The UVA College Republicans and University Democrats held a vigil Thursday, November 21 for Senator Creigh Deeds and his family. Here is my statement:
“On behalf of the Deeds family, I wish to offer their thanks for the outpouring of support, prayers, and concerns during this challenging time. The family wishes to report that Senator Deeds continues to improve day-by-day and intends to resume his role serving his constituents as quickly as he can. The family hopes that citizens will respect their privacy as they grieve the loss of Gus and attempt to recover from the tragedy of Tuesday, November 19.
We join tonight to grieve, to pray, and to rededicate ourselves to helping our families, friends, and neighbors, who experience pain in their lives and who need our support.
We grieve for the family of Gus Deeds – his sisters, Amanda, Susie, and Rebecca; his mother, Pam; and his father, Creigh, and Creigh’s wife, Siobhan. We pray, not only for them, but for Gus, a young man who was like many of you – smart, capable, engaged in life, with so much promise before him. We struggle to comprehend what is impossible to understand. And we search for deeper meaning – for the family and for ourselves.
We pray for the Deeds family, who so dearly loved Gus, and who struggled privately and mightily to help their son and brother in the face of obstacles that ultimately proved insurmountable. We pray that God gives Senator Deeds the strength to recover not just from the physical wounds, but from the pain of this terrible loss.
We hope that the community — local, state, and national — gives the Deeds family the space, respect, and privacy that they need during this difficult time.
This tragedy will be like so many others and become a public issue. I hope we can use it to dedicate ourselves to the task of improving a mental health system that failed this young man at a critical moment and requires careful attention so it will not fail others in the future.There may be a tendency to jump quickly to policy solutions – and those may be necessary. But as we search for ways to improve things, let us remember that this is first and foremost a family tragedy, and let us respect the fact that they need to find their own way – to find their own peace.”