Where do I begin? You were a brother to myself, Jackie and Stephen, a son to Mom and Dad and you enjoyed a life full of love and character. For the past fourteen years, you brought such joy, smiles and true companionship to all of us. Mom sent me this picture taken of you last Tuesday – typical you! You loved to roam and lay in the grass and never wanted to come in. And now, I hope that you have found a lush patch of grass in Heaven that you can lay on permanently. Thank you for always being such a loyal friend and companion to us all.
I have so many good memories with you that it is hard to pick which ones I want to tell you about. I will always remember the day that we brought you home, how small you were. I will never forget the countless hours that I spent with you when you first came home, lining up your food toward the bowl. You would eat each piece one-by-one and then eventually, you would lick the bowl clean. I will also always savor the times that you heard my car turn into the driveway and race to the door to anxiously sit there, waiting for me to come in and you would give me the best greeting ever. Or how about car rides – you loved the feel of your ears and hair blowing in the wind. And I know you’re a dog, but you loved beer and I hope they have some for you up there! There were trips with us to the Christmas tree farm! But for as long as I live, I will always remember the times spent on the couch when you jumped up and curled yourself into my lap. I honestly don’t know who loved it more, you or I?
On July 1, 2008, I got the phone call with my MRI results. Amidst the flurry of emotion that day, I neglected to give you your birthday present and I told Mom and Dad during my hospital stay that I was afraid I would never be going home and would potentially never see you again. When I finally got home on July 15th, I cried from joy and euphoria and you were there to greet me. I finally got to give you your birthday present!
Saturday morning, when Mom and Dad called me with the news, I went and sat on the deck to reflect on your life and the joy that you brought us over the past fourteen years. As all of the happy and fun memories ran through my mind, I was overcome by emotion and I looked up at the sky and the sun and said a prayer for you. By the time I looked back down at the table and opened my eyes, and with Ashley as my witness, there she was, just staring at me. I was in shock and awe. I know this was a sign from you, telling me that you were finally at peace after suffering for the past two months. I began to cry some more because of the coincidence of seeing another ladybug in the time of need. You sent us all the sign that we needed. Another ladybug, another sign from above. Just like Dad witnessed during my neuropsychological testing when he prayed for a sign that I would be okay, or when I went for my last MRI in April that there would no evidence of growth and the ladybug appeared in Dad’s office, this was my sign letting me know you were at peace. A great reaffirmation that we made the right decision in designing the logo for the Cusano Family Brain Tumor Fund.
We will all miss you and always cherish the times spent with you. You made our family better, and I thank you for that. Rest in peace, Chip.