Memories from Bridgette's Teammate Haley Yolken

Whether it was tumbling in the Half Moon Bay Pumpkin Festival Parade together, spending almost every afternoon together in the gym, or just hanging out at birthday parties, movie days, and Great America trips, Bridgette always made the experience more fun.  Bridgette always loved to be in the spotlight.  She was in school plays, parades, fairs, and gymnastics competitions almost year round, and she never got tired of it.  Her smile could light up a whole room, bring light from dark and understanding from chaos.  Bridgette was so talented.  Pure grace, power, and determination showed up as she came through the doors of the gym every day.  I always loved to hear about all the fun that Bridgette had, I always remember her talking to Fion and Jasmine about school, classmates, teachers, or just complaining about how much homework there was to do.  I know Bridgette was a dedicated member of the 4H club, and you could tell she had been to 4H camp every summer when she came back to gymnastics singing those camp songs that get stuck in your head forever. 

One weekend Bridgette and Tannith came to the Coastside to tumble in the Half Moon Bay Pumpkin Festival Parade that attracts several thousand people each year. We had a blast showing off our skills in downtown Half Moon Bay.  We saw a lot of people that we knew, including Bridgette's Aunt, a girl who used to do gymnastics with us, and many of my friends.  We spent the whole day exploring the festival before heading back to my house where we stayed up late eating pasta in my room and talking to friends.  Bridgette made everything seem so much more fun.  Even the sometimes long and dreary hours that we spent working hard in the gym seemed a little less painful when Bridgette was there by your side.

Laughing about movies was another favorite topic with Bridgette. Her favorite movie was Finding Nemo, and we could laugh for hours on end about that movie, and many others.  Bridgette acquired the nickname of "Froggerz" because of her interesting back flips and flyaways she used to do during gymnastics. Her other nickname was "smiliez" because, of course, her smile was so big.  Her smile never left her face without an expression that made you love it.  Her smile captivated you, and she was one of the few people I know who was always smiling in every picture, with that magazine cover look about it.

Although Bridgette and I were not the closest of friends, our friendship was growing a lot, and we had a lot in common.  Bridgette was a very special person to me, and we truly understood each other.  I had asked Bridgette if she wanted to come up to Tahoe with me Thanksgiving weekend.  I needed some company, and I was going to teach her how to be an expert snowboarder.  Thanksgiving day, Bridgette added a section to her profile on Instant Messenger.  The section was where she was going to post her special of the week each week.  I was honored with being her very first special of the week.  She said that out of all the people she knew, I understood her the best, and she really did love me for that.  Bridgette and I had that very special bond, I could tell that we would have become very close friends.

Bridgette's 2 sisters drove her over to my house after we were all finished with dinner with our own families.  We left that night and drove up to Tahoe to my cabin.  Neither of us had been very hungry for Thanksgiving dinner, so before getting into bed, we snacked on Oreos and milk.  The next morning we took forever to get dressed to go skiing.  Bridgette ended up wearing most of my clothes, and we were both lookin' great as we left my cabin for the ski slopes.  I made Bridgette wear my sister's ski helmet.  I never went skiing without one, so why should I let any of my friends?  We had the whole weekend planned out, filled with movies, games, skiing, snowboarding, and just having fun.  Although we didn't get to have this weekend, because it had just begun when things turned wrong, I will always clearly remember everything about that day.  We were having so much fun laughing at some little kid who had fallen as we watched him from the ski lift.  Bridgette was surprisingly good at skiing, and she was having so much fun.

In one instant my life had changed. Bridgette's life had changed.  Everyone that knew Bridgette had their lives changed forever.  That weekend lasted forever and a day for me.  Never had I gone through what I did that week, and continue to go through to this day.  Bridgette was one of the last people I would have wanted to leave, and no one could have expected it to happen.  The accident brought new meaning to my life, taught me lessons that will keep me going, and gave me much more understanding, patience, and I got my first real dose of reality.  Bridgette always treated others like gold, and in turn, everyone that knew her remembers the memories of her, and will cherish them forever.  We will all miss Bridgette so much in our lives, she was a truly great person, and life will not be the same without her here with us.



my angel

bridgette was my angel
she shed light into my life
gave me understanding
taught me how to conquer strife

memories of my friend

as friends are meant to be
will now stay with me forever
forever and ever with me.

we always loved to laughed together

to have fun and joke around

bridgette was an inspiring person

she definitely was stardom-bound

the pain that lingers inside of me
the pain that's so hard to bare
is the pain of a broken heart
form loosing someone for whom i care.

never will i forget
my friend bridgette clement
my shining angel
for whom this poem is meant.

-Haley Yolken


Rosary Speech by Haley Yolken

Bridgette was a talented gymnast, student, and most importantly a great friend.  She had the brightest personality, and was a person who could make you smile even on your worst days.  Bridgette had a love for gymnastics, and had so much natural talent.  My best memories of Bridgette were at the gym, either swinging on the bars, running down the vault runway, tumbling, or just seeing her face light up when she did a good routine.  The last floor routine I saw her do, our coach made her smile, or at least look like she was having fun.  Bridgette didn't just look like she was having fun, she was.  She always did have fun, and her bright smile and recognizable laugh made it that much more fun for the rest of us. 


On Thursday, Bridgette told me that I was very special to her, and I was one of the people that really understood her well.  I had invited her to come spend a weekend in the mountains with me, filled of lots of fun, skiing, snowboarding, movies and laughs.  Although we didnít get to have that weekend, I will always clearly remember the look on her face as she was skiing with me.  She was having so much fun, and thatís what I remember most about her.  She was a fun person to be around, and Iím sure I will never forget her, and we will all miss her very much in our lives.


-Haley Yolken