It’s now come and gone. Convocation. It was everything I thought it would be and absolutely nothing I thought it would be. More than anything, it was intensely emotional. I chose to travel into the ceremony by myself that morning on the train. It was a good decision because it gave me a few moments, without worrying about arrangements or other people’s experiences, to just be in the moment. I read notes, texts, and emails from my friends and colleagues who so thoughtfully remembered that it was my big day. I felt surrounded by a host of support while having the quiet to reflect on what a journey it has been. I thought about the people who have come and gone in my life throughout the process. I thought about stubbornness (mine and others’). I realized once again how glad I am that life has curves in its road. I felt immensely ready for that walk across the stage.
But it was the bagpipes that were my undoing. As soon as I heard the first note sound, I became a broken water works. And that continued throughout the whole ceremony – including during my short but momentous walk across the stage. The tears found me again at lunch, then afterward in the quiet of my bedroom as I lay down in exhaustion for an afternoon nap. As Greg and I walked along the lake that evening, a few more tears sneaked out. And still they found me again this morning as I worked in my garden, remembering what sacrifices it took and how rich the reward is now.
Yesterday I joined a tradition nearly two centuries old. It was moving and inspiring (the ceremony….not the speeches!) and fitting. But how thrilled I was to come home to my family at the end and know that the four of us earned this degree together.
McGill Graduation, circa 1930