She wasn’t sitting among us and most of us didn’t even realise. Her name was announced but no one appeared for the handshake. We applauded mindlessly and slowly stopped. John Taylor continued to say that she had died before the completion of her studies in a car accident. Everyone’s heart sank. John resumed by saying that her brother would be receiving her certificate in her place and a young man appeared on stage. The loudest of applauses shook the room. The real kind. The kind that you can feel deep inside and which moves your heart.
No one would stop clapping and no one wanted to. It was important that she heard us where she was and I bet she did.
To you, Jess, in celebration of your life, I want to dedicate my own graduation. I wish you were there with us yesterday. I didn’t know you but I’d love to have met you. You are missed.