Breaking News
More () »

Unable to hold a funeral for his mom, North Texas man receives teary surprise

Lynn Shelton's mom had been battling Alzheimer's for eight years before she died.

For eighth grade history teacher Lynn Shelton, the start of the coronavirus outbreak was the end of an eight-year tradition.

Back in 2012, Lynn's mom, Betty York, was diagnosed with Alzheimer's. He has visited her virtually every day since. She hasn't recognized Lynn in more than two years, but every day, he still shares pictures of their time together on social media.

"Everybody knew my mom through my posts," Shelton said. "And I kept her alive by not just being somebody in a home that nobody knew."

However, because of the virus, the facility where Betty lived was locked down, which meant Lynn couldn't get in. Unfortunately, at the same time, even though she wasn't infected with COVID-19, Betty's Alzheimer's had finally taken its toll. She died last week.

"For the last two, two and a half weeks before she died I couldn't go," Shelton said. "I had no way of knowing, no way of checking on her, and it was very difficult."

Worst of all, for safety reasons, Lynn thought there would be no funeral and no way to honor his mom. He didn't know it, though, but an incredible tribute was already on the way.

On what would have been Betty's 90th birthday, friends and family--nearly 300 people--drove by Lynn's house to celebrate his mom. Cars full of families stretched down the street and around the block, all showing signs of support.

"He needs to know what a great son he was and what an impact he made on my grandmother's life," said Lynn's daughter, Faith Shelton Barnes. "Especially in the final years. Although she may not have remembered him all the time, he was her joy."

A lot of people who drove by Lynn's house never even met his mom, but through the pictures he shared they saw the love in his heart every single day.

"And all those people, they knew her, and they loved her from that," Lynn said, fighting back tears. "She was a great woman and I'm glad that she got that kind of sendoff."

"So many people are here because Lynn has shown love to them," said Brian Ketcham, the one who organized the event. "It doesn't matter if Lynn knows you or not, Lynn's gonna give you a hug. So it's the least we could do, is kinda give him a long distance hug."

For eight years, Lynn shared pictures as a way to give people a glimpse of what made his mom great. But, really, he never needed to post anything at all, because they already saw it in him.

More on WFAA: