes it bubbles up and hits when you least expect it but it’s also there when you do, like today.”
One thing we want everyone to know is that Lily is still a person with thoughts and feelings, even though she can’t verbally respond to people. When you see her, please say hello, talk to her, acknowledge her. It’s amazing how many people just don’t talk to her or even notice she’s there. I know it’s awkward sometimes, and people are afraid of saying the wrong things. But if you just talk to her like a regular person, it is fine!


Every year, I remember all the kindness, love, and support that was poured out on us in the aftermath of Lily’s accident. We will never forget how we were carried through those dark times by the care and concern of so many people.Thank you to our friends and family who were there with us during those darkest hours and days when we didn’t know what was going to happen. You spent many sleepless nights with us in the hospital and sacrificed time at your own jobs and with your own families to support us.
Thank you to those who came and prayed over Lily, brought food, gifts, monetary donations, and hosted fundraisers for us when we literally had no money, or when we wanted to try a new treatment or therapy for Lily. Many of you were strangers and yet you took the time and thought to support our family.
Thank you to those who cleaned our house, made us meals, visited us, helped with home improvement projects money over these past 10 years.
Thank you to those who still remember Lily and my family in your prayers.
Thank you to all of the nurses we have had over these past 10 years. You’ve seen the good, the bad, and the ugly of the realities of our daily lives. You know we are not perfect parents or people. We could not live the rest of our lives–going to work, sleeping, running errands, or just doing some fun things (sometimes)–without your presence. And I want to give special recognition to Holly, our main dayshift nurse, who really loves Lily, cares for her well, advocates for her, and knows her inside and out. Holly is an absolute angel on Earth and we are truly grateful for everything she does.
I would personally like to thank my husband for being an amazing Dad to Lily and Bryce through all of this. I wish you could all see how much time and energy he puts into taking care of Lily. He is her Daddy and I know his heart is broken, too. I would also like to say that Bryce is an amazing, resilient young man who is killing it at school and has come so far since all of this happened.
I also thank God for all he has done and provided for us. I could not get up and live this life without His peace and strength which truly is beyond my understanding. I will continue to stand on that and trust Him, for I know he is constant and faithful to us. He is doing a great work in my whole family and I am so thankful for that.
Thank you again for supporting our family. We love you and are grateful beyond words. Please do not forget our Lily. She is our precious angel and her life matters. We strive every day to let her know how loved, needed, and precious she is. Every second we have with her is a gift. We know she is in there and can understand everything we say and do. She was a vibrant, kind, joyful, creative, sweet, loving, amazing girl before this happened. I don’t want anyone to forget that. Please pray for her on this hard anniversary and always. Thanks again for all of the love and support we have received and continue to receive from all of you.

16 replies on “10 Years”

Melissa you don’t know me. I have never met your daughter either. I do know your husband as I used to babysit him and we were neighbors for a time when we were young. I want you to know how well written your post was. God just shined through your every word. I am so proud of you and Todd. What a beautiful family you have. I have prayed and thank you for reminding me to keep praying. And when I see your daughter someday I will say Hi and talk to her like you mentioned. Sometimes people need nudged to know what to do and you have that perfectly. Thank you for all that you do for Lily and for sharing your story.

Thinking of Lily and all of you today and always. You remain in our prayers and always on our hearts. Love you so much my dear friend!!

Melissa – I’m in awe of your strength and your faith. I cannot believe it’s been ten years. I will always remember meeting you and Lily at the Barnes and Noble when Thom was deployed and I was home for a visit. Chance was just a toddler and Lily was so good with him. She is a precious child. Lots of love from the Shea family.

Sending some extra prayers your way today. What you didn’t put in there is what an amazing momma you are to Lily & Bryce! I know we haven’t seen each other in a very long time and only through Facebook, but even so, I can tell you are such an amazing ray of light and belief in some really tough times. They are lucky to have you! I hope someday I get to meet Lily in person and share some college stories about her mom. LOL Hugs and prayers my friend.

Haha there are some things we should not share LOL! Thanks for your love and support. One day I’ll get to Florida and we can see each other again!!

What a beautiful post Melissa. You, Todd, Bryce and Lily are in my prayers always. What wonderful parents you are and you continue to amaze me with your faith, love, and perseverance. May God continue to bless you as you bless others. Your road is not an easy one but know that God is in the driver’s seat and uses you, Todd,Bryce and Lily to bless others as his light shines brightly through you. I love you all and am sorry we aren’t able to be together in person living so far away. You are always in my heart.. hugs and kisses, aunt Vicki

Thinking of you. Sending you and your family lots of love. I am always in awe of your strength and faith. 💜💜💜💜

I admire the way you share your story. I didnt know you before the accident but have continued to follow your journey and it has definately challenged me to be more open about my faith. Blessings to all of you.

Thanks, Marlene! We are still so grateful to all of you for what you did for Lily. You are truly heroes. Many blessings to all of you.

Your family is in my thoughts and prayers for continued strength and peace. Many fond memories of Lily at the Annex 24 Gallery when your family received the outpouring of support from our beautiful community! 🌻🌸💗🙏

That was such a beautiful night! The turnout was absolutely amazing and you and Vanessa and Kenny were the most incredible people. We will never forget your kindness and support and we will always be grateful. 💜

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