Jason Holland, 47: Maroon 5's 'Memories'

Feb 27, 2021
Originally published on February 27, 2021 4:22 pm

More than 500,000 people have died in the U.S. from COVID-19 since the pandemic hit this country and the world just over a year ago. NPR is remembering some of those who lost their lives by listening to the music they loved and hearing their stories. We're calling our tribute Songs Of Remembrance.


We never really talked about his favorite song, but I lost my best friend in July 2020 to post-COVID sepsis. He developed sepsis after contracting and recovering from COVID-19; it ravaged his immune system and while he recovered, he went into sepsis shock and didn't make it. The song that I heard shortly after his passing, Maroon 5's Memories" helped me through it.

The song helped me deal with his loss. We lived in different states, him Ohio and me Virginia, so we communicated mostly through Facebook. The song takes on extra meaning for me when I use Facebook's memories feature and see old comments on my posts that remind me of our friendship. Those days, a sadness still comes over me thinking about it. I miss him dearly. We had a friendship that was full of jokes and laughter and it may be some time before I find a friend that is as quick witted and funny as hell as he was. —Jamie Bowers, friend

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MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

NPR is remembering some of the 500,000 Americans who have lost their lives to COVID-19 by learning about them through the music they loved. We're calling these tributes Songs of Remembrance. And our first comes from Jamie Bowers, remembering his friend Jason Holland.

JAMIE BOWERS: The song that reminds me of my friend Jason Holland is "Memories" by Maroon 5.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "MEMORIES")

MAROON 5: (Singing) Here's to the ones that we got. Cheers to the wish you were here, but you're not 'cause (ph) the drinks bring back all the memories of everything we've been through.

BOWERS: Jason and I are both fans of the Cincinnati Bengals, and we met on a - originally had met on a message board about 17 years ago. And then that just kind of became a friendship that started online. Then every year, when I'd go out to visit my family, I'd make sure to visit Jason.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "MEMORIES")

MAROON 5: (Singing) When I did not know no pain, when I believed in forever, everything would stay the same.

BOWERS: So Jason and I had a very - kind of a unique relationship. We're not alike on many levels, except for we have a very sophomoric sense of humor, and we like to make fun of each other all the time in order to try to make the other person laugh. He kind of looks like the '80s rapper Tone Loc, but he looks like him as he's older now. So I would give him crap about looking like Tone Loc when I first met him in person.

That was kind of our relationship. Even though we were different on many different levels, that was the one thing that kind of connected us, is that we were both kind of just pranksters and goofballs.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "MEMORIES")

MAROON 5: (Singing) Memories bring back, memories bring back you.

BOWERS: He passed back in July, and for the most part, I've gotten - I've gone through the stages of grief. And while I have a lot of good - a lot of other friends and a lot of acquaintances, there's just kind of a vacuum and a hole in my sense of humor.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "MEMORIES")

MAROON 5: (Singing) Yeah, everybody hurts sometimes, everybody hurts someday. Everything will be all right. Go raise a glass and say, ay (ph).

BOWERS: Because we live in different states, Jason and I kept up with each other mostly through Facebook. I usually daily kind of check my memories, and I see posts that Jason and I made that, you know, were memories. And so that song kind of ties it all together. Where he's talking about, you know, the drinks bring back the memories of your friend, for me, Facebook and seeing the memories is quite literal.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "MEMORIES")

MAROON 5: (Singing) Memories bring back, memories bring back you. (Vocalizing).

MARTIN: That was Jamie Bowers remembering his friend Jason Holland. You can hear more of NPR's Songs of Remembrance at npr.org.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "MEMORIES")

MAROON 5: (Singing) Memories bring back, memories bring back you. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.