Congratulations. This is hardly a way to start a post on a site focused on my grieving for my son, but with this one it is appropriate.
A couple of months after Andrew passed, Dorothy and I received a non-descript padded 11”x14” envelope in the mail from the University of Colorado at Boulder, Andrew’s school. We opened it and to our surprise it was Andrew’s college diploma from CU Boulder. The school graduated Andrew and sent us his diploma. We cried all night, but tears of happiness for a change. Andrew worked very hard consistently for three years for this diploma. He studied in the library at night, he studied over the weekends, he wrote papers, and took a lot of tests. This is the first thing in Andrew’s life that he really, really worked hard for, that he saw value in, and he knew he was working hard for it. And it changed him in the last three years for the better.
Those who knew Andrew knew he had a way of not having to work hard, through no fault of his own. He practiced very hard in hockey and worked hard during the games, but he loved that and enjoyed it, so it was not really hard work for him. High school was rather easy for him, and he did not do much studying or homework and did not have to work very hard during the day, and still got A’s and B’s. He learned to snowboard in a matter of a couple of hours, and when he forgot his boots one day, he rented a pair of skis and spent all day skiing like a pro. He picked up on driving very fast, and after only a few months took his road test and scored a perfect score with absolutely no points taken off. Yes, I am sure there were things that challenged him in his short life, but he never really worked as hard as he had to in order to earn his college degree.
We learned that it was his fellow psychology students, teachers and professors that requested that the school graduate him and issue him his diploma. That was so amazingly kind and compassionate of so many people. He was only two core courses away from graduation, and I am sure that this little piece of paper with some words and his name scrolled on it means so much to him.
It brought back memories of when Andrew graduated from high school. He had a huge smile across his face, he felt so accomplished, he was headed to Colorado, he had his whole life ahead of him. He was so happy. He was typical Andrew – he wore his sandals and had his Abercrombie shorts and a t-shirt on under his unzipped gown.
We are going to be happy when all of his friends and his two cousins graduate from college this May. We know that Andrew would be proud of them all. We are just going to be sad that he won’t be walking down the aisle by himself or with them, but he will be looking over them from above.
We have the diploma in the padded folding case that it came in on a table in the living room along with his pictures and other treasures of his life. We look at it every day and we are so proud of him that he got so far.