Remembering Bridgett Oliver

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Bailey Speer | bspeer1@radford.edu

Bearing purple and pink balloons the friends and family of Radford University nursing student Bridgett Oliver gathered Sunday evening to celebrate her life. Bridgett Oliver, 21, was killed tragically in a head-on collision on I -81 Friday night. Bridgett was an honors nursing student, graduating in May, who had accepted a job as a nurse in a labor and delivery unit.

The vigil Sunday evening, although solemn, was full of fond smiles and laughter as friends, family, and professors recounted their memories of Bridgett.

“She just brought people together, it could be something silly like ‘oh let’s go hangout in the lab and I’ll teach you all the muscles on the body.’ She would tutor people like myself, she is the reason I made it through Anatomy and Physiology,” said Hayley Seidenberg.

By all accounts, this was who Bridgett was, a compassionate, driven, and loving young woman who encouraged others every day. Several students shared how even though they failed out of nursing school Bridgett pushed them to continue their education and celebrated with them when they did.

“She is the reason I am going back to nursing school, she encouraged me to do it, and every late night I have and every test I struggle with I will remember her,” said one student.

Bridgett knew she wanted to be a labor and delivery nurse from the very beginning, and according to her classmates she was meant for the role.

“She was the heart of what it meant to be a nurse, it’s who she was. I only hope I can be a nurse like she would have been,” said a friend.

After fellow classmates, friends, and faculty members had shared their memories of Bridgett, all of the nursing students said the Nightingale Tribute in honor of Bridgett.

“Nursing is a calling, a lifestyle, a way of living. Nurses here today honor our colleague Bridgett Oliver. Bridgett is not remembered by her years as a nursing student but by the difference that she has made during those years by stepping into people’s lives, by special moments.”

Also, after this they recited a poem in honor of her memory titled: “She Was There.”

“When a calming, quiet presence was all that was needed, she was there. In the excitement and miracle of birth or in the mystery and loss of life, she was there. When a silent glance could uplift a patient, family member, or friend, she was there. At those times when the unexplainable needed to be explained, she was there. When a situation demanded a swift foot and sharp mind, she was there. When a gentle touch, a firm push, or an encouraging word was needed, she was there. In choosing one from a family’s ‘Thank you’ box of chocolates, she was there. To witness humanity – its beauty, in good times and bad, without judgment, she was there. To embrace the woes of the world, willingly, and offer hope, she was there. And now, that it is time to be at the Greater One’s side, she is there.”

As the night went on family spoke, candles were lit and balloons released as Bridgett’s classmates and friends recognized the impact she had on their lives. Her fellow nursing students vowed to remember her compassion and her ambition as they continued in their careers.