November 21, 2009 for a friend.
i met jerry for the first time a couple of years ago. my husband had known him for a couple of years and was always talking up this jerry guy, so when we heard he was playing a show in detroit with !!!, naturally we had to go. i expected him to be like most of the “dudes in bands” that i had met before – talented and aware of it, not really caring about anything except drinking free beer and heading out to the next venue. when we got to the magic stick, jerry came running towards us, almost as though he had been locked in a cage and let free for the first time in a year. he hugged me so hard i almost fell over. his smile was ear to ear and he was talking a mile a minute as he ushered us on to the tour bus.
while i was impressed with such a fancy method of transportation, jerry seemed humbled, almost embarrassed by it. i quickly learned that jerry wasn’t some asshole drummer playing with a big shot band. he seemed eager to get off the bus and get to hanging out. the only time he ever left our sides was to play drums. as soon as he was done, he popped out from backstage with an armful of beers and an endless stream of hugs. he apologized every single time he hugged us for how sweaty he was. but i didnt mind. i would take 100 more if i could.
jerry laughed louder, smiled bigger and talked faster than anyone i had ever met. but it wasnt obnoxious, it was mostly endearing. people were drawn to him. fans flocked to him to tell him how amazing he was and he shook every single one of their hands. jerry never stopped for a second, his energy was endless. i completely understood why my husband had such nice things to say about him, jerry was the nicest guy in the room, maybe the nicest guy on the planet.
at the end of the night, we were saying our goodbyes when jerry, aware of my husbands struggle with destructive behavior years ago, grabbed me by the shoulders and said “thank you for saving my friend’s life”. he hugged me the biggest hug of the night and when he pulled away he had tears in his eyes. this is when i realized that jerry wasnt just an acquaintance, he was a forever friend.
mike and jerry would talk frequently and jerry always sent his love to mckenna and i. he loved that we were married, he loved that we had a daughter. he came to detroit this past october (this time with maserati) and he called mike, begging us to come and hang out. i was still in the throes of massive nausea and exhaustion so i decided to stay home, “tell him i promise to come out the next time he is in town”.
when i got the news that jerry died on november 8th, i couldnt stop replaying the idea that there wouldnt be a “next time”. i still dont think my brain has even registered that fact. i think of him every day. he was so psyched we were having another kid. i wish we could tell him its a boy. i wish we could tell him that mckenna requests maserati on repeat so she can “dance to the drums that i like”.
i like to think that maybe he knows. and that somewhere he is laughing louder and smiling bigger than ever before.