On Sunday, Oct. 1, 2017, AU senior Timothy Huarez lost his life—lost his battle with depression.
AU has felt the bitter sting of grief since then.
For the family who will be forever changed, the Andersonian staff is grieving.
For the friends who have experienced great trauma in this loss, the Andersonian staff is grieving.
For this campus, a place so dedicated to holding out a hand and saying “come as you are,” the Andersonian staff is grieving.
Grief, a hazy and harrowing time of life that everyone wishes to never experience. Grief is not instant; oftentimes, it isn’t anywhere close to being as fast as we wish. While the world around us continues to spin, continues to push out news story after news story, and people’s lives move forward, we sit together and wonder, “Why are things continuing?”
After all, can’t you see that we, together, are broken right now? It’s simply too much to take in the changing tides of the world when the very tides of our own lives are causing us to gasp for air.
There was a story this summer of a family caught in a rip tide in Florida. Six people, unsuspecting of the dangers of the evening current, were pulled rapidly away from shore, each one gasping for air. There was no lifeguard on duty and little chance of saving the family. But there were more than 80 people on the beach that night who refused to let the strangers succumb to the current, refused to let them die.
Together, they formed a human chain and, one-by-one, they ushered the family back to shore. Together, these strangers became a community of angels, a cohort of saints, a family of grace and mercy and love. Together, these strangers declared that life wasn’t over yet.
This past week, AU’s campus community has formed a human chain, reaching across borders and diving underwater to pull the grieving ones to shore. “This battle is not over yet,” AU has declared.
We must never let go of this human chain. Together, in mourning, we must hold onto the hand in front of us. We must strive to fight for those who are drowning, caught up in the rip tides of life. We cannot forget Tim and those who have gone before him.
We cannot forget the power of community, of genuine grace and abundant love.
We cannot change time, and we cannot stop the grief. Together, though, we can demand that stigma will not win. We can finally, once and for all, band together and declare that we aren’t done fighting. As a campus community, we can pull mental illness into the light, fight for freedom and unashamedly declare that we are not alone and that we are not less than because we are waging wars within.
AU, thank you for forming a human chain during this time of grief and loss. Do not stop. Do not give up. Keep holding on. We are here for you, just as you have been here for us.
Tim, we love you.