Five years ago today, I was walking across a big ol' stage after an hour or so of hearing other names rattled off, to receive a fancy leatherette folio with a piece of paper that was all "congrats! Your diploma is in the mail!" and to shake the provost's hand and smile for the masses and giddily take my seat, knowing that I DID IT, MOFOS. I GRADUATED FROM COLLEGE. In the prescribed four years, no less. I crossed the finish line, and then landed promptly in prime "now what?!" territory. But that wasn't on my mind, that day. I was happy to have made it, and sadder than anything to leave that world behind.
The cloud over the day, of course, is the same cloud that always rolls in that day. Six years ago tomorrow, I received the worst kind of phone call that you can get... because six years ago today, a car accident took away one of the brightest, loveliest people I have ever had the privilege to have known. After all this time, there is still a sting of loss and a void that can never be healed, but it's slowly starting to heal. It will never be something that I am 100% over, but I can breathe again when the calendar reads "May 5" - so that's something.