Having gone through this with Josh's three older siblings, I think back to what it was like, and perhaps the feelings and thought bubbles in their minds. Amazement while getting dressed, thinking, "Wow, is it really here?" Bittersweet feelings: sad that one chapter of life is ending but excited (and a little scared) at what new experiences and friendships lie ahead. Jittery nerves while lining up with fellow graduates, waiting for the start of the ceremony. Pride when walking up to receive the hard earned diploma. Sheer joy when it is all over - surrounded by friends and family - hugs, handshakes and high-fives. Pictures, pictures and more pictures - causing twitching faces due to all the smiling. Off to family celebrations, then ANGP (all night grad party), then whatever is planned for the summer.
It is a special day for parents as well. I remember feeling many of the same things: relief and amazement that high school is over, thinking, where did the time go? Pride while watching them receive their diploma; happiness at seeing their joy. Congratulations to other graduates and families marveling at how these kids are all grown up, ready to embark on their futures, hoping that we have given them the tools to succeed. Wanting the whole week to be a special one: hosting family members, graduation parties, attending various events for seniors, volunteering at ANGP. It is their graduation, but it feels like that for us as well.
Admittedly, it has been a sadder than normal week for me as I can't help but think about what we would be doing if Josh were still alive. How different things would be. Another big event that he (and we) are missing out on.
One consolation, and it is a big one, is knowing that Josh has not been forgotten by his friends and the community. I've received a couple of emails which have touched us deeply.
Half-page dedication in LHS yearbook