When we awoke to an e-mail from Yale College Dean Mary Miller this morning, we did not know what to think. Cameron Dabaghi ’11 — another student, another friend — had died.
Many of us at the News knew him. Through walks up Science Hill, times in class, meals in Gourmet Heaven and memories shared in Berkeley and Trumbull, the colleges he had called home during his time at Yale, we learned about not only his love for tennis and for China, but also his eagerness to say hello or pause for a minute to make small talk with a passing friend, or even those he had just recently met.
So, it is beyond painful to think not only that we will not see him today, but also that we cannot understand why.
We may never know why Cameron made this tragic choice, nor why we have had so many tragedies at Yale this school year. There are no words to describe our horror as we are once again reminded that life is fleeting and that it can disappear far too quickly.
All we can do is remind ourselves how lucky we are to have each other. Each time tragedy has struck here, we have come together as a community at vigils and memorial services, in college courtyards and dorm rooms. These moments, when we are at our weakest, also show us why this community is so special. We see today that this community is about more than tests and papers; it is a genuine community of students and adults who care about each other and for each other.
Right now, we are grieving together. We are sharing stories of the times we spent with Cameron, the meals we shared with him and we are reminding ourselves how sorry we are that we did not know him better. The callous — and, in some cases, disingenuous — reporting by some national news organizations makes it all the harder to grieve.
But grieve we shall. We remind ourselves that the story today is not how Cameron died, but rather that we have lost a friend and the Earth has lost a star.
There will be time in the coming days and weeks to think about how this could have been prevented, how we can do more in the future. For now, all we can do is mourn together. We must remember to continue reaching out to one another after the shock of this incident has started to wear off.
In his speech at last night’s candlelight vigil, Berkeley College Dean Kevin Hicks asked us to call our families. Those of us who could were reminded of the love in the world and were reminded that we are not alone here. Our friends reminded us of that, too, and in the smiles on campus yesterday we saw a bit of Cameron each time.
So let us keep seeing Cameron. Let us see him on the tennis courts and in the dining halls. Let us see him in Chinese class and in our common rooms. Let us see him each day, today and tomorrow and forever, as we remember the lesson of his life and we remember all that he loved.
Before we went to bed, Cameron’s sister, Andrene Dabaghi ’12, showed us what to think. When she spoke at the vigil, candle in hand, she showed the world what strength and courage really mean. She spoke forcefully and calmly; she told the story of her brother and she reminded us of who Cameron was and that we can never forget him.
“He was loved,” she said. “He was never alone.”
And, as she looked out at the Berkeley College courtyard, surely Andrene saw that she and her family are not alone either.