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Shirley's Story

By Shirley and Russ Hannan, 2011


Lighting a candle

We joined this 25% of the population back in 1981, and again in '82 and '85 and then again in 2004. We tell you this not for a reaction or for anyone to feel sorry for us but to let you know that these are etched in our lives. For so long no one ever talked about miscarriages. I don't really think people thought of it as a loss for a family, because there was no birth and death.

We have been taught that life begins at conception and we really need to step up and show that we believe this by recognizing them at their time of loss with compassion and understanding.

Russ and I really did not talk to many people about our losses until the last one in 2004. I guess maybe this was because we were older and our situation was different. Being that we were both about to enter our fifties when this happened, having three grown children and two grandchildren this miscarriage came as a complete shock to us. We ended up in emergency with the remains of a tine baby that fit in the palm of our hand. We were very fortunate that we had a wonderful nurse that explained some option for us, it took a while for everything to sink in as everything happened so fast. Not knowing that we were even pregnant and now dealing with what needed to happen next. Not everyone is as lucky as us to have someone explain options and how hard that must be for them.

Our options were explained that we could donate the remains to science, arrange a service of our own, or have it interned to the shared garden plot. We could either be there when it was interned or not be there. Our choice at the time was the shared plot and not be there. As we were still in disbelief as to what had just happened.


Steering Wheel

After about a week we were driving down 33rd street and saw Woodlawn Cemetery and it was then it hit me. I felt like we had given them our baby to throw away, and then we looked into the shared plot and found out about the June service they have. That June I attended the service by myself as Russ was out of town. Father Kevin McGee led the service that day. When I went, there was a lot of people, more than I could have thought, it was nice to know that we were not the only ones to have gone through this. Each person's story is different but they all have a loss of life, whether it was 2 weeks or full term, it was a life began and a life ended. The pain is all the same.


With tears of sadness and hope in the resuurection we said goodbye March 26, 2015 to our brother in Christ, Russ Hannan.

Russ and his wife Shirley were Marriage Awareness Committee members from the very inception of this ministry.  They committed together to offer their own stories of miscarriages to help other couples and family members know they are not alone.  Most recently Russ was instrumental in the Tree of Hope project.  Russ’ willingness to offer support to other dad’s who too experience miscarriage and to help others understand a father’s perspective will be greatly missed.


We ask for your prayers for the repose of Russel’s soul and for strength and courage in this time of mourning and grief for Shirley and her children; Jenifer, Mike and Anna and their families.


Shirley, we hold you in prayer.


The following passage from Romans was proclaimed at Russ’s funeral Mass:


Therefore, since we are justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have obtained access to this grace in which we stand; and we boast in our hope of sharing the glory of God. And not only that, but we also boast in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us.



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