In my previous post, Happy May Day!, I mentioned how much the month of May is filled with celebrations. Last week we celebrated Mother’s Day and the rest of this month will be devoted to celebrating and honoring all our graduates. Whether you’re gazing with tears in your eyes as you watch a kinder graduate or you’re sighing with relief that your graduate made it through college, it will be an emotional time, especially if loved ones are no longer with us to partake in the festivities.
I will certainly miss the presence of Larry as I watch my oldest graduate high school this weekend. Unfortunately, I know I’m not the only one who will have someone to miss at the upcoming ceremonies. Too many kids will be missing one or both parents, siblings, and grandparents as they march down the aisle.
People who had an instrumental role in creating, raising and loving our graduates will always have a special place in our hearts. Although we miss Larry every day, special life moments are more difficult than a typical day of missing him. I suspect this is true for many, including the graduate.
How do we help our graduate cope with an exciting milestone when a loved one has passed on and is no longer here to share in the success?
If appropriate, honoring a loved one can have a special meaning for your graduate. Giving a memento for the graduate to keep with him or her is a wonderful way to honor a loved one. A handkerchief, tie, piece of jewelry, are just a few of the ideas that can be given to the graduate to wear during the ceremonies. I saved a few of Larry’s items just for this occasion. I know it will mean a lot to my son.
And if you don’t have a physical memento to pass on, a card, letter or picture sharing a beautiful memory with the graduate can be just as meaningful.
Let’s face it, if your graduate has lost a parent, getting to this day was not always easy. It’s tough enough being a kid and teenager these days but experiencing a great loss of a parent can have long lasting devastating effects that make growing up even that much tougher.
So, I for one believe in celebrating every single accomplishment that we get! Losing Larry taught me that life is for the living, and living means being alive and present in the moment. Celebrate these wonderful moments, for they too will pass quickly.
My prayers will be with all the families; moms, dads, grandparents, uncles, aunts and surrogate parents, that you experience joy watching your graduate and know it may have been a difficult road leading to this day, but you made it! You did a great job and you should be celebrated too!
I’ll leave you all with this poem I came across by Niki Ailling. I hope you share this with your graduate.
No matter which road you choose,
No matter how long it may seem,
Let your heart be your guide along the way,
If you want to fulfill your dreams.
No matter the detours, the roadblocks or dark
Continue your knowledge from this day forward,
Blaze a trail for history.
No one will ever be quite like you,
Remember this important truth.
We all have a purpose in this life,
And it begins in our youth.
Who you are now, and who you will become,
Is determined by your soul.
And with your dreams in your heart, to lead the way,
You can conquer any goal.
P.S. Happy 75th Birthday to my mom!