We did it.
You’d be please to know that, for the first time ever, Peter wasn’t late. I fibbed and told him that the taxi was booked for 7am to give us 30 minutes buffer time in case he was his usual slow self. I think we should have implemented this plan years ago because it worked a dream and he was on time! He bought a bottle of Bucksfizz to toast at breakfast. He was so honoured to be invited and he beamed when I opened my certificate. Distinction.
Dad came to my graduation this time as well. He put on a suit and set off early in the morning to be there. I could tell he was proud of me, and I was thankful he came.
The first time, you saw me in my cap and gown you cried and pulled me in for a hug. You sat in the audience as I walked across the stage with my head held high baring my smile.
This time was different. I felt proud but it in a different way. It was stronger this time and it meant more. And it hurt more. It hurt more because you weren’t there and because of everything our little family has been through along the way.
I didn’t apologise or feel shame as I cried walking up on stage to shake the Chancellor’s hand. I didn’t apologise when I loved you while you were alive, so why would I feel ashamed to cry how much I love and miss you after you have passed, especially on a day like graduation?
Evee was strong for the pair of us, she took brilliant photos when we were smiling proudly just as she did 2 years ago with you. And she wiped my tears when your absence stung too much. She has grown so much this passed year. She is fearless and unapologetic but still she lets me glimpse at how young and vulnerable she still is. I could burst because I am so proud of her. I could burst knowing that you would be too.
You always told me to stay in education as long as I could and that nobody can take my qualifications away from me. You were always there on facetime to hear my rants. You were always there to read my assignments and to listen about lectures.
You were always there to tell me how proud you were and to tell me to never give up. I didn’t. I didn’t give up because you never gave up. You taught me to never give up, and we didn’t, did we?
Many times, after you passed, I thought I would though. Sometimes it felt like I already had, but don’t worry, I’m still here.
I’ve closed the door on university, and things are looking up now. And, for the first time, I feel quite excited by the prospect of my unplanned future.
I will always look back on my MA graduation with pride. It was a really difficult day for Peter, Evee and myself as a little unit of three, a day laced with so many similarities to my last graduation when it was the four of us.
Part of the graduation ceremony was dedicated to students’ families. I couldn’t have gotten there without my family. I clapped for Evee, for Uncle Peter but most of all, I clapped for You.
I miss you and love you more with every passing day. Don’t worry though, with every passing day I am healing a little more.