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A Service of Loss and Lament

Sarah Burke, features editor 

On March 1st, Augsburg Campus Ministry hosted a vigil for the two students we tragically lost the weekend before, Claudia Murray and Kailey Mach. Augsburg community members received an email from Paul Pribbenow on Feb. 27 at 4:45 p.m. informing us that we had lost Murray and Mach to unrelated accidents on Feb. 26. Organizations such as Campus Ministry have responded with events and professors have been urged to be lenient for those needing space to grieve. 

Pastor John Rohde Schwehn opened up the vigil by acknowledging that grief can make our everyday lives quite difficult, especially as a college student juggling assignments, jobs, and internships. He wanted to make sure the audience knew that they were held and loved by the Augsburg community as they grieved the loss of these two beloved people.

“However you are showing up, in or around campus today, please know that it is enough,” said Schwehn. “There is no right or wrong way to grieve. Claudia and Kailey died too soon, and that isn’t fair, and we don’t know what to do or what to say in the face of such sudden and tragic loss.” 

After some music, Pastoral Intern Tori Remer shared how Murray and Mach’s family and friends reflected on them. Murray was a midfielder in soccer with the “world’s best laugh,” according to her friends. She was deeply compassionate and wanted to make everyone feel included. Remer said Mach was a future kindergarten teacher, who worked in education settings outside of school. Mach’s students loved her and were always thrilled to see her come to class. 

Remer stressed the idea that grieving should not be an individual journey and we must lean on each other for support. “Moving forward in life without Kailey and Claudia is scary, it’s extremely difficult, and totally unimaginable,” she said. “It’s scary knowing that our futures are not given, but in this fear we are reminded that we have each other.”

After the reflection by Remer, there was another piano piece and then a litany, followed by a candle lighting in honor of the two students. Audience members were invited up to light a candle in remembrance or as a prayer to Murray and Mach. 

If you are struggling during this time of extreme grief, please reach out to Campus Ministry or the Center for Wellness and Counseling by phone 612-330-1707 or cwc@augsburg.edu. More information will be available about the funeral arrangements via A-mail. 

You are not alone. Please reach out if you are in need.