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‘Nowhere else but Notre Dame’

| Friday, December 5, 2014

On Dec. 6, 2011, my twin sister Morgan Leigh Judd passed away unexpectedly from a blood clot that formed in the back right part of her brain. Morgan was a freshman at Wake Forest University where she was double majoring in accounting and dance. The day before she passed away, she danced at the Wake Forest basketball game and showed no signs of inconsistent health. Morgan was well known for her grace on the dance floor and much loved for her unwavering kindness and compassion.

Grieving over Morgan’s unfortunate and unexpected passing has been a long and taxing process for me and my family. Being twins, Morgan and I had gone through every life experience together — I had never imagined living in a world without her always by my side. Whenever I had an issue, I knew I could turn to her and she would respond with a comforting smile and understanding embrace. But suddenly, that rock I had always held to was swept out from under me, and I was forced to face a sea of uncertainty without the one person who truly understood me.

This upcoming Saturday — which marks the three-year anniversary of Morgan’s passing — my friend Marie Davidson (’15) is coordinating the third annual 24-hour vigil of Notre Dame students and faculty at the Grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes. More than 70 students and faculty from across campus are signed up to participate. Other than hometown friends, none of these students have ever met Morgan Judd. In years past, several dear friends have stationed themselves for several hours through the night, enduring sub-15 degree temperatures all in the name of a girl they will never get the chance to meet.

Over time, I have come to realize that Morgan’s spirit didn’t simply fade away — anything so visceral couldn’t just disappear. Rather, I like to think that her essence was so strong that it exploded like a supernova, spreading tremendous light and warmth in its wake. Morgan never attended Notre Dame, yet I see her daily. I see her in the smiles of strangers walking on the quad. I hear her in the cheers from the student section on a football Saturday. I feel her through the power of friendship, when a group of 20-year-olds spend all night at a grotto for a girl they never knew.

The athletic culture and strong academics are what initially drew me to Notre Dame, but it is events like this Grotto vigil that made me realize that Notre Dame has become my home. The past three years have demonstrated what a truly unique faith-based community we share, composed of people capable of such overwhelming compassion.

To all those who have supported me this past week and every day for the last three years, I want to express my profound gratitude. You are all a constant reminder of how incredibly blessed I am to attend this University and serve as a poignant reminder that we have an angel here watching out for all of us.

Nowhere else but Notre Dame.

Michael Judd


O’Neill Hall

Dec. 4

The views expressed in this Letter to the Editor are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.

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