“But Alison (Drumm, his wife) and I looked at each other and we just kind of realized,” he concluded. “`If we don’t pursue this, nobody else can, either.’”
The state of Indiana and university conducted investigations. Notre Dame paid a $42,000 fine to the state for safety violations.
A moment of silence was observed before the next game against Tulsa, when the Irish came out with shamrock decals with Sullivan’s initial on their helmets. The gestures that meant the most to the Sullivans were the private conversations with the Rev. Paul Doyle and university president, the Rev. John Jenkins, whose candid admission in an e-mail sent to the Notre Dame community concluded, “Declan Sullivan was entrusted to our care, and we failed to keep him safe.”
Some people are dismayed to this day that was enough for the Sullivans. Yet they never looked back, determined only how they could go forward. They wondered about whether they could return to South Bend and find even traces of the joy the place held for them once.
“We had questions, `Would the place seem as special as it did before? Would there always be a cloud over it?’” Barry Sullivan recalled.
“Then, the day after funeral, our daughter took the lead. She had classes the next day and told us, `That’s where I want to be.’ And the first few times, there was that sense of sorrow. But the memorial helped, the warmth showed by the people who embraced us helped.”