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Eulogy from a Best Friend

Dear Satomi,

I miss you so much.  I’m sitting here trying to compose this letter but it hurts me.  I’m sitting here crying and thinking how could I possibly put what I’m feeling into words?  My heart is aching and when I cry, I feel like it’s coming from so deep inside that I’m turning inside out and I can’t breathe, but Satom, please don’t feel bad for me.  I know that you are because that’s just the kind of person you are, always thinking and taking care of everyone else.  I’m going to be alright but not ever 100% because you’re not here in my life.  I’m comforted that you’re at peace and have no pain, but that doesn’t make the pain I feel, being here on earth without you, any less.

I’m thinking about all of the wonderful times we spent together and how I wanted to have so many more.  Do you remember our joke?  I’d say, “Quit following me!” and you’d laugh!  You came to work at Yonemoto Physical Therapy after me, then you followed me to Cal State, Long Beach for Physical Therapy School and then to work at Tustin Rehab Hospital.  I’d give anything to have you following me through life once again.

You were such a thoughtful friend.  I will miss the cards you always made a point of sending me on Mother’s Day.  I will miss sharing our experiences with marriage and motherhood.  I will miss our spur of the moment calls to just see how the other was doing.  I will miss seeing you at my parents’ house on Christmas to share a birthday cake.  Of course, I will cherish memories of you standing by my side on my wedding day and standing by your side on yours and trips together, but especially our special moments these last few months.  You were so brave and I am so amazed at how you faced everything!  You lived each day until the very end.  You never gave up or withdrew from life.  After you lost your hearing, I was worried that you’d withdraw from all of us but I underestimated you.  You just continued on seeing the positive in it all.  You let your fingers do the talking and we’d text back and forth about the happenings in our lives.  You’d joke that since you couldn’t hear, you didn’t have to deal with arguments between Kandice and Jillian.  I was worried that after each seizure, you would just curl up and give in but you didn’t!  Instead, you, Brenda and I went on that crazy outing to the park to eat those HUGE burritos (with NO BEANS of course)!!  You were so excited that day to get out of the house.  You should’ve seen all the plans Brenda and I had for future outings, but it wasn’t meant to be.

I’m going to miss us raising our girls together asking each other advice about how to raise a teenage daughter.  I wanted to go on “girls only” vacations together when the kids were grown.  I wanted us to go through life together.  I wanted the Joy Luck Club.  There were so many things that I wanted for us.  You were so eager to continue living even though the future was bleak.  I will always feel so grateful to have had you in my life although briefer than I had expected.  You were the sister that I never had.  You were one of the people in my life that would stand by me without question.  I’m so grateful that I was able to tell you that I loved you every day that we saw each other these last few months.  I cherish all of those days when you’d see me, smile and say my name.  That last week, after having a very long seizure, you still somehow responded to my “Hi” with a “Hi” and smiled.  I want you to know that I thanked God for that moment.  That was the last moment that I knew that you saw me and I will carry that with me for the rest of my life.  You were in pain but I think you endured so that you could spend time with all the people that you loved and loved you.  There will always be a piece of my heart missing because you took it with you when you left this earth.  I believe in God and that you are in heaven doing what you do best, watching over all of us.  I want you to know that I will love you for always and forever and will miss you every single day until we are together again.

~Irene

Words of Appreciation

On behalf of Sean, Kandice, Jillian, and the Enomoto family, we would like to extend our sincerest appreciation for the outpouring of love and support during this very difficult time.

We are particularly grateful for…

  • The love and support from all her family and friends that took an active role in her care, and her many doctors, nurses, and other heath care providers.  Your assistance allowed Satomi more good days than bad.
  • The members of her Cancer Support Group.  The comradery with others in a similar battle with cancer brought peace and comfort in times of grief and anxiety.
  • The current and former staff at Tustin Rehab hospital.  Satomi was proud of being a Physical Therapist and she loved caring for her patients.  You gave her many cherished memories and immeasurable personal satisfaction.

An incessant optimist, Satomi’s personality was infectious to those around her.  Her passing is a true tragedy and a loss for all.  We will miss her very much.

As a small token of our appreciation, please do join us in the Fellowship Hall for lunch where we can continue to share memories of Satomi and celebrate her life.

The Ushers will coordinate the Final Tribute procession and then direct you to the Fellowship Hall.  Please follow their directions.

Memories of Satomi

Satomi Carol Okamoto: Personal History

Satomi Carol Okamoto was born December 25th, 1967 in Los Angeles, California to Osami and Tatsuko Enomoto.  The family lived in a house on Berendo Street and Olympic near what is now Koreatown.  Satomi was raised in a household of four children and surrounded by numerous cousins, relatives and close family friends.

Satomi attended Colfax Charter Elementary, Walter Reed Middle school and graduated from North Hollywood High School in 1986.  Upon receiving a full scholarship to the University of Southern California (USC), she graduated with a bachelors degree in Exercise Science.

Unsure about her choice in profession, Satomi delayed entry into graduate school until she could gain some work experience.  Fate led her to Yonemoto Physical Therapy and she found her calling.

In 1994, Satomi graduated from California State University at Long Beach with a second bachelor’s degree in Physical Therapy.  A year later she was a licensed therapist specializing in stroke recovery and other neurological disorders working at Tustin Rehabilitation Hospital.  She worked there for nearly 15 years, ultimately attaining a supervisory role in their outpatient department and wheelchair clinic.  She loved her work and her patients.

Satomi was proud of her heritage and had been active in the Los Angeles Japanese American community her entire life.  She was trained in the art of Odori, traditional Japanese dance, since the age of three.  In 1996, she received her Natori, or professional title, signifying achievement of the highest skill level.  She used the name “Hanayagi Tokusatomi” to pay homage to her esteemed instructor “Hanayagi Tokuyae”.

In May of 2002, Satomi married Sean Okamoto.  She met Sean in a community service group called the Nikkei Bridge based in Los Angeles.  They had worked closely together as leaders within the group which ultimately led to their relationship and marriage.  The friends they made there remain close to them today.

Kandice Mina was born in June of 2004 followed by Jillian Mika in May of 2006.  The family made their home in Orange, California and was very happy.

Satomi courageously fought the cancer since her initial diagnosis in September of 2007.  All the while she remained active raising her children-attending their school plays, watching their swim lessons and basketball practices, and helping them with homework.  She was very happy to see them grow into beautiful little girls.

Satomi passed away on March 14th at her home in Orange surrounded by loving family.  She is survived by her mother-Tatsuko Enomoto, husband-Sean, two daughters-Kandice and Jillian, two sisters-Hiromi and Kiyomi-and their families, brother-Isao, and countless friends.

Funeral Service Program

To download the program in pdf format, click here:  [Funeral Program-FINAL]