Rest in peace, Geoff Partridge. May your memory always be a blessing. You are at peace.
This is the post I hoped I would not have to write. It’s a story that is so hard to write. Last night came the news that a fisherman had found a male body in the Schuylkill River. I think if I am honest with myself, I had a sinking suspicion officials would say it was him because of where he was found compared to the proximity of where he disappeared.
When I first learned of Geoff Partridge being missing in December I did not at first realize that I knew his mother, Holly Morrison. She and I share some very dear friends. When you meet people as adults at a certain stage of your life you often do not realize who the kids are because they are grown-up and on their own. Our mutual friends include those wonderful men who tirelessly searched the river by boat for Geoff.
I have been sitting with this news for a few hours at this point. When Holly’s and my mutual friend Karen and I spoke I was speechless on the phone. Then when I got off the phone I cried. Again, I did not know him personally but I cried. For his family, for his friends, for his life light burnt out too soon. And for some reason bits of the Coldplay song Fix You wouldn’t leave my head. I don’t know why that song. I do not even know what kind of music Geoff liked.
One of the last lines of the song… Lights will guide you home. I guess it was time for Geoff to come home for his loved ones to have closure.
Vinny Vella from the Philadelphia Inquirer was the kind reporter who wrote an article in December when Geoff was first missing. We turned to him then because it was hard to get coverage of Geoff going missing when it happened, and he was amenable to telling Geoff’s story. So we turned to him today again as soon as Holly and our friends knew for certain the man found in the river was indeed her son. Here is what he wrote a little while ago:
Geoffrey Partridge, 36, was found dead in the Schuylkill late Thursday, almost exactly four months after his SUV was found, abandoned, on one of the river’s banks.
A fisherman discovered Partridge’s body about 6:30 p.m. in the water along River Road near Hollow Road in Gladwyne…Partridge’s cause of death was ruled to be drowning, and its manner was ruled to be a suicide, according to a spokesperson for the coroner’s office.
Holly Morrison, Partridge’s mother, said in a brief interview Friday that her “heart is broken” and she and her family were struggling to process the news.
We’re not supposed to bury our children. My heart is so heavy for her, Geoff’s fiancée Jill, and their family and friends. Geoff and Jill shared 15 years together. When Holly and I swapped text messages a little while ago she told me she is at such a loss for words and is devastated.
I see that Jill has posted on the Geoff Partridge page on Facebook. I will share her words:
In January of this year, Jill also said:
I totally teared up the first time I read what she wrote in January, and again today. There are people who are brilliant and too brief lights in our lives. Geoff Partridge meant so much to so many.
I am not going to speculate on what happened that fateful evening he disappeared. As it has been reported, Geoff had bipolar depression and Lyme disease. Ok that right there is a toxic and exhausting scenario. And people do not take seriously enough the neurological impacts of Lyme as well as the more obvious symptoms, including pain.
And if you have ever had friends who suffered from any form of depression, it’s a complicated thing to live with. And I think it’s harder on men because in our society the traditional roles of men being stoic and strong and not expressing how they feel as readily as women makes it harder. It’s the whole boys don’t cry.
My friends tell me how lovely a person Geoff Partridge was. He loved and was loved in return. I don’t know what else to write. I am at a loss here as I feel the sadness of this news today quite profoundly. Part of this is just me as a cancer survivor – death hits me differently now. Also as a parent, this hits me hard.
Ar dheas Dé go raibh a anam. (May his soul be on God’s right hand.)