I still can’t believe you won’t be there in the crowd when I walk across the stage at graduation. A very happy day will have a small bit of sadness along with it because you’re missing. At high school graduation, I could constantly see you walking around taking pictures with that goofy smile on your face because you simply couldn’t sit still. People were looking at you rather weirdly as you trespassed into areas you shouldn’t be in, which made me slightly embarrassed despite the fact that most of them didn’t even know you were my dad. I would give anything for you to be able to be there this weekend, and you could walk and take pictures wherever the hell you wanted – I’d proudly tell everyone who you were.
Losing a parent in college is hard. Its something most of your friends haven’t been through (and you’re grateful for that) but it also means most of them have no idea how to even react to the situation. That’s okay. That’s normal. In college we’re all a little lost. The loss of a parent can make your four years that much more challenging… it changes your entire worldview at a time when there is already so much happening. It also gives you a strength and an independence that most people your age don’t have. The best thing to do is just keep moving, take your time, and breathe. And know that somewhere they are watching you and they are still just as proud – probably even prouder because now you’re succeeding without them directly by your side.
Dad, your pride was your defining attribute and the amount you had for your children was insurmountable. I know you’d be so proud of me graduating especially after the trials of the past year. You’d be so proud of your son too and the support system he’s been to your little girl. We’ve both grown a lot in the past year. Even though losing you has been so hard, I’m stronger because of it. I so wish I could see that goofy smile this weekend after I get my diploma. Luckily I get to see it every day, since I have a matching one.