Updated: Jul 25, 2022
It could never happen to my family, is what I thought. Death doesn’t play favorites, as I have learned in the recent months. It comes when you least expect it. February 16, 2018, my daughter, Shelby, went home to be with Jesus. Shelby was a graduate from Cy-Woods class of 2013 and 3 months away from graduating from Sam Houston State University with a degree in Criminal Justice. She was full of life and a joy to be around. A Tri Sigma that never met a stranger, she was what most would consider the All-American girl. Never in a million years would we have thought that we would bury her only a few weeks before her 23rd birthday.
Shelby hadn’t struggled with an illness and she wasn’t in a car wreck; for four days she had a headache that kept her in the dark. What we didn’t know at the time was that the headache was about to take her from us. We found out on a Wednesday that she had a Colloid Cyst in her brain. She went to a hospital emergency room and was transferred to another hospital where she went into a coma. She was transferred to the medical center in downtown Houston where she remained in a coma for eight days before she passed away.
I had no idea what to do. These kinds of things don’t happen to our family (or so I thought). Shelby has a twin brother, an 8-year-old brother, and a 6-year-old brother. We were dealing with so much grief that I did not know what to do. Someone told me of a place for grief support that had a waiting list but there aren’t many resources out there for this kind of trauma, especially dealing with childhood grief. I had no idea, still don’t, how to help my little ones, much less myself.
Out of this has come an understanding that you just don’t know what you don’t know. What do you do when something so devastating does indeed crash in on your family? Most people believe they are immune to this type of pain until it is their reality but, when it does happen, there aren’t many people that are equipped to help you survive it.
The Shelby Center was created to mentor young adults and help them with their faith. That foundation is based our belief that Shelby’s mission in life was to minister to those around her to help them cultivate a real relationship with The Lord. We are expanding that vision to include a grief center in the Cypress/Tomball/Hockley area. Because my little ones believe that Shelby sends them dimes from Heaven, we are asking local establishments to collect dimes in support of The Shelby Center. Vero’s Italian Kitchen and now Blue Fish Grill are partners in collecting dimes. Those donations will support individuals in our community when they are in desperate need of help in the darkest of time of their lives.
No one teaches us how to grieve and most people don’t even know that it is okay to grieve. Many will say to push it aside and move on but the reality of this is when your family is devastated like mine has been, there is no way to get find the light again until you get through the darkness. I am walking through the darkness right now as so many before me have; there is not enough help to find our way. Please consider supporting these amazing restaurants and while you are there put a dime or two in the box, so we can walk hand in hand with other hurting families as they walk through the darkness.
By Stacey Whitten-Lucia