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    Public and private grief

    I really don’t care whether Jerry Remy goes back to the booth.

    If the Red Sox broadcaster can muster his trademark banter while his son Jared awaits trial for the gruesome murder of his girlfriend Jennifer Martel, then so be it.

    He would not be the first parent of a deeply troubled child to attempt a return to normalcy, though most do it far less publicly. No one should expect him to lose his livelihood for his son’s crimes. His life goes on.


    Jennifer’s, of course, doesn’t. And others are in limbo.

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    In all the discussion over whether Jerry Remy should return, let’s not lose sight of the other family shattered by the brutal events of last August. And especially, let us not forget the child who still languishes in state care while authorities decide which of these two grieving families gets custody.

    Five-year-old Arianna Remy was present when Jared Remy allegedly stabbed her mother to death in their Waltham home. She has been in foster care since. Now, her grandparents on both sides are competing for custody of Arianna — on one side, Jerry and Phoebe Remy; on the other, Patricia and Brian Martel, along with their son and daughter-in-law, Brian Jr. and Andrea, who have two small children.

    As if Arianna hadn’t been through enough, she has waited an unconscionable five months, and counting, to find out who will raise her.

    The Martels will not discuss the criminal case against Jared Remy, or their dealings with the Department of Children and Families.


    “We just want Arianna,” Patricia Martel says through spokeswoman Nancy Sterling. “That’s all we care about. We want to give Arianna what Jennifer would have given her.”

    Another homicide might have faded from the headlines long ago. But Jerry Remy’s celebrity has kept this one in the spotlight, prompting way too many memories of that awful day in August.

    This week, after news broke of Jerry Remy’s return, the Martels spoke publicly for the first time, saying they have no opinion on whether he returns to broadcasting. They are, they said, focused on the custody proceedings.

    A family friend says the elder Martels moved to Massachusetts from Virginia in October, leaving a large house they owned for a much smaller rented apartment. In a long-planned move, Brian Jr. and his family also moved here around the same time.

    At first, the Martels were consumed with Jennifer’s funeral, and attending to her belongings. Now they’re in a wrenching state of suspended animation as they wait to learn Arianna’s fate.


    Money is tight for the elder Martels, said the family friend, the financial stress adding to their crushing grief. They’re trying to sell their house in Virginia — they just had to lower the price to move it faster. Six times they’ve made the 13-hour drive back and forth to deal with their affairs, because it’s cheaper than flying.

    Brian works the 3:30 p.m. to 1:30 a.m. shift in a warehouse, packing palettes for a food supply company. Patricia fills her days cooking, cleaning, visiting her sister, and talking to lawyers.

    She remembers painful things, like the day last February when she went with Jennifer and Arianna to a nearby Kohl’s: During their short outing, Jared called Jennifer’s cellphone about 20 times.

    And she waits.

    Imagine being locked in her life right now. Imagine the blinding pain all of the Martels endure each day, especially Arianna. There is so much grief here, in both families.

    So much, it renders Jerry Remy’s return meaningless.

    Yvonne Abraham is a Globe columnist. She can be reached at Follow her on Twitter @GlobeAbraham