Virtual Graduation Party

May is hard. 

This next week will be the most difficult.

In the course of five days, I'll be dealing with the emotions of Mother's Day and graduation.

Giving thanks to God for blessing me with two beautiful boys.  And grieving the loss of my first born.  Celebrating the milestone of my youngest leaving elementary school.  Heartbroken because my oldest is no longer with us; he cannot walk the line to receive his high diploma.  So many emotions...

Yesterday I was in a store and was overwhelmed with the signs of the season.  Happy cards and gifts of celebration for those two special days. 

But Mother's Day just isn't the same when you've lost a child. 

I'll spend the day holding my baby, who's taller than me, and soaking up every moment I can with him.  But I'll also spend it holding my oldest, now gone from this world, in my heart. 

Talk of graduation is all around me.  I can't escape it.  It's in my office.  It's on the shelves of stores.  It's on Facebook and email, on the radio, and everywhere I seem to be.  I should be part of that celebration.  We should be sending invitations and planning a party for Austin's big day.  And the knowledge that we can't is sometimes more than I can bear.

Yesterday, I wanted to leave the store angry,or at least in tears.  But something whispered...Someone tugged at my heart, much like he used to tug on my sleeve.  He pushed me gently.

I left the store with a smile - and a mission.

Probably due mostly to the emotions of the season, I've waivered on continuining the scholarship fund we formed in my son's memory.  For some reason, I linked the success of the program to the number of applicants we'd received each year.  I don't know why that mattered.

I was reminded of a favorite story....

The Starfish Story


One  day a man was walking along the beach when he noticed a boy picking something  up and gently throwing it into the ocean.

 Approaching  the boy, he asked, What are you doing?

 The  youth replied, Throwing starfish back into the ocean.

The surf  is up and the tide is going out. 

If I don't throw them back,  they'll die.

 Son, the man  said, don't you realize there are miles and miles of beach and hundreds of  starfish? You can't make a difference!

 After listening  politely, the boy bent down,

picked up another starfish, and threw it back  into the surf. 

Then, smiling at the man, he said, "I  made a difference for that one."


Austin's Legacy certainly has made a difference in the lives of four amazing young women.  And he will continue to shine down on us and through us to keep changing lives.

I can't send out invitations to his graduation this week, but I can raise money for this legacy in his memory.  As is the practice when receiving an invitation, money is sent.  A gift to congratulate the graduate.  Instead, I'm asking that gifts be made in Austin's memory to the legacy he left behind.  It's a virtual graduation party for my sweet boy.  He always did love to throw a great party...


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