Andrew Markle

Honoring Tom Bridegroom

Filed By Andrew Markle | May 07, 2014 8:30 AM | comments

Filed in: Living
Tags: accidental death, anniversary, Bridegroom, bullying, suicide, Tom Bridegroom, tragedy

tom-bridegroom.jpgIt's been three years since the tragic accidental death of Tom Bridegroom, the partner of Shane Bitney Crone and subject of the popular documentary Bridegroom, Tom's death left behind a trail of tears but also a legacy of love. It also brought a community together by calling attention to a common struggle that many in the LGBT community have faced.

I, too, have my own Tom Bridegroom. It is quite rare that I talk about how much that movie affected me. On October 2, 2003, my first love tragically committed suicide.

It was probably one of the worst struggles I think I have ever experienced. I rarely even mention it, though, because his death still causes me so much pain.

It took me 8 years to read his suicide note. It took me even longer to understand why it happened or to stop blaming myself for it happening. The worst part of it all is remembering that it would have all been preventable if it weren't for the endless bullying he received from peers and church members.

I will never forget the last words that my first love left for me: "Where I am going there will be no more pain for you or I."

As tomorrow approaches, give thanks and love those who love you. Reach out and hold their hand and let them know you're there. Let them feel the love that you have to give and be there for them through everything they experience.

The most important thing that I learned from my struggle was not to forgive what happened but was to forgive myself.

Tom's best friend, Colleen McMahon covered his song, "Breakaway," which was written by Tom after he came out to his family. Take a listen, after the jump.

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