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Marina Keegan: An unforgettable voice, gone too soon

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Reel Mama: Marina Keegan: An unforgettable voice, gone too soon

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Marina Keegan: An unforgettable voice, gone too soon

Marina Keegan died tragically on Saturday
Photo via Facebook/Yale Daily News

On May 26, 2012, Marina Keegan died in a car crash, just days after having graduated from Yale.  She was about to start her first job as an assistant for the New Yorker, and she had completed a musical with friends that is about to be performed in New York.  

In the aftermath, a moving piece she wrote about commencement called "The Opposite of Loneliness" for the Yale Daily News has received widespread attention across the Internet, providing further insights into the magnitude of the tragedy as we come to understand the talented writer and genuine human being Marina was.  Marina was already remarkably accomplished, and the essay provides a glimpse into the countless accomplishments Marina might have had in the future, if only.
Having shared similar interests and pursuits as Marina when I was a student at Yale, I saw a little something of my younger self in her.  Like Marina, I wrote for the Yale Daily News on occasion.  Like Marina, I chose the path of Liberal Arts, avoiding finance and law school in favor of “nobler” pursuits, and yet like her I also experienced that feeling of treading water, the uncertainty of a career path after taking all those humanities courses.  
Like Marina, I had wandered into the towering neo-gothic Yale campus building known among students as “SSS” at night, indeed found my way to the rooftop after dark, and stared down into the shadows, wondering what the future held for me.  Like Marina, I fell in love at Yale.
Yet since graduation I’ve gotten to do so many things that Marina, tragically, will never get to do.  In my twenties: backpacking in Europe.  Saying yes to a marriage proposal from my college sweetheart and walking down the aisle.  Attending grad school.  Seeing my artistic dreams realized by making films.  Becoming a teacher.  Moving cross country twice.  

In my thirties, professional triumphs and setbacks.  Some disappointments, even heartbreak. Another cross country move. Loss of loved ones.  But also the boundless joy of becoming a mother and discovering my reason for living.  Loving unconditionally like never before.  Enjoying deepening friendships, many first formed at Yale, made richer with the passing years.  Understanding who I really am, and who I need to be.
I’m still married to my college sweetheart, and whatever the next decade holds for us, I will never take it for granted.  I so wish that Marina could have experienced all those inevitable ups and downs that I’ve been privileged to live through.  

Marina will never get to go to a reunion to reconnect with the network of friends she mentions in her essay. The world is deprived of her future accomplishments, but most of all, her voice, which was so clever, immediate, articulate, and down to earth.  I would have wanted to be invited to those parties she planned to give in her thirties.  I would have wanted a front row seat at her plays and to read her articles in the paper on Sunday morning.  
Now we can only celebrate her life, which was cut short far too soon.  We can be grateful for the present, and live in the moment.  With the collective love being poured out by her loved ones, friends, even complete strangers, wherever she is, it has to be the opposite of loneliness.  Marina will be remembered as a true original.  

My heartfelt condolences to Marina's family.

My college sweetheart, Horacio, now my husband, and I at our graduation from Yale,
celebrating some of the best years behind us, and those yet to come

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