Hi everyone, Derek here and I just wanted to let you know about my best friend Johnny Wedge. He was basically my brother and 15 years of friendship, you learn a lot from one another.
We met when I was 12 and I had just moved to Grand Terrace, California. I was already going to school up there and my best friend Nick introduced me to Johnny while we were skateboarding. We instantly connected and we became very close right in that moment. I don’t really know how to explain it but I’m sure a lot of you have stories of your best friend just like this one.
Anyway, it was just the three of us: Johnny, Nick and myself, always. There wasn’t a day where we weren’t playing video games, skateboarding, talking, or just hanging out. We were the Grand Terrace three musketeers and it was that way for years.
When I was 15, my family picked up and moved to Yucaipa, California and Johnny’s parents moved to San Clemente, California (Sheckler town is what we called it; inside joke). All along, Nick stayed in Grand Terrace. However, despite all of the moving and long distance, we never strayed away. Nick and I would jump the train in Riverside and head down to San Clemente to hang out with our brother, because we knew, despite being so young, that we couldn’t stop having fun. We would be down there weeks at a time and they were some of the best memories of my life.
As we got older, I got married, Nick got married and Johnny was there for all of it. He was there for me when my Grandpa died, he was there for my bachelor party, he was there for my then fiancé, but most importantly, he was there. Always. With out a hesitation, he was always there. And that’s the thing I most admire and miss about him. He was always there.
Friends don’t come around that often, and what I mean is, is friends like him NEVER come around often. It’s very rare.
Nick and I lost a brother on June 30, 2020. It’s something that I’ll never recover from and him neither. We’ve cried, we’ve laughed but most importantly, we’ve remembered. We’ve remembered the life that Johnny had and we never judged him. He suffered from addiction and that’s what happened to take his life. I’m not mad, I’m not angry, but I’m just sad. I’m just sad at the fact that Johnny couldn’t help himself because he was too busy helping everyone around him. I’m sad that I couldn’t help him from a deeper level. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t blame myself and I knew what he was going through and I did my best, as a brother, as I could. But there are always under lying issues.
He always supported what I wanted to do. He was the first one to tell me, “Hey man, I think The DisInsider could really take off. You could totally make a career out of it.” I never forgot that. He truly believed in Skyler and I and he watched and read every story that we put up. He was THAT kind of brother.
The last time I interacted with him, I told him I loved him. I’m so glad I got to say that to him and that he knew he was loved. Mental illness and addiction aren’t easy but Johnny was a diamond in the rough. He was the best friend and brother a simple guy like me could have and I will cherish this until my dying day.
I love you brother, I’ll see you on the other side.
Sincerely, you’re best friend Derek.
If you guys would be so kind, please check out https://giving.hoag.org/Wedge.
His family set up a memorial tribute fund in his name to help those who are struggling with addition to get the help they need. It’s called ‘Remember the Rainbow, the Johnny Wedge scholarship fund’ and if you can please check it out and get to know my best friend.
Thank you all for reading.