Luijoe at 4 years

Written and delivered by Noemi Dado
St. Alphonsus Ligouri Chapel
May 31, 2000

I wasn't supposed to deliver this message to you but I somehow found the strength to be here. This morning I spent some time just gazing at my son, knowing it will be the last time I will see his beautiful face. And I was crying hard. I tried my best to console myself by leafing through his prayerbooks lying on top of his coffin. I got hold of his Rosary Prayer book and the picture of St. John the Apostle with Mother Mary and a dying Jesus caught my attention. I remember 2 weeks before Luijoe died and he was looking at this same picture. He asked me who John was. And I explained that John comforted Mary because she was sad that her son was dying and that Jesus told John to take care of his mother. While I remember all this, I started to cry again but this time I cried because I was so touched. Luijoe prepared me for my comfort , the pain of losing him. He knew I'd be inconsolable but today, he reminded me that the John in my life is not only my husband but all of you who gave me comfort.

Luijoe, or Jose Luis, is my third child born July 13, 1993. Butch and I planned his name years before we were married. If we had a baby boy, his name was definitely going to be Jose because both of our fathers were Jose We never expected another child after my two beautiful girls, Lauren and Marielle, were born. That's why there was a gap of 6 years. We thanked God so much for this gift.

So, what was my little boy like? Rather, what was my young man like? Luijoe demanded that I call him young man --- not baby, not little boy. He was full of energy. His charm melted the tempers of many a cranky person. His voice reverberated throughout a room, commanding attention. Luijoe was always honest. In fact, so honest, that when any of his aunts asked for his opinion regarding "Am I beautiful, Luijoe?" he would cover his ears and refuse to make a comment. Believe it or not, he loved the ERAP jokes. Yet, for someone so young, he was deeply spiritual. Every night, he would lead the prayer sessions and remind me to pray from the "Mother's Book of Prayers". He was the type of person who would put a rosary atop a car's rear-view mirror. Luijoe also wanted me to augment his collection of prayer books. He enjoyed tagging along with his older sisters. bribing his dad to go with him on shopping trips especially when I was out of town, and making sure that his yaya was properly attired when he was picked up from his school. He was quite fastidious about his appearance, preferring to pack his own clothes. I could go and onů

The other day, I wrote a letter to Luijoe because Martin, an online friend of my daughter Lauren made an "In memorium" webpage for Luijoe. When I wrote that letter, I wasn't at peace yet and it was only today that I found it. Let me share this letter to all of you.

My young man,

My grief is so much it hurts. My heart is in pain, needing comfort. I miss you so much, baby. I know you hate that word but you have always been my baby, my young man. My joy. You gave me so much joy I can't thank you enough so I am crying because I miss you. But you are now my little angel. How was I to know you wanted to be an angel? You kept asking me about heaven and hell and about death weeks before this happened. But how was I to know that this was a sign? You have always been a curious boy.

I am glad I did all I could to answer your non-stop questions about life and death. You said in quiet amazement, "if I die, I will be alive again!". But I corrected you and said "yes, baby, you will live forever but not on Earth . I won't see you anymore but you will have eternal life with God. You will live forever in heaven and become an angel." And you asked me, "who goes to heaven?" and I said, "good boys like you go to heaven". Tell me now, baby what is heaven like because I could not really say it was the clouds when you asked me that. Is it really that beautiful that you chose to leave us?

I'll miss your unconditional love, the "thank you mama" even for the simplest things I did for you or just being appreciative, the "I'm sorry mama" when you were naughty, those "hugs" you just suddenly gave me, that "naughty impish smile", the kisses you smack on my lips, your jokes, the flowers you picked in the garden just to show how much you loved me. I'll miss how you checked up on me even if I was just taking a shower. You were my bodyguard on earth --- but now you're my angel.

I can just hear you, Luijoe , as you always did whenever you see me this way ---now, a whisper of an angel, "mama, don't cry!!" --- and as I feel your angel love and comfort , I know you are happy with God.

Your mama

NOTE:Read more on Luijoe's questions about angels , heaven and death weeks before he died. It was as if he knew he was going to go to heaven.

~If you pray truly, you will feel within yourself a great assurance, and the angels will be your companions.~ ~Evagrius of Pontus~

"And, behold, the angel of the LORD came upon him, and a light shined." ~ Acts 12:7 ~

Precious Child

Written & Sung by:  Karen Taylor Goode - TCF

In my dreams
You are alive and well
Precious child, Precious child
In my mind, I see you clear as a bell
Precious child, Precious child

In my soul, There is a hole,
that can never be filled
In my heart, there is hope
cause you are with me still.

In my heart, you live on
Always there, never gone
Precious Child, You left so soon
Though it may be true that were apart
You will live forever,
in my heart.

In my plans,
I was the first to leave
Precious child, Precious child
But in this world,
I was left here to grieve,
Precious child, My precious child

In my soul, There is a hole,
that can never be filled
But in my heart, there is hope
and you are with me still

In my heart, you live on,
Always there, never gone
Precious child, you left too soon
Though it may be true, that were apart
You will live forever, in my heart

God knows I want to hold you,
feel you, touch you
and maybe there is a Heaven
and some day I will again
Please know your not forgotten
Until then...

In my heart, you live on
Always there, Never gone
Precious Child
You left too soon
Though it may be true, thatwere apart
You will live forever
in my heart!

The melody "Precious Child" was written and performed by Karen Taylor-Good in loving memory of her nephew, Paul Rodgers. First sung at the 1998 The Compassionate Friends National Conference in Nashville.

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