… “There are times when you feel very, very empty,” says [Joseph] Ng, who has carried out research in structural biology in the department for 12 years.
… “The adrenaline is gone,” he says. But the sadness has moved in. “You go into the building and you are really missing these people.”
[Professor Debra] Moriarty feels much the same. “I told somebody a week ago that I felt worse than I have the whole time,” she says. She also sees similar signs in her students. “I have had a number of good students who are not doing well at all now. They come in to me and say, ‘I just can’t get my mind on it’. I send them all to counsellors.”
… Now that the initial shock has worn off, a new species of desolation has set in. The once-collegial third floor of the Shelby Center, where [a graduate student] used to enjoy hanging out, has become a lonely place that she leaves as soon as she can. “Every time you are in the building you are thinking about it,” she says. “On Fridays, when the clock strikes three or four, you are thinking about it.”…
The university news focus is now on the University of Virginia, and Yeardley Love’s killing. Perhaps the aftermath of that crime will be similar there. Weeks after the memorial events and the adrenalin, perhaps the emptiness, loneliness, and desolation of which the UAH faculty and students speak will begin to seep in — a sad, weak, distracted feeling that makes it hard to do your work.