Today would have been Joe’s 30th birthday, and the lost opportunity in that realization is what is driving me back to writing today. This year is bringing a lot of changes to my life, changes my brother will not be figured into because he is no longer here on this earth.
My family is growing again: we will welcome baby #4 in February. I wanted to hear Joey laugh at the news, but instead there is silence. In the next few months, my husband, children and I will be moving into a new house in a new town (where I already have many wonderful friends) along with my parents, while the house we last lived in with Joey is going to be sold to someone else, someone who won’t understand that this is the house Joey Jello grew up in.
Our lives are moving on without him, and while it is good, it also hurts.
But as I was going through old papers and junk to de-clutter our current home, I came across a paper I used to keep posted on my desk at college. It’s something my grandmother wrote in an email not long before she died. Read the rest of this entry
Michael Allen, circa 1990-something. This is how I’ll probably always think of you, Friend. Rest in Peace.
This morning I got word that a good friend from high school passed away. I still don’t know the details, but I was compelled to write. This has become my thinking grounds: the place where I process my emotions and find healing, or at least peace to begin healing.
All I can think about is how thin that veil between life and death really is, and how none of us are immune. Interestingly, these are the same thoughts I was puzzling over just yesterday, as it was Ash Wednesday – ashes to ashes, dust to dust. As I have mentioned before, I like the way Ingrid Michaelson’s song Breakable explains it. We are so fragile. Read the rest of this entry
Friday night was the second meeting of my book club, and I am SO enjoying this new addition to my life. I have wanted for ages to be in a book club, but never knew of one or had enough friends who were interested. But now I am in one, and I love it!
This month’s book (Me Before You by Jojo Moyes) was such a good/difficult one for me because of all the issues and emotions it forced me to think about and consider. Without giving anything away, I will just say that one of the main characters is hit by a car in the first few pages of the book which doesn’t kill him but leaves him a quadriplegic in constant pain unable to do anything for himself, and the majority of the novel entails his relationship with a caretaker and how they change each other’s lives/perspectives. Read the rest of this entry
I’m not sure I can even begin to wrap words around the emotions I am feeling today.
Yesterday was the day my mom and Joey’s friends finally had the opportunity to face George Martinez, Jr., the man responsible for the death of Joey Jello. Read the rest of this entry
What a yucky week we’ve had here. Last week I started out so strong, biking and running every day and feeling really good. Then Friday, one of my boys woke up with a cough, so I decided we should stay home and keep everyone else’s kids healthy. Of course, then Monday I woke up with a severe sore throat and congestion along with full body achi-ness. I’m feeling a bit better now, but everyone in the house has been fighting this crud, so we’ve been effectively benched.
I can’t believe this is who I am now, but a whole week without running has been unbearable! And I must admit I’ve been a little off my game with my eating as well. You know how it is when you’re sick – you just want comfort food. Read the rest of this entry
Joey Jello on right
Since my latest tattoo, a person who cares a lot about me mentioned their concern that people would judge me because of my tattoos. Because of who this was, I knew that this concern was real and not a roundabout way of saying that this person was judging me. And I understood the concern because I remember thinking something similar when Joey showed up with the words NEVER BETRAY backwards on his neck – all I could think was that so many people would miss out on knowing my awesome brother because they would write him off as soon as they saw ink on his neck.
But then Joey died, and all these amazing people, many of whom had ink from head to toe and dressed and lived so differently from me, came out of the woodwork it seemed and cared for me and my family as though we were their family. Read the rest of this entry
As I sit down to write, my whole being wants to mourn. But I can’t do that. Because I love Joey, and celebrating life was his reason for being. So that’s what I choose to do today – celebrate the life of Joey Jello. For my newer readers, this is the life that inspired me to take charge of mine. Joey Jello is my brother, and I will always love him.
Read the rest of this entry
I’m halfway through week 2 of the 8-week Couch to 5K program now, and some interesting things are happening.
On my run/walk yesterday, I started out feeling like I couldn’t get enough air, but by the second running interval, I was feeling a bit better. And by the time I got to my final running interval, something amazing had happened. I actually felt, well…good. Like my body was working with me for once instead of against me.
It might be the only time in my life I can ever remember thinking that. Read the rest of this entry
You may have noticed I haven’t written in a while. Almost 3 weeks ago, I joined the local YMCA, and Noah has started soccer for the first time ever. Not to mention we’ve actually had some warmish weather which when you have 3 boys absolutely REQUIRES time outdoors. So, needless to say, it’s been busy around here.
But the good kind of busy. The busy that includes….duh, duh, da-duh!…starting running intervals!
I’ll be honest, running for 60 seconds at a time is hard for me. I haven’t run since I was in high school, I think. But it’s so good, too. At the end of a session, when I’m still walking on the treadmill with sweat pouring down my face and music in my ears, I inevitably begin to cry. It’s not that I’m sad, though I am sad that Joey’s not here to see this. But I am overwhelmed with bittersweet pride that I am becoming a better version of me…because of him.
For me running, even in 60 second bursts, is the beginning of the Phoenix rising from the ashes. I have been in mourning; I am in mourning still, but there is hope, hope for the day when I run that first 5k race, Joey’s ashes around my neck, knowing that our adventures together aren’t over.
As I was putting my boys in the car yesterday, one of them said he wanted to sit in the seat without the car seat. Of course, I said no, and then I almost said, “It’s against the law,” but something stopped me. Instead, I told him that the car seat was the safest place for him to sit.
I felt the need to make the distinction because I haven’t forgotten that Joey refused to wear a seat belt. I understood his reasoning. I get that he didn’t think the government should tell him how to protect himself. I actually agree, but if the government made it illegal to jump off a bridge, jumping to my death is probably not the smartest form of protest.
My point is that even though I completely disagree with the right of the government to require me to wear a seat belt and put my children in car seats, I still do it. I do it because I love my children. I do it because I love my husband and my parents. I do it because they love me.
And if I could go back and say just one thing to my brother, it would be, “DON’T wear a seat belt because it’s the law; DO wear it because I love you.”
I’ll never know if wearing a seat belt would have saved Joey’s life on that horrible night of June 24th. And I can’t go back, but I can make the right choices when I’m behind the wheel and teach my kids to do the same. But I want to always recognize WHY we make good choices. Not out of fear of legal consequences but because we have been entrusted with the gift of life, and we should do all in OUR power to protect it.
Please note: I do not blame Joey for getting killed by a reckless, possibly intoxicated driver. If that dude had stayed home or let someone else drive, my seatbelt-less brother would still be alive. He is to blame, not Joey.