The following text was read at Bridget Crone’s memorial event on the Tuesday 21 February 2023, Hollybush Gardens, London.
Goodbye Bridget. This is not a farewell forever.
This is a friendly parting. For we know full well
That we will not “see,” but “be” again together.
Not soon, not later, not over here or over there.
In a place and time that suits us both well
In a nowhere that will be our place of shelter.
In this shelter open to all here and everywhere
We’ll reminisce of past times when and where
We barely knew each other, but felt a kindred
Spirit, an instant friendship that needed no pledge
Since it allowed for both silence and laughter.
Yes, laughter, innumerable times, without fail!
We felt it “in our waters” as Kath says to Kim.
Amidst the giggles, the memories will return unrushed,
Abundance of recalls, faint traces of lives long shared
Impossible to remember, except their intensity.
We’ll recall your graduation with Belinda and Adelaide
That Cargo night where we celebrated light-hearted
Your second degree, one that cemented your interests
That you so diligently probed, queried, and explored.
We’ll recall your doctorate, ardent and patient work
That set the stage for all your other endeavours.
Your examination worries, but also your resolve
To do “your own thing,” confident of the outcome.
We’ll reminisce smaller passing moments too,
Marking each time, two lives curiously intertwined
Across jobs: You, working at the Showroom with unease
While I tried as Chair to steer ship towards calmer waters.
You, applying for a lectureship you were overqualified,
You, sharing the teaching and marking workload
Of a prehistoric Curatorial Knowledge BA course,
You, taking over, for a term, my old Museum Course
Patiently relearning dusty texts and forgotten pictures.
You, always present, always reliable, generous
In your marking and stalwart in your guidance.
You, stealthily texting me during departmental boards
Urging me with a knowing wink, not to doze off.
But also, lives intwined beyond degrees and jobs:
That pub chat where you first told me all about Sam
Where you expressed worry but also excitement
About this other heart who took your breath away.
The certainty and magnificence of a love undeterred
Stronger than anything I have ever seen, a love
So intwined, complicit, and saliently complete.
A love all too clearly on display when you joined me for
Holidays in Provence. The ease, the glee, the joy
Splashing in every snapshot, in every sunny recall.
Your laughter always present, dazzling with a zest for life
That nothing could diminish, not even the quagmire
Of a college deaf to the preciousness of your life.
Yes, we’ll remember that quiet wedding of yours
With that flowing blue dress and those shoes so high
Giving a unique spring to your step and jive.
We all signed the registry, you gaily worrying
About your concealer and Sam about the register.
But at all times, again, that cheerful ebulience
Bright dash of colour that nothing could wither
Not even when things were unbearably rough
When the winds were no longer favourable
When life handed you the toughest of challenges.
Sturdily, valiantly, and bravely, you faced it
Undiminished by the radiance of your presence
Always full of warmth, hope, and high in colour.
If eternity roars here and everywhere
You are one of the voices in its clamour
Not the sound of an angel, but that of joy unabated,
A joy more attuned to the universe than any other.
If eternity glimmers over all that trembles
You are one of the glints shining forever.
Not the light of a star, but of a luminescent smile
That nothing can extinguish here, there,
Everywhere, where I know you will be.
And I will be there. Goodbye Bridget.
JP – 28 January 2023
3 January 1973 – 28 January 2023