Sitting among half-packed boxes and the rubble of moving, I find my mind and emotions vacillating. Transitions are hard; they are full of goodbyes and half-closed doors. Just as we leave our mark on each place that we visit, it also leaves a mark on us. And as for James Street, it will forever be the place where we outlived the storm — the place we lived when Jeremy died.
Jeremy was more than just my son’s best friend; he seemed to hold Cody’s connection to this world in his 17 year-old hands. His love for the outdoors, fishing, camping, canoeing, music, cars, motorcycles, and anything mechanical kept the two moving from one adventure to the next. You never saw one without the other. And if you ever doubted they could do anything, such as travel miles upstream with three boys in a one man kayak, Jeremy would be the first to remind you that he had “mad skillz.”
Need something done? This ingenuitive genius would always find a way. I came home one night to a parking lot of teens, each with their own car. The boys knew the lot should be cleared, particularly my own space. Jeremy immediately saw my unhappiness and promptly made an announcement, “Alright guys, race car parking only! Get your cars out of here.” Within minutes, the parking lot was clear, and I was able to pull my “race car” into its spot. No grumbles or complaints, Jeremy was a master at diffusing situations, and somehow in the process you would manage to forget that he was likely the person that caused the situation in the first place.
Jeremy left the world on July 10, 2012 doing what he loved most — riding his motorcycle. And for almost four years of my life here on James Street, it seemed that he had taken my son with him. These four years were marked by sleepless nights, crying, shouting, late night phone calls, police sirens, and immeasurable pain. The world without Jeremy was protested and then set aside as if it were not enough in his absence.
Yet here I sit on the other side of that storm, packing boxes. I said goodbye to one boy, but clung ardently to the one who was left behind. The waters have calmed, so it feels fitting that we will be moving on, leaving Jeremy’s memory in our wake.
Goodbye James Street. You left a footprint on my soul, and it has made me stronger.