We will love him forever.

You know I love fishing, but my time has come
I’m on the banks looking up towards the sun.
Warmth all around me, peace in the air
I’m climbing that stairway with grace, love, and care.
Don’t worry about me, feel sad, or alone
The Lord has called
And I can finally go home.
A smile on my face, light in my heart
Peace flowing through me
I’m just sad we’re apart
Know that I’m with you 
When caressed by a breeze,
A touch on the shoulder
Or appear in your dreams.
My life was better
because of you
The best part of living 
was loving you too.
Your love was a gift, mine to treasure forever
My mom, my dad, my sons and my brothers,
My family, my friends, and all the others
No sadness, no sorrow, no asking why
I’m finally at peace
With God in the sky 

Posted by Debbie Manzelmann on June 13, 2021
Another month has passed us by,
but it feels like yesterday
I got the call that you were gone and home with God to stay.
Can't say it's gotten any easier,
My heart still feels the pain,
I stop and think about the day that I will see you again.
I know you're safe and have found peace
surrounded by family and friends,
but still my mind goes to that place
where I wish I could see you again.
Happy ten months is heaven Joe.
I love you xoxox

Posted by Diana Gruttadauria on June 3, 2021
Wish I could call you
Wish I could hug you
Wish I could see you
Wish I could hear your voice
Wish I could see your smile
Wishing you a happy heavenly birthday Joe
Love you forever miss you for always
Posted by Patricia Ferreira on June 3, 2021
There was a time when a hug would be laughed at as a birthday gift. If only I could give you that hug today. Happy Birthday Joe. I miss you . Aunt Trisha
Posted by Debbie Manzelmann on May 13, 2021
Happy nine month anniversary in Heaven! We miss you so very much. Your birthday is coming up in a few months. That will be a rough one, but I'm sure the peace and beauty of Heaven is worth skipping the cake down here :) Well, we'll have one for you anyway. In the meantime, thinking of you each and every day. We're sending our love xoxox
Posted by Jennifer Lento on April 27, 2021
Oh dear Joey,

When I think of you I still think of the first little baby I can remember meeting. You were so cute! I remember wanting to eat your baby food all the time and really just doing it because I wanted to be around you. One day you went crawling up the stairs and David and I went running up after you. I've always remembered in that moment, learning about myself, that I really liked to "take care of" people. There was always something special about you... a light that doesn't shine quite so easily in everyone. Keep shining, Joey, as bright as you can. :) God gave you a beautiful work to do, you are just doing it in a better place than the rest of us. with love, Jen.  p.s. Thank you for being a special part of my childhood.
Posted by Jackie Schneider on April 25, 2021
Joe my love, I’m sorry I don’t write on here a lot, when I do it just makes it real and I just still don’t want to believe you are gone. I keep waiting for you to walk thru the door laughing telling me this was all a prank. I check my phone waiting for a text or phone call from you. But I know that it will never happen. So I watch your videos just to hear your voice. My favorite is the one when you are singing to me on your way to work and I get to hear you say you love me and miss me. I just wish I could hear it in person but that time will come. Until then I have to force myself to accept what is. As hard as it may be. You know I will always love you. You are and will always be the love of my life and I want to thank you for the love you gave me. I want to thank you for all the smiles you gave me all the kindness, and laughs. I want to thank you for being you. You are “kind of a big deal” and I am thankful to have met you and extremely lucky to have been able to spend the time I did with you. You showed me that there are still good people in the world. I don’t understand why you were taken from us and I know I never will. All I do know is you are in a better place now and you are happy and free dancing in the sky.

Posted by Debbie Manzelmann on April 13, 2021
I didn't forget, eight months today. Still so very difficult. I was remembering Vicki Scanga - your after school sitter. She always called you Messy Marvin. I remember walking into her house one afternoon and you were eating a bowl of cereal (I think that's what it was) and when you got up there was cereal on the table, chair, floor....just wanted to let you know....I think Little Joey has the same tendency! Miss you so much Joe! xoxox
Posted by Debbie Manzelmann on March 13, 2021
So, today marks seven months in heaven; happy seven months Joe! We still miss you like crazy. So happy to hear you are, for this anniversary there's a challenge. I have added three new pictures. Since there are 3,800 views, I wonder if anyone will recognize the new pictures. Right up you alley Joe! Love you so very much xoxoxox always.
Posted by Debbie Manzelmann on February 13, 2021
Six months, 183 days today, the phone call came to tell us God called you home. In some ways I'm really thankful that you are in heaven. Lord knows it has to be better there (yes, a pun). Still, I miss you like crazy - every day. So many why's and what if's. I found this poem: Something will remind me, I never know just when, It might be something someone says and it all comes back again.   The times we spent together, the happiness the fun, Once again I feel the pain of life without my son.   It's said that time's a healer. I'm not sure this is true. There's not a day goes by Son that I do not cry for you. Love you forever and ever xoxox
Posted by Diana Gruttadauria on February 3, 2021
Hey Joe
Been thinking about you all day. Memories and love last forever. So you are here forever too. ❤️Just still hard to think of you not physically being here. One day perhaps I will be able to think of you without crying. Our beautiful boy, love you forever miss you for always. Aunt Didi❤️
Posted by Jackie Schneider on February 1, 2021
Joe I think about u every single day. I'm finally able to speak about it without crying. I have accepted that God took you home because he needed you. U are such an amazing person with such a good heart and full of positive energy and love. U touched the lives of everyone u came in contact with. I pray Jayden grows up to have the same kind caring heart and energy that u have. There will forever be a hole in my heart that noone could ever even attempt to fill. If I stay alone the rest of my life I'm ok with that bc I met my soulmate and was able to spend the most amazing 4 years with. I was one of the lucky ones. We had that once in a lifetime kind of love. U have given me enough love to last a lifetime. U will always be mine and I will always be yours. No man could ever take your place. U will always be the love of my life. I love u so so much. I can't wait to join u and continue our life free and happy...when it's my time....I can't wait to meet u at the stairway up. Til then my love....
Posted by Debbie Manzelmann on January 20, 2021
Grief is the price of love. I just read that and thought it was absolute truth. I am thankful for the gift of loving you. I was just remembering the time you brought that horse home; then there was the go-cart...and so much more. Love you Joe

Grief never ends … But it changes. It’s a passage, not a place to stay. Grief is not a sign of weakness, nor a lack of faith. It is the price of love. —AUTHOR UNKNOWN
Posted by Debbie Manzelmann on December 25, 2020
Although your picture hangs on our tree,
we're missing your presence, your smile, your glee.
The empty stocking, no gifts with your name....
It's been a really hard day, but I'm thankful you're free.
Love, hugs, and Merry Christmas. I love you always son.
Posted by Diana Gruttadauria on November 26, 2020
Hey Joe
Miss you, still so hard to think you’ve gone home. Glad Grandma is there with you. It’s a lil comfort. 
Give her a hug from me. Little memory, Thanksgiving day you were 13 or 14 , you wanted to go to the movies. So, you bet you could finish the turkey for 5$. And you did lol. Always made everyone laugh. Best smile in our family. ❤️ Love Aunt Didi
Posted by Patricia Ferreira on November 26, 2020
Pray for you (or with you?) daily Joe and cannot wait to see your giggly self once again one day. We miss you, especially today. Love and hugs, Aunt Trisha
Posted by Leanne Hebb on November 25, 2020
We will miss you so much Joe. The pictures flood my mind with so many memories. You were precious to me and so many. I believe God has a plan for you in heaven just as he did here on Earth. You are loved.
Posted by Debbie Manzelmann on October 13, 2020
Today marks two months in heaven. Still missing you every single day. There've been half a dozen masses as well as daily mass for a year from Skip and Joann, so I know your travels were easy, but I'm sad that I didn't get that time to say goodbye - enjoy another Thanksgiving and Christmas - birthday. I know we'll have eternity in heaven and am holding onto that. Love and miss you. Mom
Posted by Diana Gruttadauria on August 27, 2020
Just looking at all the pictures of Joey. The 43 years he was here he had a lot of joy and happiness. And most of all love. Love from his family. Love from friends. Thankful for this. I think it’s why his smile is so bright. I wish we had more time to spend with you. Never enough time. I promise to keep loving you today tomorrow and all the rest of my days. Love you forever, miss you for always. 
Love Aunt Diane (Didi)
Posted by Sean Miller on August 22, 2020
Joe Joe. All I can share is the fact that anytime we spoke or were around one another you had great bright energy. You were always optimistic and brought light heartedness to any situation. I can honestly say we only had positive encounters and you are missed and loved. I appreciate having known your spirit and you and I being friends in our Journey. A few words to describe you would be A Genuine Good Human. Thank you Brother.
Posted by Kaitlyn Storz on August 21, 2020
I still cannot find the words.. Your smile would light up a room, Joey. I will always cherish the laughs we had. & I will forever cherish the friendship we had. You will always hold a special place in my heart... I love you, friend.
Posted by Debbie Manzelmann on August 20, 2020
There's such a hole in my heart. The days are filled with what if, why didn't, but maybe....and just asking why? why? why? My beautiful son. Remembering the day you were born, checking on you while you slept, calling in unison "davidandjoey", sharing every goal you achieved, and every pain you endured. I know I will never be able to fill the void you left behind, but I will try to remember all of the happy times. It's just gonna be so hard.
Posted by Cindy Moir on August 19, 2020
I will miss you my friend, you always gave the greatest hugs. Say hello to a few others we have lost if you can...much love.
Posted by Jerry Schofield on August 18, 2020
Rest In Peace My Friend....
Posted by Katherine Rivera on August 17, 2020
Dear sweet Nephew ,
  no words can say how heartbroken I am and how much you will be missed. When I last saw you, you didn't want to say goodbye when we we're returning to NY. We hugged and said I love you and our goodbye's and both started walking away and turned around at the same time and hugged and said I love you again and then did it again , giggled then teared up. You used to do that when you we're little. Your smile was always so heartwarming . These are only a few of the many beautiful memories you left behind and when I think of you or see my great nephews Joey and Jayden I will smile because that light you gave off in your smile is eternal.
Posted by Lisa Coriano on August 17, 2020
Where to start , what to say cause I'm lost to even think you are not with us physically but your spirit will for ever be near ,the other night Aunt Trisha said she dreamed you was a star, last night before I went to bed I watched the video of yr birthday before going to sleep and I was on my patio , something told me to look up and there was one star out bright I smiled and said that's Joey we grew up together in our younger years and u was my favorite did you know that lmao goofy funny wild lol....Wow this is hard , I love you cuzo God knows I do I'm sooooooo thankful I talked you I got to say I love you I got to say I was proud of you Joey ,.Watch over us I will for ever miss and love you Joey ,Until we meet again cuzo rest easy ...Love you ❤️ Love
Posted by Roberto Petez on August 17, 2020
You’re in a better place, an angel looking at us.
May your soul R.I.P.,my condolences to the family.
Knowing the Rivera family, you had to be a great person.
See you in heaven...

Posted by Mark Manzelmann on August 17, 2020
Dear Joe I hope you know you are loved and missed by so many family and friends. I will have and treasure all the memories we shared. Every time I see our grandchildren, I will also see you. Love Dad
Posted by Diana Gruttadauria on August 16, 2020
My dear Joey
There are no words that can express how much I will miss you or how much my heart aches. I remember when you were born, when you were a toddler, a teen and a man. I will always remember your smile and saying I love you aunt Didi. Not Titi but Didi. Made that up yourself. You’re forever in my heart, keeping you there safe and warm until I can hug you again. I love you forever, miss you for always nephew❤️
Posted by Patricia Ferreira on August 16, 2020
I'm still in shock that you have crossed over to the other side. I feel you when I am upset, out exercising and when I am trying to get a leg up on Sudoku. I just know you are there. I will miss you and pray for you every day of my life Joe. I wish I could go up there and bring you back, but I know God has a special plan for you. He doesn't make mistakes. Thank you for all the "I love you's," smiles and hugs. You have left a special print on my heart. Love, Aunt Trisha
Posted by Annie Gruttadauria on August 16, 2020
"Don’t think of him as gone away
his journey’s just begun,
life holds so many facets
this earth is only one.
Just think of him as resting
from the sorrows and the tears
in a place of warmth and comfort
where there are no days and years.
Think how he must be wishing
that we could know today
how nothing but our sadness
can really pass away.
And think of him as living
in the hearts of those he touched…
for nothing loved is ever lost
and he was loved so much."

-Ellen Brenneman
Posted by Debbie Manzelmann on August 16, 2020
As your mom, the pain of losing you is almost unbearable. I love you with my heart and soul ♥ Forty-three years just wasn't enough. You leave behind memories of love, laughter, family holidays, hugs, caring and more. Thank you for bringing Joey and Jayden into our lives. We will treasure them until it's time to see you again. I love you my beautiful son. Until we meet again...I love you

Leave a Tribute

Recent Tributes
Posted by Debbie Manzelmann on June 13, 2021
Another month has passed us by,
but it feels like yesterday
I got the call that you were gone and home with God to stay.
Can't say it's gotten any easier,
My heart still feels the pain,
I stop and think about the day that I will see you again.
I know you're safe and have found peace
surrounded by family and friends,
but still my mind goes to that place
where I wish I could see you again.
Happy ten months is heaven Joe.
I love you xoxox

Posted by Diana Gruttadauria on June 3, 2021
Wish I could call you
Wish I could hug you
Wish I could see you
Wish I could hear your voice
Wish I could see your smile
Wishing you a happy heavenly birthday Joe
Love you forever miss you for always
Posted by Patricia Ferreira on June 3, 2021
There was a time when a hug would be laughed at as a birthday gift. If only I could give you that hug today. Happy Birthday Joe. I miss you . Aunt Trisha
his Life

One month

Well, today is the anniversary of the first month since you left us. It feels like yesterday. I still don't have any answers, but I guess that doesn't really make a difference. You're missed every single day. I love the sign you sent Kaitlyn. The best one yet. Love and miss you bunches and bunches. Give grandma a great big hug! Until I see you again....xoxoxoxox

Saying Goodbye for Now

I couldn't write this yesterday. It's true that the pain of losing a child is almost unbearable; after all, parents protect their children in every way possible and I couldn't help you. Today we stood together and said our farewells. Father Eric did the anointing and shared a beautiful sermon. He reminded us that we are all born into corruption. God looks for the good, love, and light in us and you certainly provided a lot of light. No matter what happened in your life, you never spoke harsh words about people - frustration - but no harsh words. You saw the good in people that most of us would be too blind to see. You would give the shirt off your back to help others. You loved, showed remorse, and struggled to find your way through this life. You leave behind a legacy of love with your big, beautiful heart, smile, and light. My faith is strong and I know we will see each other again. In the meantime, we will see that Joey and Jayden are well cared for. We will miss you each and every day! We love you dearly Joey!!!

The day you were born....

June 3, 1977 was your brother, David's, first birthday. That is the day you were born...a gift to all of us. I remember the first time I held you on my shoulder, you lifted your little face toward's me with your forehead full of wrinkles. Your expression was like, "what happened". You looked so different from your brother who had red hair, but so beautiful. I loved you from the start.
Recent stories
Shared by Debbie Manzelmann on June 3, 2021
Today is Joe's birthday. He would be 44, sigh. Thinking back to when he was a little boy I can remember so many things. His easy laugh, the way his eyes lit up, walking Lance or Lance dragging him, following David around, playing with Raul, Lisa, and David, swinging his legs at the kitchen table while doing his homework....

I remember reading The Monster at the End of this Book over and over again to Dave and Joe. They'd laugh at the ending every time. So, for Joe's birthday I'm sharing the youtube video version below. 

Happy Birthday Joe! We love and miss you xoxoxoxox

Mother's Day

Shared by Debbie Manzelmann on May 9, 2021
Well, today is Mother's Day. I miss you. I do have my favorite Mother's Day Card from you. I am thankful that I saved it because I gave it to myself today from you. Thank you for the beautiful card and for loving me. I wish I were the perfect mom and could have given you the world. I'm proud of the person you were here on earth. Your heart was bigger than big. That never changed, regardless of life's circumstance. I know you're in Heaven with family and friends...and Barney, and Keisha, and Hammy, and Sugar...Hope you were watching today as we celebrated with dinner today. Dave, Unjen, Jared, Joey, Jayden, Brian, Mark, myself, and you in spirit. Love you Joey! xoxox 

Turkey Leg

Shared by Debbie Manzelmann on November 27, 2020
Well, that explains why he always ate a turkey leg for Thanksgiving!! I forgot all about this! I believe he stayed home that day because he didn't feel very well!!! Thanks for the memory. I was feeling a bit down on Thanksgiving because Joe always came around to cut up the rutabaga or turnips and then he and I ate them. None this year. Every now and then I remember great the time he and David built a wood fort out back in the wooded area and then made a camp fire inside the fort. Yep. They did that. Or the time I handed Joey our dog Lance on a leash, let him out the back door and told him to take him around the yard for a walk. Next thing I knew I heard a commotion out front, opened the door, and there went Lance dragging Joey behind him - literally - as the dog chased after something or other. Then, when we lived in the land before time aka Citrus County, he took to collecting scorpions, spiders, snakes, rats, etc. and more often than not they got loose in the house. So many smiles (well, most of them)! Miss you so much Joe. xoxox Hugs to mom, grandma, grandpa, aunts, uncles, cousins, friends, and more....