Joey De Alba was the love of my life, my best friend, and my soul mate. We knew we were made for each other. He even told me one night after a few months of knowing each other (and a lot of Jack Daniels) that he loved me since the day he met me. Our families introduced us with the hope that we would click, and we definitely did! I took him to my senior prom in 2004 at Dos Pueblos High School, and he spent the entire night beforehand in the airport because his flight was delayed.
We reunited less than a year later, after I had spent my first year at San Diego State University and his time with the U.S. Army was complete. As of May 2005, we were officially dating-and absolutely inseparable. We spent every waking moment together. After less than a year of dating, we were practically living together. I then realized I needed to stay in Santa Barbara so we could be together. But I also knew I needed to go back to SDSU the following semester, so I did. The long distance between us was hard, but we made it work. Every weekend, Joey would ride the train for five hours one way to visit me or I would drive up to Santa Barbara. We saw each other every single weekend, no matter what. But the long distance didn’t last long. I was unhappy without him, so I moved back last summer, and we immediately got an apartment together in downtown Santa Barbara.
Joey and I did not have the typical relationship of other couples who call themselves boyfriend and girlfriend. In our minds, we were married. We were head over heels in love. It was almost unbearable to spend more than eight hours apart when one of us went to work. We never took weekend trips with our friends unless the other came too. We knew we were going to be together forever. We were planning where to have our honeymoon, what our kids’ names would be, and even what kind of dog we would get. (Despite his dislike for dogs, Joey wanted to get me a Yorkie!) Joey could not wait for the day he could call me his wife and my name would be Kira De Alba.
Unfortunately, that day can only live in my dreams. I never actually thought I would be saying this unless it was sixty years from now, but my boyfriend has passed on. He is not physically with me anymore. My worst nightmare has come true. He died doing something he loved almost more than me: riding his Harley-Davidson. Riding that thing was a rush for him. He loved wearing his leather jacket with his Converse high-tops, letting the wind hit him at all angles. He always told me he wanted to die skydiving, another dangerous adventure he loved. He lived every day like it was his last day on earth.
While Joey lived every day to the fullest, he also gave to the fullest. He would give anything to anyone, no questions asked. I think his heart was bigger than he realized. He had so much love for me and for his family and friends. Joey made so many sacrifices, always doing things for other people and helping others, but loving every minute of it.
Joey took pride in everything he did, never doing anything halfway. He was very handy, and used to say, “I am good at everything, but I am not great at anything.” Those who knew Joey would disagree with that, because he was a very good boyfriend to me and a great friend to many. He was very attentive to his friends and family and would find a way to support them any way he could. He put everyone before himself; giving to others put a beautiful smile on his face.
Joey had great aspirations and such a bright future ahead of him. His love of music and movies made us very compatible. One of his proudest achievements was fighting in Iraq for his country. He would have done it again if the chance arose. I was so very blessed to know him-he will live on in my heart forever and I look forward to the day we are reunited in heaven. I love you Joey, and I know you watch from above to protect me always.