Veronica Lopez can’t live day to day. She said she lives second to second. It’s the only way she has made it through the month since her son, Jeremiah, died.
Standing on the street where he was hit and killed by a vehicle, she laughs at memories of her bright and energetic boy, but says it’s still a hard reality to accept that he’s gone.
“Nothing gets me through the rough patches,” Lopez said. “Sometimes I just sit in the room and talk to him.”
More than 30 friends and family members gathered on Bensel Street in suburban West Palm Beach Tuesday night, a month after Jeremiah was killed. With lanterns lighting the road and a cross covered in his favorite things — boxing gloves, Spider-Man and a football — the group remembered the 6-year-old for his love of life.
On Jan. 6, Jeremiah, his mother and adoptive father, Roberto, were at a family member’s home when the 6-year-old rushed out on a skateboard into the road, off of Military Trail and Belvedere Road. He was hit by Akos Koleszar, who lived on the street, in his Jeep Cherokee. Koleszar does not face any charges in the fatal crash.
Lopez, of Loxahatchee Groves, said her only child died in her arms. She tried to give him mouth-to-mouth resuscitation, but it was too late.
During the memorial, several people spoke about the closeness of the family and how love has kept them all together. The group commended Lopez for being able to stay strong and forgive Koleszar.
Lopez said some of the hardest parts of her days are the mornings - when she would wake up to take him to Loxahatchee Groves Elementary School during the week, he’d rush to her first thing each morning.
“I could be in a T-shirt and sweatpants and he’d say, ‘You’re so beautiful,’ ” she said.
Her husband, Roberto, laughed at the memory and said when he gets home from work it’s the hardest for him. Each day he said he’d walk in the door and the boisterous boy would ask to go skating, play football, anything active.
“He wanted to do everything,” he said.
With each passing vehicle entering the dark cul-de-sac, the group’s matching yellow shirts with the words “Free to be me” were illuminated. Veronica Lopez said the shirts were made by the family and the hand-drawn scooter in the center of those words was one of Jeremiah’s favorite things to do.
Explaining the phrase on the shirts, she said children usually have boundaries set by parents and others on what they can and can’t do.
“And what’s a kid without boundaries? Free. Now, he’s free to be him,” she said.
To contribute to the GoFundMe account for Jeremiah Nicholas Lopez, go online to www.gofundme.com/our-angel-jeremiah-taken-too-soon.