From shore to shore and in all the places in between, seniors are donning cap and gown and walking across some sort of a stage to the sound of cheering family and friends. Graduation is akin to a victory dance this year. Whether in person, or virtual, or some hybrid, learning is still the golden right it’s always been, and I am always grateful to be part of this vast public initiative to provide every student a pathway to their dream.
Catholic girl speaks to the dead. Not all that unusual actually considering my youth when I spent hours kneeling under a man nailed to a cross. A man who, we were told, died for us. I found the guilt about his death unbearable. Inventing sins as I waited my turn for the confessional was far easier than accepting blame over a brutal crucifixion. When I hit sixth grade, the whole class was escorted two blocks to the neighborhood funeral home where I witnessed the boy, who I was crushing on hard, all puffy and red-faced, his dead dad laid out in satin and mahogany. It was then that I turned my attention away from the harsh cross. I stared into this father’s placid face and gently folded hands and thought, maybe this guy would listen to my pleas, even those about his son falling for me. Connection seemed possible with a real man. No guilt. I talked to this dead guy for years longer than I remembered his son’s name with no care if he ever heard me.
When I was a teenager I overheard my Grandmother saying very straight-faced, after being complemented on her 50th Wedding Anniversary, “Well they weren’t all good years.” I was slightly shocked to hear her admit that, especially in the midst of her celebration, but most everyone around who was married for any length of time nodded in agreement. In the ensuing years, I have come to realized that life often brings harsh challenges, sometimes a whole avalanche of them, and these can alter even the best of relationships. My spouse & I have weathered many such hardships, most certainly there have been periods when we weren’t sure we would survive. When COVID sheltered us this worry intensified because all I heard about via every social media outlet was the spiking divorce rate due to the lockdown. I started to obsess it would happen to us, but eventually I had to stop reading the negative news, focus on my present day, let go of the fear and the hype, and believe in what we have built together over the decades.