by David Wainland
Today is July 6, the fourth anniversary of my son’s passing and as always, my wife and I, made a pilgrimage to the cemetery where he lays, a journey of remembrance. In my pocket nestled beneath the prayer book I have my eighteen-cents and a small stone both of which we will leave on the dark granite headstone. The stone that reads,
“IF I HAD THREE WISHES…”
MARCH 1, 1973-JULY 6, 2003
The quote comes from a letter sent to us by the members of a band, The Disco Biscuits, a popular group that our son followed. At the bottom of the page, they wrote, “If I had three wishes, I wish I could see you again.”
I do not know how many events, concerts, and jams he attended, but they must have been in the dozens. After he died, the band members put together a special concert in his honor. That night fans of the Biscuits, Jeremy’s friends, his family and our friends flew and drove in from all parts of the country. The profits from that event went to a fund we established for Skylar, his daughter.
It was a two-night concert and during the second, they invited our family onto the stage. I stood their holding Skylar on my shoulders and watched the fans pass the hat. Kids living on borrowed dollars stuck their hands in their pockets and found something to give. Some loved him, many knew him, others had heard of him and still others simply wanted to be a part of the memorial.
We never knew the depth and breath of his relationships until that night. He kept that side of him private. We only knew him as our son. They, his fellow followers, knew the other side and they told us stories that night that painted a new picture.
He only wore a pair of white sox one time and then he threw them away. Wherever he went, he would bring a gift, however small. Jeremy was not shy, he talked until you begged him to stop, but he always had something to say that mattered. Over the years that he followed the band he slept on floors, shared beds and crawled into sleeping bags under the stars. Whatever he had, he shared. He had no respect for small change and wherever he sat, that is where his coins collected. Jeremy left a trail of quarters, nickels, dimes and pennies like Hansel and Gretel left breadcrumbs. The clink of copper and silver marked his presence as he passed through this world.
We learned of many things that night, things we wish he had shared with us before he left. Those stories and anecdotes make up the man he was and the boy his friends remember. They have a web page in his memory, www.jeremyland.net and four years later, they are still posting tales and memories. Some of these have taken on a life of their own, growing larger with each passing day.
Because of this, visiting his grave gets a little easier every year.
Today, as we stood in front of the stone and looked down I saw a scattering of tarnished copper pennies, remains of the many times over the years I have placed eighteen-cents on his grave. We put a new dime, nickel, three shiny pennies and a small stone on his marker to let the world know we were there. He left behind a bright collage of memories to let the world know where he had been.
It's hard to believe that tomorrow, July 6, marks 4 years without Jeremy.
I'd like to say that it's gotten easier but frankly, it has only gotten tougher.. as wonderful things happen, I do not have my friend Jeremy to share them with. As life goes on, he has not, and I miss him more than I think he'd ever realize. I am lucky to know his family and some of his dearest friends, and with that, I'd like to share a little something his mom wrote me a few days ago, which she asked I put on this site... as well as something that his best friend posted.
I love you and miss you,Jeremy. I am always thinking about you and hope that you are happy and smiling wherever you may be. I promise to always do right by you!
from his mom, Jamie - after seeing the Disco Biscuits in Florida a few nights ago:
I felt like I was with them celebrating Jeremy’s life not his loss. I knew Jeremy was with me saying Mom, I can’t believe you are here, in the rain watching my guys play.
However, the crowd rocked as the music went on and on – people danced in the isles and celebrated the sounds that came from each instrument. I can never forget how they DiscoBiscuits touched our lives when they came 3 ½ years ago to do a weekend event that raised enough Money to help with Skylar’s College Fund- This band is one in a million.
and from his best friend, David Serle (posted on his own website on the occasion of Jeremy's bday this year)
Jeremy I will never forget you
A Letter to Jeremy Wainland 03/01/1973-07/06/2003 I will Never Forget You!!
There is not a minute that goes by that I dont think about you. You were my friend, my advisor, my family, and sometimes even my psychologist. You really never know what you miss until it is gone. Gone from your phone calls, Gone from your dinners, Gone from your team, Gone from your family, Gone from your life. I look at myself and I cant help but feel guilty. I feel like every time something good happens in my life it is at the expense of you, Jeremy. I always needed that nod from your face as approval. I yearn for that and ever since you have been gone it has not been the same. I miss you Jer. Time is supposed to heal all wounds or make me feel better over time. It has not. It has gotten worse. To think we have had many close calls including the time we went with Brad Burgess in that mustang when we were 15. It burnt to the ground and we made it out ok. I really never expected this as none of us did, but I cannot help but feel as if you are looking over me as so much good fortune has come to me after you passed. I know you had a hand in all of it. One day Jeremy, One day Jeremy. Happy Birthday Jer. Happy Birthday.