Greetings Family and Friends,
This past week marks one month since our dear Jerome was called home and today is the eve of Jerome's first Heavenly Birthday. Below is a letter written to Jerome from his mother, Yolanda Luceno Jimenez, originally shared on Facebook and during his Memorial Service. As we surround ourselves with family and friends this holiday season I wanted to remind us all to cherish each moment. Every day we have truly is a present.
Thank you for reading and for the continued support of Sam, Caleb, and the whole family.
Happy Holidays and God Bless!
My dear son Jerome,
I gave you life, and in return, you gave my life meaning. You were the best holiday present when God brought you into my life a week before Christmas. Growing up, you were well behaved, happy and full of smiles. You never gave me one bit of headache.
The day you told me you had stage 4 cancer, I couldn’t help but break down. You had one request of me, “Mom, please be strong for me so I can be strong”. And for the past two and a half years, not a day went by without you doing everything in your power to fight the battle. I have learned how strong you can be. You have touched and inspired so many lives, even strangers with your grace, strength, wisdom and determination. You are amazing Jerome!
These past few months, you worked so hard to make sure that Sam and Caleb will be comfortable after you’re gone. You updated your kitchen and put up the patio and shed. You organized all your paper work, even chose your own coffin, helped make your funeral arrangements and also asked your pall bearers. I admire you for making sure everything was in place.
These past few weeks, we spent quality time together and it brought me such joy. I brought your favorite meals and we reminisced about your own childhood memories and we also talked about Lolo and Lola’s life experiences which you wanted to hear again. You were very smart and your sisters, Angela, Stephanie and I will value your financial advice and knowledge. In these recent weeks, you tried hard to stay on top of things, true to who you are. You logged all your meds on your phone, responded to emails and texts up to your last day even though you were getting weaker and it took you forever to type each letter or word. Before you went into a coma that night, over one hundred of your loved ones and friends came to say good bye and you were still determined to inform them of your latest prognosis.
In all the years of raising Jerome, Stephanie and Angela, I never considered that I would lose a child. I could never have imagined how much this would hurt or how much it would change me in every way. This pain is all consuming, even when I’m not crying, even during moments I can smile, even when I’m distracted.
I don’t think this will ever hurt less. I will never get over it. I assume in time, I will just find a way to live with it. Part of me is gone. Part of me died with you, my son. I will mourn you leaving this world all the days of my life. Even when everyone else has moved on, even when I’m able to find happiness in my own life again, I will mourn. There is and will always be a missing space in our lives and our families. You will always live on in our hearts but our hearts will have a forever hole. Time does not make the space less empty. The emptiness left by your death will never be filled. For as long as I breathe, I will grieve and ache and love you Jerome.
In March, you had just returned from Europe for work where you went to Istanbul, Turkey and Rome, Italy and with Sam where you visited Vienna, Austria and Paris, France. At our Luceno family Easter brunch, we were heart-warmed to hear all about your trip. After you shared your stories, you asked us to take a family vacation with you, which we set out to make happen. The Luceno clan and I will cherish our trip to Hawaii this summer, all 30 of us.
You gave me two blessings – Caleb your mini-me who is a daily reminder of you. And Sam who is kind, loving, patient and who has been the best daughter-in-law. Thank you Sam for your unwavering love!
Thank you to the Jimenezes, Lucenos, Domingos, all our relatives, extended families, BFF Camping group, St. Anthony Praise Choir, my USTHS batch mates, co-workers from Regence, Clem’s co workers from Port of Seattle Police Dept, friends of Jerome and Sam from St. Anthony, Kennedy Catholic HS, Seattle Pacific University, University of Washington, his co-workers from Best Buy, T-Mobile, Boeing and Microsoft especially his Audit team from around the world for your love, support, prayers, good vibes and well wishes. Your messages are overwhelming and have truly helped lift our families during this most difficult time. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts.
To my only son Jerome, my inspiration, my rock, I am deeply honored to be your Mom! I love you with all my heart forever!