Yet in the last few weeks, that's all changed. In hearing how much people have loved you--as a friend, as a son, as a student--I have begun to love you too. That's the beauty of your life; you have changed those around you, and thus, everyone who has heard their stories. When I think of our mutual friends that I met only recently, I wonder how different they would have been if they hadn't known you. Life reminds us that every interaction, every experience, shapes us. And so, I wonder with curiosity and amazement, how much of my life was indirectly influenced by your presence in the lives of my closest friends.
Even now, you continue to make an impact. You have reminded us all that each life is so valuable, so precious. And you have reminded me that the effort put into maintaining friendships, particularly at a university that can be quite isolating, is never a waste. Thank you for teaching me through those lives you have changed. And thank you, to Austin's family, for providing us this space and thereby giving us the privilege of hearing these stories.