By now everyone knows that our dear friend and colleague Derek Cronin was laid to rest on Tuesday, February 15th, 2022.
We are all still reeling from the impact of his loss and the powerful strength and love of Derek's family throughout the ceremony. Every day I remember a comment, a story, a piece of music shared by his wife Aoibhe, father, family, and friends.
The woman at the Unitarian Church remarked as we were walking in with the members of The Theo Byrne Ensemble: "so many musicians, there will be no room for anyone else".
During the lockdown, I got to know Derek more closely, even though I have met him and worked with him over the years. Between me, myself, TEAMS, and ZOOM I called Derek "my daily bread". He was so proud of my technophobe rehabilitation, and within days I was able to help my colleagues without even knowing how I know what I know.
That is the 'power of the Derek' - he was a masterful code switcher when it came to explaining the most complex scenarios to people like me, or to advanced technology users without condescension. That is what made him a phenomenal teacher, artist, and leader.
We have now coined a new saying: "Be more like Derek" as a response to our grief, and to his Zen-like legacy we wish to preserve. In my case, seeing his smile and hearing his reassuring voice is a mantra to keep me present, and remember to breathe.
I am so thankful that my last words to him on Monday afternoon were of gratitude, and a promise to support all the new projects of collating the data and information he requiered from us.
As he would do at times, he took over my laptop and his image would float on my screen figuring out an issue. We finally managed to download my headshot from Canvas as the last email from him was a laughing emoji because I apologized for not uploading my photo onto Microsoft and asked him: "With or without a mask?"
Bless you Derek.
My love and thoughts are with Aoibhe, Cole, Cora, and family.