Graduations are culminating ceremonies commemorating the end of an educational period. Milestones such as the end of kindergarten, the close of elementary or middle school, and high school and college graduations are all formal ceremonies signifying a student's completion of a course of study. The teachers, mentors, and friends accumulated in that process often stay behind as the student advances to the next level. We mourn these endings and their consequent losses; people grow attached to those with whom we travel through life. We also celebrate the possibilities present in the plans we've made for a future of which we're unsure.

Allowing ourselves to both grieve and celebrate at once in these times of upheaval grants us the opportunity to recognize the tenuous nature of life, and to practice gratitude for what is. It takes many people working together for the benefit of a student in order for a course of study to be completed. The pride in having accomplished something that takes years to do grants students the confidence to address the next challenge. Those often unseen supporters should take pride, as well, in their willingness to continue to extend themselves on behalf of these earnest individuals trying to improve themselves. It is not an easy task for anyone involved, but nothing worthwhile really is.

Emotional and cathartic, graduations are causes to celebrate all involved. We are again renewed in our hope for the future.