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PODCAST: A mother’s eternal grief

Tammy de la Cruz, whose son Joey Gingerella was shot and killed on December 11, 2016, talked with us about her son's life and her enduring grief.

Gingerella, 24, a standout baseball player at Fitch Senior High school in Groton, had struggled with a pill addiction as he tried to launch his adult life.

His parents, Tammy and Joe de la Cruz, supported him as he went through treatment, relapsed and got clean again. Their own family's struggle moved the couple to found Community Speaks Out, a non-profit agency dedicated to helping others cope with the disease and erase the stigma.

Gingerella, known as "Jo Jo Nice" and beloved for his affectionate nature and sense of humor, was doing well when he was shot and killed in the parking lot of a neighborhood bar when he tried to stop a man from beating his girlfriend. His family and friends said he died a hero. His mother was relieved to find out later that toxicology testing conducted during Gingerella's autopsy showed no opioids in his system.

Tammy de la Cruz has shared her grief on Facebook and with The Day, confiding that it's not a "process" that will ever be completed.

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