The experience of one mother at Lancaster was so very different to mine.The graduation ceremony opened with Sir Chris Bonnington paying tribute to Ryan Rostron, a student who should have been graduating. Tragically, Ryan was killed in a car accident in May 2013, just after handing in his final dissertation. Ryan was just 22. He was awarded a posthumous degree.
At the end of the award ceremony Ryan’s mother and sister were called to the stage to collect his degree. They received massive applause from the congregation.
I was very moved by their courage. How difficult must it have been for them to take centre stage in the midst of such happiness when they must have been been feeling such great loss mixed with enormous pride in Ryan’s achievements..
Tom didn’t know Ryan, but I found out that Ryan had faced challenges in his young life. He suffered from dyslexia so to have been awarded a degree was no mean feat, and needed to work to help to pay his way through University.
As parents we are prepared to do almost anything for our children but I’m not certain that I could have shown the bravery and courage of Ryan’s mother.
We were sitting just behind the family. I salute them for applauding the success of others whilst going that extra mile for Ryan. Accepting his award with grace, strength and quiet dignity.
I am counting my blessings, tears streaming down my cheeks with sympathy for a woman I don’t know, but with whom I feel an invisible connection.