December 18th was my friend Julio ’s birthday and like typical birthday celebrations, Julio was surrounded by his loved ones: family, friends and co-workers. We did our best to sing “feliz cumpleaños” the Spanish version of Happy Birthday, but producing a beautiful, audible sound while you are sobbing is almost impossible. It was Julio’s 37th birthday and we were at the funeral home paying our last respects and saying our final goodbyes.
I know how this family feels: violent crime brings not just shock, it also infects you with brutal confusion. It’s completely overwhelming, especially when kids are involved – and Julio had four children aged 3-14.
Julio was part of the magical team that created the magnificent marble and granite masterpieces found in so many of my clients beautiful homes. He was also one of the inspiring energies that kept me focused while I created the Over My Shoulder Foundation last year. In so many meaningful ways, Julio and all the vibrant men who work on my design team, mentored me both professionally and personally while I launched this foundation. I enjoyed many long conversations about the importance of family and the necessity of balance in life with Julio. I remember one day in particular, sitting outside in a parking lot talking to Julio about his beautiful children, his grandmother and the American Dream. I remember this day so vividly because I was so envious of his contentment – I thought to myself, this is a successful man, this is a man who has it all.
I want to dedicate this blog entry to Julio – Julio was one of the dazzling mentors found in my exquisite collection. I would also like to take a moment and ask all of you to send your good wishes and prayers to Julio’s family. They will need our continued thoughts and prayers as the mystery surrounding Julio’s death unfolds and is solved.
As we each face the New Year, I ask that each of us adopt some of the mentoring spirit of my friend Julio. Julio was a vibrant man with contagious enthusiasm. He had a smile that could cure any sadness. Let this beautiful memory of him mentor, inspire and influence us all.