Parents: Sharing of Yale grad's essay is a comfort

Associated Press Modified: May 29, 2012 at 9:46 pm •  Published: May 29, 2012
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WAYLAND, Mass. (AP) — "What we have to remember is that we can still do anything," Marina Keegan wrote to fellow Yale University graduates. "... We can't, we must not lose this sense of possibility because in the end, it's all we have."

Three days after the Yale alumna's death in a car crash, her parents, Tracy and Kevin Keegan, said from their Massachusetts home that it was comforting that even strangers were drawing inspiration from their daughter's words as her last newspaper column spread across the Internet.

"I would love my daughter's words, few as they may be, to be shared," Tracy Keegan said. "... That's all that's left of her now, her words."

Yale Daily News Editor Max de La Bruyere said Tuesday that the newspaper put Keegan's print column online as a tribute following her death Saturday on Cape Cod. He said it had gotten 400,000 hits on the newspaper's website after first spreading through Yale students' Facebook and Twitter accounts. The newspaper tracked readers as far away as Asia.

"It's a huge outpouring of sympathy," he said. "People are very moved by it."

The 22-year-old's column talked about anxiety that came with the feeling of losing the web of fellowship at Yale. She said what she wanted out of life was "the opposite of loneliness," and encouraged classmates by saying "the best years of our lives are not behind us."

"It's not quite love and it's not quite community," the English major wrote of her time at Yale. "It's just this feeling that there are people, an abundance of people, who are in this together."

The Keegans said their daughter's boyfriend, 22-year-old Michael Gocksch of Centerport, N.Y., fell asleep at the wheel while driving with her to their family's summer place in Wellfleet on Cape Cod.

The young couple had been to Brookline earlier in the day so their daughter could introduce her boyfriend and fellow 2012 graduate to her grandmother. The couple was heading to a birthday dinner for Keegan's father when she died. Gocksch was hospitalized in stable condition after the crash and later discharged.

Massachusetts State Police are still investigating the cause of the crash, which occurred on Route 6 in the town of Dennis. They said speed wasn't a factor and both were wearing seatbelts. The vehicle drifted off the road and into guardrails on both sides of the road before flipping.

Keegan's parents said she was about to start a job as an assistant to the general counsel at The New Yorker, where she interned last summer and got some of her work onto a magazine blog.