Graduation and Grief
We are living in incredible times. This season in particular is full of wonder and yet great
tragedy. Massacres in Buffalo, NY and Uvalde, TX are examples of where the horror of
humanity confronts our existence in ways that provoke deep sadness, disbelief, anger, shock
and grief. We mourn and grieve with all who are on the front lines of these utterly terrifying
Against the harsh reality of unimaginable loss, this season is also full of graduations. Social
media feeds and timelines are reminders that chapters of lives are closing to make room for
new pages that are yet unwritten. Graduations from school are only one example of the life
events filling this season with signs of progress and advancement. Promotions, new jobs,
relocations, title changes, new relationships, new ministry opportunities, and new sounds fill the
air with anticipation.
But you may wonder, how is it that celebration can occur so closely to grief? The answer lies in
the very fabric of what it means to be human – to understand that joy is only truly understood
and experienced because we know what sadness is. To recognize that grief is only weighty
because we know what it was to once have held – a person we love dearly, a reality that no
longer exists in our hands and hearts, an experience that as of its ending will never be.
This is the season we are in.
Where sadness and celebration occupy the same space. But in that space, don’t forget to hold
on to you. I do not know what new opportunities you may be experiencing or for which you may
be preparing, but even if for a fleeting moment, let your moments of joy be as sweet and
savored as sweetly as possible. These moments do not last always. None of them do. Neither
do any of us. So, for each moment that comes – embrace its simplicity and the complexity of the
presence of grief nearer than you had hoped or imagined. This too is what it means to live.
By Amelia Thompson
About Our Author:
Amelia Thompson has provided strategy, fundraising, monitoring and evaluation, program
design, and leadership development support to social entrepreneurs, faith-based leaders,
businesses and nonprofit organizations. She completed studies at Vassar College and graduate
studies at St. John’s University and Harvard University. Her consulting practice Two Five
Consulting offers strategic planning, evaluation support and fundraising consultation to business
and nonprofits. She directs a social impact organization, RenewToday, that works to help
individuals and organizations develop cultures of racial and gender equity.