My brother graduated yesterday. The convocation was really beautiful. The chancellor made a very touching speech about how, as much as we were there to honour the students' efforts, we were also there to honour the dedication of their families in getting them to where they are now. He made a special effort to mention the parents of international students who had flown in simply for that occasion (there was a mother sitting next to me who didn't speak a word of English, but insisted on pointing out all of her son's accomplishments to me).
I was in tears. I was so overwhelmed with pride and joy for my brother, but I was also made so painfully aware of the fact that his and my parents were absent. It did not feel right. My parents were the only ones in their respective families to obtain university degrees, and it was the only expectation they had for our futures. Though I never imagined my brothers' graduations, I have often imagined my own. We are allowed only two guest tickets for convocation at my university, and there was never any question for me who would be watching me in that pivotal moment of my life. The fact that they weren't there at my brother's convocation was so painful to me - what will happen at my own?
I've been told that after the loss of loved ones, you will never return to normalcy, but rather to a "new" normal. That is another term I hate - I prefer the idea of a new equilibrium. I think I am at that point; I've returned to some form of homeostasis, and that's a very good thing. But this new equilibrium is so, so poignant. Joyous occasions are bittersweet - birthdays, Christmases, graduations...how will I keep from crying at my wedding without my Daddy to give me away? I hate that about this "new" life. I hate that, the more wonderful something is meant to be, the more inevitable pain and longing will be wrapped up in it.
I miss being a child. Christmases were nothing but magic.