I just want to take a minute or two to say how special you all are and how much you mean to me and my family.
Joey and I were brought up with a high standard of friendship, and to be quite honest, I had come to believe that perhaps there weren’t more than just a handful of folks on this planet who held that same standard. But it seems that Joe had found a deep well of friends who stand by you through it all. Friends who love you so much that the love spills out onto your family, too. Friends who would make sure your parents don’t hear the news of your death over the phone from a police officer or other state official. I have been overwhelmed by your love through this tragedy, and I hope you feel that love returned by the heart full.
The main reason for this letter, however, is that in sharing my place in the journey of processing Joey’s death and the circumstances surrounding it, I realize that each of you may be in completely different places than I am.
And I just want to say, I hope you know that’s ok. I don’t expect you to be where I am. My relationship with Joey is/was not yours. For you, the mourning/acceptance process has and will look differently because you are unique and your relationship with Joe was unique. Walk through the process as you need to without worrying about whether it is the “right” way to feel. Just please don’t get stuck there; keep moving forward. I want to see you thrive just as Joey would want you to do.
Also, I didn’t share my forgiveness to toot my own horn or make anyone think that I’m so wonderful to forgive the guy who killed my brother. (I’m not). I wrote and published it here as accountability because forgiveness is something I could take back at any moment if I so chose. Forgiveness is not a momentary act but a way of living from this moment forward. And I choose to live without anger and resentment toward George Martinez, Jr. from this day on.
Joey’s death has been the catalyst for so much change for the better in my life that I don’t want to spoil it all with bitterness and resentment. I want to make him proud of what I’ve done with my remaining time on this earth, and I hope that when I am gone, there will be lots of people who will feel that knowing me enriched their lives. And I hope that you all are counted in that number because I am certainly enriched by knowing each of you.
May these words reach you wherever you may be, and may they be felt as a blanket of love from me. Because I do love you, every one of you. You are part of my family now, and I’m never letting you go.