Grief recovery, loss of child, healing after death & loss 

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Michelle Shelton 480-577-8272
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What is this site?
This site is dedicated to my beautiful son….he was 22 years old and going to San Diego for the long weekend over Labor Day. On the way there he crashed his car into a tree trying to go around a slow moving vehicle. He had a beautiful girl named Alyssa with him and she also died. They were great friends and I have no doubt they made a pack in their spiritual world prior to coming to this earth. Perhaps to support each other in their exit for whatever reason. An exit that in my opinion came for both of them way too young.

Michelle Shelton's Blog about Phillip
I hope you will read my blog as I post my ramblings of a grief stricken mom…I am not brave or strong or inspiring as some have stated…I am just a mom muddeling through something I hoped I would never face when I held that beautiful boy in my arms…when I put him in his car seat, when he learned to run, ride his bike in the street, stay over at a friends, play football, drive a car, be on his own….all the times I worried something would take him from me….and then that day came. 

The Depth of Saddness and the Search for Meaning
Now I walk through each day and this process. I never imagined my heart could feel so deeply….I have now explored the deepest part of my heart…I have gone deeper than I ever hoped to go and then deeper still with this….there are no words to describe the depth of this emotion I have. I can only hope that one day this deepest depth of emotional sadness will allow me to feel the highest heights of joy in my life…that my amazing child, who I always knew was a gift, allowed me, supported me, assisted me, to feel the greatest heights of joy that equal the depths of this grieving process. I cling to this thought as I struggle through this process on a daily basis.

The Birth of Phillip Shelton
I remember the day of Phillip's birth. He was due on his dad's birthday, June 29th. He was late and arrived on the morning of the 4th of July. He use to think everyone celebrated his birthday with fireworks.

Phillip was killed in a car accident on I-8 on his way to the beach in San Diego. As I write this it has been five days. I am very happy to have had 22 years with him. I love him and I miss him.

Phillip and MomDear Phillip-

Thank you for choosing me as your mom. It has been a wonderous ride. I will not blame myself for all the things I could have done, should have done differently or better. I am just a mom doing the best I can and you were just my son doing the best you could. I also will not blame you for what you could have done, should have done…didn't do. I love you. I love you just the way you are with no regrets. I am so happy to have had the time I had with you. You were an amazing kid who brought me great joy.

Thank you for Ava Rose. I adore her as did you. I will keep your memory alive and answer her questions and show her videos of you so she has a sense of who you were in this physical life. I will teach her all that I know and pass on lessons you taught me on your life journey.

I love you and miss you so…my heart aches to hold you and I know you already know that. Our time together was much to short….no regrets…only love. xoxox

Love, MOM


29 Responses

  1. Linda

    HI, just thinking of you and your loss. I send you love.

  2. Linda Bennett


    My heart aches for you. I have never lost a child but at 27 years old I lost my husband in an accident. I had a 4 year old and was 8-1/2 months pregnant. In my particular situation I went through so many stages of grief. Your choosing this route is admirable. I became angry with the world, questioned God, and went into a flight mode after my 2nd child was born. The results were not good ones. I commend you for using this avenue to work through the stages you will find yourself going through. God Bless you and my prayers will be with you on a daily basis.

  3. Justin seward

    One of my most recent favorite memories of Phill was taking him to the Toby Kieth bar and grill. He said look at the menu! They have fried grilled cheese! I promptly ordered the fried grilled cheese as our appetizer, and despite everyone’s doubts I think we all enjoyed it! We had a great day of dining and later ended it with shopping at bass pro shops. His sense of humor and try anything attitude kept me laughing and enjoying every minute. Phill is sadly missed by this guy.

  4. Laura delaNux

    Michelle, I cannot imagine the pain you are feeling right now. I am keeping you in my heart and prayers now and always. What I do know is that the memories we have of those who leave us all too early will eventually bring a smile to your face, warmth to your heart and peace to your soul.  What you wrote to your son is amazing and his daughter is blessed to have you in her life!  What a gift he gave you!  I love you my sister and forever send you white light and love! 

  5. Bobby Paris

    Didn't know Phillip, but I have a grandson his age. I can only imagine what you are going through. Jonathan survived two bouts of cancer, we thought we would lose him. I wish now that we had lived closer to you, and could get to know your family better.


  6. Falon Kerby

    Michelle…the love that you have for your child is beyond amazing. Keep sharing with the world because the more you talk, the more you heal, in my opinion. I have only been a mom for a short 5 years and it was a miracle to even have my baby girl so I cannot IMAGINE the hurt you are feeling right now. It makes me feel physical pain. I am so sorry that you are going through this. I love how you said no regrets…you cannot live your life in the "would have" "should have"…it only makes things worse. I love your outlook. Keep strong mama, breathe. This is all that should be expected from you. You are allowed to grieve and you are allowed to get pissed. You are allowed to run around crazy. You are entitled.

  7. Wendy Hough


    I was thinking of Phil last week as it will soon be time to make a graduation video for my son Joseph. I am sorry I never met Phil in person but I feel like I know him. The video gift he made for my son Michael 5 years ago (Mike is now 22) was amazing. In thinking about it this week, it seemed to have been made from a much older soul…Phil was about 17 at the time and the way he selected my special photos and matched them in a timeline to the music I selected was incredible. He touched my heart and in my lowest moments that video is a reminder of how rich my life has been. Thank you for sharing such a sweet and talented son with the world. Wishing you, Paul and all of Phil's loved ones peace in the memories. Love never dies. Your friend, Wendy Hough  

  8. Stephanie Anderson Cosgrove

    I remember the day Phillip was born too Michelle. I remember the days leading up to the day he was born and then life got in the way. It just breaks my heart that you have to go through this. I’m so sorry. I wish I could be there with you. But I’m loving you and hugging you from Omaha. Call me if you need to or if there’s anything I can do from here. Love you lots!! xoxoxoxo

  9. Jessie Ledger

    Dear Michelle..

       My prayers go out to you and your family. We love you so very much and can't even explain how sorry we are. Just remember that you always have memories to keep with you. Hope to see you soon. xoxox

  10. Gloria Wirths

    Michelle, I love this website, and that you have found your path to healing…For me, it was compiling every picture from birth on, and creating a video for the visitation of his life…it was awesome too, and layered with music he liked.  It was my way, and kept me so busy and my mind on doing the task at hand that it really helped me…I had his photos all over the place in my office, everywhere, and I had to remove all of them by six months later because I could not stop crying…after that though I started putting some back, and can now talk about him at times, and look at him and listen to his voice on my answering machine, and someties I don't cry…I have you in my heart, and because I had that same pain, I know it is like no other…I know Phil was the love of your life, and you were his too! 

    Dear Phil,

    I hope that you meet my son right away, his name is Richard Radlauer, and at least he will keep you in stitches laughing all day and night.  He did such a good impression of Forest Gump that the lady in BlockBuster thought it was actually him…it was a hilarious night…and the food fights we had at the movies, oh my…he loves country music so not sure if you like that, and he loves horses, and good looking women…lol  He also does a realistic Jim Carey, as well as others…He is in Heaven there too, where you are, with his Grandmother, Grandfather, and great Grandmother.  they are all good, loving caring, people and will take you in with them at first sight…

    I know there is a reason why God called you home right now…there is obviously work to be done there, and he may just send you back as an angel to someone who needs you in that capacity.  Whatever the reason, we have to believe it was the right time. 

    I know we will go through anger, mood swings, forgetfullness, depression, sobbing, love, hate, all the emotions you could ever imagine, trying to figure out why you left us on such short notice.  But all in all, we know it was God's plan, and we can't argue with that.  Just knowing that you are in God's arms, resting, waiting for your next calling, and that you are on your Mom's shoulder at all times, is so peaceful to know. 

    R.I.P Phillip Shelton, you will be missed greatly for so many years, and though I never knew you in person, I know you through your Mom's eyes, you see, I am a Mom too, and I lost my son too, on very short notice, from a terrible disease called Diabetes mixed with Leukemia.  My tears are falling but they are helping me heal too. 

    Love to you Phillip Shelton and all of your family and friends that love you so dearly…


  11. Cherie Seward-Meysenburg

    Being an older cousin to Phil, I remember him as a little boy.  He was our ring bearer at our wedding and stole the show!  He and our flower girl rolled around on the floor behind us and flirted with the congregation as we exchanged our vows, oblivious to anything happening behind us.  Though I hadn't seen Phil in several years, he still holds a special place in my heart.  Love to you Phil!

  12. Marie Murphy

    Michellle…..I said the same thing after my brother died that he would have liked his own website. it brought a smile to my face. I wish I would have had the opportunity to meet him. I have only met your daughters when they came to see Paul at AOSH.  Believe that he is with God.


  13. Don & Regina Strother

    Michelle & The Shelton Family,


    Our deepest condolences to you all on the lost of Phillip, not ever meeting your fine son, nor even physically meeting you Michelle, (my wife has and was very impressed with you).


    Starting with us communicating over the internet,over a year and a half ago, you being chosen to represent us in re-locating from Ohio and finding us a home in Az. It seems that we've known you for years! 


    Sharing things in our personal lives only real friends share, thank you! Even the birth of Ava Rose, GOD BLESS and KEEP HER, we know Phillip will be watching over her!


    You were correct when you once said, "My clients become my friends,"  so TRUE!

    Michelle, Phillip may be gone physically, but he will ALWAYS be with You and Ava Rose!


    God Bless you and yours,


    Your Friends, Don & Regina Strother

  14. Sandra Starnes


    I remember your kindness and helpfulness as I began my Real Estate career at KW!  You were so caring and being in your home with your sweet family, Phil wasn't there on my visits, I see how much you love and care for your family.  He knew you loved him and held him close and dear to your heart, I know he returned that love to you.  There's something special about a mother's love to her son.  We love all our children, but son's hold a special spot in our hearts, especially if they are our firstborn.

    My heart and prayers are with you and your entire family.  So glad you have so many friends for support…you need it now and later too!

    Phil is watching over all of you from the arms of God now, dancing with the Angels.

  15. Diane Martinez

    Phil was one of the first friends my son, Marty, made when we moved to AZ five years ago.  I always admired him and thought he was a great man.  He loved his daughter and was always anxious to show me her latest pictures.  His spirit will live on through Ava.

    My heart is aching for you as a mom.  I won't even pretend to understand what you are going though.  But I am praying for you and your family.

    We liked Phil so very much.  We will honor him tomorrow at the Gardens.


    Diane and Marty Martinez


  16. Michelle Dyas

    I remember the first time I met Phil. He was about 3 years old. You had all come to visit the church my family was attending at that time. I just remember wondering how could one family have such cute kids. I remember going to Memorial Park for a concert and fireworks, swimming at our house, and just spending time as families. I remember Phil was about 5 years old and he was practicing to sing the Oscar Mayer Weiner song for some audition that was coming to town. Very cute! I loved being able to visit over New Years Eve 1999. Just being able to take the kids for walks, go swimming at the hotel pool. Was so sad to hear of your loss. Love you all.


  17. Marta Salk


    I am deeply sorry for your loss. 

    I am unable to imagine the pain. 

    You and your family will be in my prayers.

    God Bless,



  18. Joe Gorak


    While I never knew your son Phillip, it is clear from your wonderful tribute that he was a loving father and a great son.  And while this may sound trite, I do beflieve that everything happens for a reason although I'm not sure what the reason for his being called home so early is.  It may take a while before this ever makes any sense and I suspect you may experience a wide range of emotions.  My suggestion is allow yourself to feel whatever you need to as this is part of the healing process.  From what I've seen, you are doing this and continue to let it out… your true friends will understand!  My condolences to you, Paul and Phillip's family as you all come to terms with your great loss.  Everyone heals differently and from what I've read of your postings, you have a great strength.  It may not seem like it to you right now however I don't believe that any mother expects to have to deal with such a devastating loss. Love and support for you and Paul and the rest of Phillip's family.   If there is anything I can do, don't hesitate to write or call.  Sorry if I rambled a bit… I just let the ideas flow and typed them as they came!

    • Hi Joe,

      Thank you very much to taking time to reach out and post here. Phillip was a great kid and we will miss him very much. I too believe as you do that everything happens for a reason…I am not sure what that is right now and I am excited for it to roll out in the future. I am sure I will see it someday.

      Love, Michelle & Paul

  19. kim tvrdy

    Ava I never knew your daddy–but there was a song played called "Three Little Birds" by Bob Marley that was played as a short video to your dad and it has become a song that I love and listen to it when things are rough.  Take Care –Your daddy will always be looking down on you.


  20. Aunt Brenda

    Ava Rose,  what a beautiful name…your daddy loved you of that you can be sure.  His heart was one of love.  I watched him grow from a baby into a young man.  He was always a good boy and cared about the people around him.  I know he loved you deeply.  It is unfortunate he will not be around for you to love and share hugs and kisses, but I know he was proud of you and would want you to be the best little girl ever.  Be good because that is what he would have wanted.  To be good means you also love those around you and never take life for granted.  If your daddy had his way, he would be here for you now and watch over you  in this world.  Just always keep in mind how much he loved you and how proud he was of you.  Do well and always strive to do the right  thing no matter how hard that is in life.  It is what your daddy would want for you.  A young woman of integrity…you will benefit in life and fulfill your daddy's wish for you.  Grow in love and be loved.  There is nothing greater.

  21. Therese and Melvin

    dear family , we have not met yet from Rick your brother and Bobby your cousin we have learned of your tragic loss, there are few words that can be that consoling however the one thing i learned from loss is that God is never wrong, he is kind and merciful, it took years to be able not to stay stuck in emotions but as a health care worker and social work type i found out when all else fails i run to God and that the supportive values of Bobby and Rick and others who have faced life with faith and hope can be the greatest reminder that we keep our love and memories always, we even recall those who go before us as long as we can.  It is a great thing you are working this through so others learn from you , it is with a praayer for your family and the younger ones to know that you are doing so much that will give them happy memories and joy as part of lives that know love and enduring faith and hope… Bless you as you teach others and give hope to others , that is a fine tribute for all of you to give.



  22. Ric Gabbert

    Michelle, this is Ric Gabbert. I am so saddened that you lost your son. I can not guess its impact on you. On that note, September was when Charlie was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer. She is batteling as best she can, and in the end we will try to keep her comfortable. We will keep you n our prayers and good luck to a great person.


    • Ric,

      I was so sorry to hear about Charlie….this must be so difficult. I know how close you two are. I will keep you in my prayers and please let me know if there is anything I can do from my side of the world. Love you guys. Love, Michelle

  23. Keep blogging or journaling; I think you will find it helps. Also, know you will go in and out of the various stages of grief. One day, you will feel like you finally whipped it, only to have some small thing set you off. I remember the first time I bought mac & cheese for the kids after Craig died. (Mac and cheese was his favorite of all meals.) I stood in the grocery store sobbing – absolute gutterally sobbing. To this day, I cannot think of mac & cheese without thinking of Craig. I don’t cry as much or as often as I used to. It’s been over 5 years. There is not a day that goes by that I don’t think of him. Loss this deep makes you want to reach back in time or into heaven and pull them back with you. It’s not going to happen, but wouldn’t it be great if it could! I’m here for you!

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