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Graduation Day

I had a text from my bestest minister friend this morning, saying that she was in Manchester, the sun was shining and she was just about to collect her doctoral robes for her graduation.  The text was to thank me for support along the way... you know, the nothing we all just do kind of stuff.  I was chuffed to know that today is her celebration day... and perversely amused to realise that even if I'd submitted my MPhil thesis in time to graduate with her I couldn't have attended, as today was my last oncology appointment - a different kind of graduation.

It was a bit weird sitting in the waiting room knowing this was my last appointment when other people were there for the first time.  Looking around, there was the person with a gaunt face dreading what would be said to her.  Another woman clutched in one hand the fact sheet for her chemo regime and, with her friend, rehearsed the questions she wanted to ask (wise).  Three more, mid-treatment compared side effects (not sure how that made the newbies feel).  Yet another, with a gorgeous headscarf covering her sparse hair, sat quietly reading.  And me, at the end, waiting to 'graduate.'

A quick appointment with a bright young registrar (the never there consultant was never there!) whose comments answered a question I'd never quite formulated right at the start of the whole process, and then answered the two I had for her.  And that was it, out into the sunshine, passing the brave and the anxious, the resigned and the angry, the therapeutic and maybe the palliative. the beginners and the enders on my way.

Felt kind of weird - part of me was happy but part of me was all too aware of friends who will never be able to be graduate from oncology - some with bc, some with other cancers - or from the clinics that manage their many and varied chronic conditions.

My bestest friend and I send each other metaphorical dandelions and thistledown, up and down the country, our sign of God's spirit at work, blowing where she will, dancing and disturbing.  I hope that today some of that thistledown and some of those dandelion seeds landed on people who need hope and encouragement.

Congratulations Revd Dr D, and every blessing on those sitting in outpatient clinics waiting and wondering...


  • Many congratulations on your own graduation, Catriona. A milestone indeed.

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