Posted by: Sally Jo Divis [on], 2001-02-25 22:51:23:

I have read through the postings and want to thank all of you for your thoughts and prayers. I too originally put blame on the first reports of alcohol use and the atmosphere of I.V.; it was something I was aware of and afraid of when Chris left home.

It seems now that the problem was more that of a very ill individual. I hope something positive can come of what is inherently a very unfair and negative situation. Nothing can bring back those individuals lost, but there does need to be a way of helping individuals who give indications of severe problems. We hear all the time of people who give no warning. Nothing can be done there, but if there is some warning maybe something can be done.

I have no idea how much pain we will all go through before we heal, though I am confident we all will. To do less would dishonor my son’s memory.

He loved UCSB from the first day we walked onto campus. He never had another doubt as to which campus he wanted to go to. He was as happy as I ever saw him this last year and a half. He quickly made new friends and loved the fun of the parties, although he chose not to drink or do drugs. I hoped that by living in I.V., he would not need a car and that he would be safer for not having to commute each day.

Maybe there are ways to make I.V. safer, but nowhere is truly safe. Terrible things do happen, and there are victims who have truly done nothing, but were in the wrong place at the wrong time. It’s easy to say everyone in I.V. is a spoiled rich kid, but Chris wasn’t and I’m sure most of the rest of you aren’t either. The classes and education you are getting aren’t easy. I know how hard Chris was working and how much he loved it all – even his new job on campus.

Don’t let anyone tell you are all somehow wrong or evil. Any place Chris could learn to love so quickly must be full of great people. I’ll miss him always, but I will always be grateful he was in a place he loved with people who cared for him as much as he cared for them. His last minutes were with good friends and I can only be thankful the end was swift.

My deepest sympathy for all of you who had to witness such horror. I know you did all you could and our family appreciates your caring at the time and now.

This evening I found a poem in some of Chris’s things that he wrote in 7th grade. He loved dragons.

Dragon in Flight

Dragon, dragon
In the sky
How high can
You truly fly
Into the mists
Of the night
Truly beautiful is
Your flight.
You zip through that sea of air
Your eyes lit up like a bright blue flare.
Where do you go when there is no room
For wonderful creatures like you to zoom?
Dragon, dragon you are so nice with
Your temper as cool
As dragon ice.
Without strife?

He’ll always fly in our memories. Thank you all for making his short life as full as it could be.