Shane Bitney Crone visits Tom Bridegroom’s grave in Indiana: “I would give anything to give him one more hug”
Thanks to Shane Bitney Crone for sharing his experience with us. I’m always so deeply moved by him. Here is a LINK to an interview I did with Shane back in 2013 for Gay Star News.
The rain was heavy and the wind was strong as I drove through Indiana yesterday. While on my way to the next stop on my fall college speaking tour, I decided to take a detour and visit Winamac Cemetery, where Tom is buried. ———————————————————- Every time a car drove by me while I stood at his grave, I held my breath, worried that it was someone from Tom's family: the family from whom I've been estranged since his death; the family who threatened me with violence if I dared to show up for Tom's funeral. I got angry at every car driving by, projecting my fear and resentment of some of his family onto the unassuming inhabitants. I felt like I was being robbed of my time with Tom, which made me more upset. ———————————————————- It took a long time for me to accept that Tom's body would forever rest in the ground, in a place from which he had felt completely disconnected during the years before his death. But I've finally come to terms with the fact that where his physical remains lie is of no consequence. I know that my connection with him—his spirt and soul—can't be buried, and the memories we shared travel with me wherever I am, transcending time, space, and six feet of dirt. Sometimes I am overwhelmed by my desire to see him again, even just one more time. I would give anything to give him one more hug, to have one more conversation, to share one more laugh. I know it's impossible, but I'll never stop wishing he was still here, for my sake and the world's. Fortunately I know that in a way, he will always be here, making the world a better place, through everyone he ever met and/or inspired. ———————————————————- Tom's grave serves as a potent reminder that life is fragile and tomorrow is never promised. I hope that by sharing this photo and these thoughts with you, you'll be reminded to tell those who are special to you that you love them. Kiss your loved ones. Hug them. Cherish every moment. You can never show too much love to the people who matter because one day, you may not have the chance.