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Luijoe, my son and The Seven Last Words

Luijoe meadow somewhere in the North, where his grandparents live today

The Holy Week is one of the most memorable time of the year. Being a “cafeteria Catholic” my religious faith is at best mediocre. Luijoe, my innocent and religious 6 year old son often chastised me for not praying hard enough .


Painting on the wall of Church of Holy Sacrifice, UP Campus

I felt like a terrible mother who led a ho-hum religious existence. Gosh, we learn so much from our children , don’t we? It is the Holy Week which reminds me of my son. The image of the dying Jesus when he blurted out  “Woman, behold thy son, Behold thy mother” struck a chord in my son’s heart.

Luijoe photo taken at Luijoe meadow during Holy Week 2000

Every night, Luijoe pointed to that image asking me over and over again what it meant. He pointed to John the Beloved “Who is he? How is he related to the Mother of Jesus?” Strange he asked about John. I cuddled Luijoe in my arms and explained that the dying Jesus wanted John the Beloved to take care of his grieving mother. How was I to know that my own son would die the following weeks? During the funeral, I remember those last words and took it literally to mean that my family or my friends would take care of me in my bereavement, that there would be “John the Beloved” who will help me.

luijoe meadow

When a death as devastating as the loss of a child hits you, one tries to find meaning. One tries to make sense out of it. The time came when I realized that those last words were not about me. It was about me helping those who are in pain , because the grief journey is not easy. My son made sure that I would not be alone in this journey as long as I continue to help others. He made sure I remember to be the “John the Beloved” and be compassionate to other people’s pain.

luijoe meadow1

I look back and reflect on that poignant scene. It is my son’s way of reminding me that I will find comfort and still be a comfort to others:

He who was nailed to the cross, wanted to spare His mother further pain, not only for that moment, but for her entire future. He put her in the care of the apostle whom ““He loved” and whom He knew would care for her in return. Even as Jesus was dying, He went beyond himself to addresses someone else’s need.

Luijoe meadow at night, taken by Sean, my brother-in-law 2010 Christmas day

The Seven Last Words remind me of my son who died so young yet I know he continues to live in me through my work, my actions and devotion. Luijoe is with me everyday.

Here is something soothing:
Mozart Ave Verum Corpus por Leonard Bernstein

9 thoughts on “Luijoe, my son and The Seven Last Words”

  1. I understand why you didn’t want to go through a re-enactment of that years-ago tragedy. Mass media do sometimes exploit people’s private lives and griefs for dubious ends. I think you have shared enough and can still share grief lessons in other ways. God bless you and your family this holy week and beyond.

  2. Hi Noemi! A re-enactment of the important events of your family life need not be done because even the best acting prowess wouldn’t do justice to what your family went through. You may not be spending time with your son right now but he became God’s way for you to be an inspiration to countless mothers and families out there.

  3. @annamanila- I have no problem discussing this over an interview and showing photos. Sometimes I feel these shows exploit the tragedies too much. A tear is enough to convey the story not the dramatization.

    @julie- precisely Julie, my son is not physically with me but he made sure that his life continues in me

    @Michael- interesting read. We should learn to be tolerant of each other’s beliefs.

  4. yes, Noemi, you have already shared so much of yourself, in fact you still do, even though silently at times. you and your family do not have to go through that grief again through a reenactment. the Lord has been so good–there must be a reason for everything. God bless you and your family, may this Holy Week bring you more strength to carry through your mission of helping others who undergo difficulties in life.

  5. Hi Noemi. I followed the link on your post and it was my first time to read about Luijoe. I’m truly sorry about your loss. I can’t help but cry upon reading the various pages of the site. It’s inspiring how you and your family have dedicated yourselves in guiding others on how to understand and handle the pain and grief of losing a loved one.

    I understand why you have rejected the notion of a re-enactment of your loss. The memory is very hard as it is and watching it dramatized on screen would somehow give rise to more pain.

    Thank you for being an inspiration to many. I believe that it takes strength, courage and faith to move on the way you did. God bless you and your family.

  6. @sexy mom-right on Dine. We can show the positive resolution of our grief in other ways.

    @Rach- Every interview I do, i shed a tear of two out of nostalgia, of missing his physicial presence . It’s hard but for every tear I shed, I know that there is someone out there who feels the same and I can be of help.

  7. I caught some parts of it. I have no idea what they were trying do. Were they trying to make people depressed?

    I think it’s shameful that they would exploit people like that.

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