Congressman Sean Casten recently announced his daughter has died suddenly in her sleep. She had just graduated high school. This is so heartbreakingly tragic.
“There are no words to describe the hole in your heart when a child dies. Gwen was a happy, healthy, well adjusted young woman who was looking forward to starting her freshman year at the University of Vermont where she was planning to study Environmental Science. Her two great passions in high school at Downers Grove North were music and activism. She played trumpet in the Jazz Band, the Wind Ensemble and the Pit Orchestra in this spring’s production of Mary Poppins. She was inspired by the student efforts in the wake of the Parkland shooting to create an Empowerment Club in her high school which became one of the largest clubs at DGN, focusing on everything from gun violence prevention to environmental protection to LGBTQ allyship to organizing Black Lives Matter rallies to registering students to vote.
She had the good fortune to have a community of good friends, teachers and family and the good wisdom to realize how much she owed them. If her light seemed a bit brighter than most it was because she was so generous in reflecting back the light and love that so many gave to her. On Sunday night, we had dinner as a family and then she went out with some friends for a few hours. When she got
On Sunday night, we had dinner as a family and then she went out with some friends for a few hours. When she got home, she said goodnight to Kara and I, texted a friend to make sure she got home OK, and didn’t wake up on Monday morning. The only thing we know about her death is that it was peaceful. And the only lesson we can take from that is to savor the moments you have with your loved ones. We want purpose. We want to believe in a brighter tomorrow. But the only thing we can control is our present.
We are grateful to all who have reached out with thoughts, condolences and help. To all asking what they can do, we ask only that you live your lives as Gwen lived hers. Savor the moments. Use every ounce of energy you have to ensure a better, more tolerant, more generous, more loving tomorrow. Not because you know that your tomorrow will come, but because you know that someone else’s will. Lead with Love.” – Sean, Kara, and Audrey Casten