On 7th anniversary of Tom Bridegroom’s death, Shane Bitney Crone reflects: ‘Each year without him brings new lessons’
Seven years, today. In the past seven years, not a single day has gone by that I have not thought about Tom, and each year without him brings new lessons. The most recent lesson has been understanding my relationship with material things. Unfortunately, many items that belonged to Tom (or reminded me of him) were recently stolen from my storage unit. Having someone rummage through my things—especially Tom’s things—was one of the most violating experiences I have ever had. I was especially heartbroken when I discovered that they took one of Tom’s most prized items: his keyboard. I kept it all this time because that keyboard meant the world to him, and had allowed him to express himself through some of his most painful, and most joyous moments. He spent years writing songs on it—songs about his life and our life together. It has taken me a few months to move past the initial sadness and anger I felt after losing that keyboard (which also coincided with selling the home we had bought together). What has become clear is that while it is perfectly normal to have strong emotional connections to material things—especially those that remind us of loved ones who have passed—the memories connected to these items are far more valuable and precious. This whole experience has been an invaluable reminder to cherish the people in your life and the memories you create with them, and to put less importance on the items you collect. Through this negative experience, I have let go of some feelings that have not been serving me, and I have even managed to find some peace (and forgiveness). It has taught me that I must always be looking forward, and while I can and should remember the past, I mustn’t dwell in it. I wanted to share these thoughts on the anniversary of Tom’s passing because of this recent reminder. Our loved ones live on within our hearts—not inside storage units.