I have known Jeremy since he was 11 years old. We met in the summer of 1998 when Josh invited me, as his first girlfriend, over to his house. I met his parents and his two younger brothers, Jeremy and Jamie. I remember them being rambunctious and loud, in the way only young boys can be. They had a fun, teasing, joking camaraderie amongst them. Always trying to “get each other’s goat”, but they were a close knit three. I remember playing with Jeremy and Jamie and pretending to hide fake poo in Josh’s shoes over and over again one night. We thought it was hilarious, though the joke got old to Josh pretty quickly.
Jeremy was dependable. When our car broke down on our way to a family vacation in Florida, Jeremy came back to get us in his car, hours out of his way. When Josh’s mom was sick and in the hospital a few weeks after Charlie was born, Jeremy took on the lion’s share of the responsibilities in helping to care for her and keeping things running at home.
Jeremy had a great sense of humor. He loved a good joke (and a bad one). He wanted to make people smile and laugh around him. He was quick to be a goofball or catch you off guard with a silly face or staring contest. He was particularly good at pulling off a deadpan face. He was constantly sending Josh jokes and funny memes, and Josh would share the particularly hilarious ones with me. When Charlie was a few months old, Josh, Jeremy, Jamie, and I had a group text conversation where we took pictures of Charlie and captioned them with what his baby thoughts must be. We were loving every minute of this game! Laughing at our hilarious comments and loving the sweet pictures of Charlie.
Jeremy was a thrill seeker. He was braver than I will ever be. He loved roller coasters and any type of ride that spun, twisted, dropped, rocketed. He swam in the Georgia Aquarium with sharks. He even tried sky diving. Not to say he wasn’t scared, but he faced these fears head on and loved every minute of it.
Jeremy was also a huntsman. On visits to his grandparents’ house in Plains, he would often wake up in the pre-dawn hours to go hunting for turkeys with his grandfather. Jeremy learned from his grandfather and was a great shot. He also loves to fish and shoot targets. He was so proud when his grandfather or dad said he was the best shot of any particular hunting trip, which he usually was. Josh learned woodworking and fly fishing from his grandfather. It is a special bond between the two of them that Josh treasures. I know Jeremy must have treasured his quiet mornings in the woods with his Papa as much as Josh treasures his afternoons in the woodshop.
Jeremy loved being an uncle. He was so nervous the first time he held Charlie in the hospital but did a good job and was so sweet. The smile never left his face that day. He was dedicated to making sure he was a good uncle to Charlie. He told me more than once that Charlie was his favorite person in the world and how much he loved him. Jeremy said that just hearing Charlie say, “Hi, Unka Jer-my!” could make his whole day. Charlie has a special bond with all of his uncles, and I’ve always been so thankful that these three young guys in their twenties have been so dedicated and so sweet to my little guy. He is so lucky.
These are just a few memories out of the 17 years we shared together. I know many more will come back to me as time passes. Today, they are making my heart ache, but I hope one day they will bring me the joy of Jeremy’s smile and laugh.
I just can’t believe this is real. I can’t believe you are gone, Jeremy. You had plans. New goals. New adventures ahead of you. You were just getting started. I just can’t believe it. Every time I see your picture I remember how alive you were just a moment ago, and it just seems impossible that you are gone.
I will love you forever, and Charlie will always know what a loving uncle he had in you.