Sunday, October 16, 2011


September was a month of remembrance as we celebrated the 1 year birthday of Shane Shimatsu McCusker.  There is not a day that goes by that I don't picture his sweet face and remember the moments I spent with him.  Everyday I picture those moments where he held my fingers and looked into my eyes as the doctors rolled him into the operating room.  It was the last time I would ever see that beautiful face so awake and full of life.  Every morning I wake up and wish I could pick him up from his crib and kiss that sweet little face.  There is not one day that goes by where I don't wonder and imagine what Shane would look like.  I think about him everyday, whether I see a beautiful dragonfly visit his garden, or I take the time to let the warm sun shine upon me.  I miss him more than anything in this entire world and everyday I wish he was here with me.

For Shane's birthday, his foundation, Shane's Heart, dedicated the entire month of September to raising money for families and patients of the UCLA pediatric cardiology unit.  The fundraiser was a huge success and we raised nearly $5,000 in donations and gift cards to support families in need.  Seeing the success of this event brought so much happiness during a time of such difficulty for me.  I cannot express my gratitude for the support that we continue to receive.  To those who participated and who thought of him on his special day, I wish I could give you each a hug and say thank you for remembering our son!
Mike and I decided that for Shane's birthday we would go to Disneyland.  We decided on this because we wanted to make sure Shane's birthday was a day of celebration.  My parents and Mike's mom joined us as we enjoyed a day at the Happiest Place on Earth.  Mike and I plan to visit Disneyland every year on September 9.  We look forward to the visits with Shane's younger siblings to celebrate their big brother who watches over them.

The O.C. Walk to Remember took place on October 15, 2011, which was also National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness day.  My good friend Angie (who I always talk about in my blogs) got involved in this amazing event last year after the passing of her baby boy Aiden.  This year, Mike and I too wanted to be a part of this event.  It was so heartbreaking to see all of the families who have had to go through something similar to what we went through with Shane, but it was a beautiful day of memorial and comfort.  I met some great people while on our walk; we were able to share stories about our children and it was comforting to feel like we aren't alone.  Before the 5k walk, they held a memorial service where each child's name was read off and each of the parents received a white rose.  The emotion of being a part of that event was so touching and though there were many tears, it was wonderful to be a part of such a huge memorium.  I was once told that when you lose a child, you are part of a "fraternity" that no one ever wanted to be a part of, and though no one should ever feel the pain of such a loss, there are so many other people in the world who are part of that fraternity and understand what you feel.I was able to walk with Kevin (Angie's husband) for a while on our walk.  They are expecting their second son in 2 weeks and the nerves from losing Aiden is weighing heavily on them.  We talked about what "we" know as our first pregnancies ended so tragically.  They lost Aiden at 37 weeks and now that Angie is approaching that same period of time with little Kevie, it is causing some anxiety.  It's been great to watch Angie go through this second pregnancy after having to deal with such a devastating loss and I wish I could take away their anxiety as they await the birth of Aiden's little brother.  I know parenthood is always full of worry, but for families like us, we are just hoping to even make it through the front door with
 our healthy newborns.  It made me reflect on my own experience with Shane and made me wonder what my life will be like when that time comes to have our next child.  It's scary to think about all the possibilities, but I am hopeful and positive that things will be ok.

Every day I miss my little buddy.  When I close my eyes and think, I see a chubby little 1 year old with curious eyes taking in all the new things life has to offer him.  Whenever I think of Shane I see him happy and I hope that is because he truly is.

After yesterday's event, I am truly so grateful for the friendships and relationships I have made with the many people who are a part of this undesirable fraternity, because without the support and the examples set by those who had gone through this before us, I don't know if I would be able to see hope in my life. No one chooses this life, but it is the way one chooses to deal with it, that make us able to move forward.  I am so grateful for the examples set by so many other moms and dads out there and I am continually grateful for the ability to talk and remember our children every day of our lives.  I do not wish this upon anyone, but if I can help someone else who has to go through the loss of a child, I will embrace the opportunity to let them know, they aren't alone!


SHANE- your 1st birthday should have been a party in the park with bright balloons and Snoopy decor. Your birthday party was about showering you with more gifts than you would know what to do with and everyone would be swarming around you as your smashed cake all over your face.  I wish that I could walk 3 miles with you everyday, and instead of waking up and walking past your room, I could go in and find you giggling in your crib.  Every morning I picture my life with you in.  I know in my heart you haven't left me, but I wish I could turn back the clock of time to just be able to spend 10 more minutes with you.  I've seen more dragonflies than I have ever seen before, and every time I see one, I am reminded of you and feel your presence closely.  I still can't believe that you are gone.  I am sorry you never got to experience the wonderful things in life.  I wish more people could have met you before you left.  You are an amazing little person who I am so fortunate to have been able to know for 38 weeks and 3 days.  I hope you realize the impact your life left on this world and because of you, so many lives will be touched. Happy birthday Shane!  I love you always my dear so


Nika M. said...

Sending you hugs and prayers....and prayers for your friend, too.

Aaron Cirilo said...

Dana it was so nice to see you and Mike on Saturday!! I'm so glad you were able to come this year and that we were able to remember your beautifull little boy!!!

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