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Hannah’s Graduation

From The Little Way of Ruthie Leming [1]:

In those final days of summer, Ruthie’s feet hurt intensely. One early September afternoon, Mam sat with Ruthie on the couch at Ruthie’s place, massaging her daughter’s feet. Suddenly, for no apparent reason, they both burst into tears. Not a word passed between them. Several minutes later, mother and daughter gathered themselves, wiped their eyes, and resumed their conversation.

“Ruthie,” Mam said resolutely, “This does not mean your mama is giving up hope.”

“Me neither, Mama. We just needed to cry.”

That August, Hannah moved into the dorm at LSU to start her first year of college. Ruthie was thrilled that Hannah had settled on LSU, because it was so close to home. She wanted to be part of Hannah’s big moving day. “I hope Hannah’s not on the third floor,” Ruthie told Mam that morning, “But if she is, Mike says he’ll carry me up the stairs, and I’ll help her get the room set up.”

As it turned out, Hannah’s room was on the ground floor. But Ruthie was still so exhausted after walking from the parking lot that she could only sit quietly while Hannah and her father carried her things in.

By then, Ruthie could no longer hide how much she was hurting.

Hannah’s mother died two weeks into her first semester in college. Hannah stayed in school, but took on a job to help pay her way. For most of her college career, she has worked full time, and taken a full course load at LSU. She maintained her scholarship with a high GPA, and this morning, graduated one semester early.

She is going to spend the next six months at home helping her father and her sisters, and then leave the nest for good. We are very proud of her.

UPDATE: Hannah posted on her Facebook page this very short clip of Ruthie that I took at Hannah’s high school graduation in 2011. At this point, Ruthie had about 14 weeks left to live:

27 Comments (Open | Close)

27 Comments To "Hannah’s Graduation"

#1 Comment By MikeCA On December 19, 2014 @ 12:20 pm

Congratulations to Hannah,she’s quite the young lady. I’m sure her mother was and is very proud of her.

#2 Comment By Shelley On December 19, 2014 @ 12:23 pm

Oh my gosh she looks like Ruthie!

#3 Comment By Caroline Nina in DC On December 19, 2014 @ 1:14 pm

Rod, that’s such wonderful news. Tell her that all of us in the online commenter family are proud of her. She has a thing to teach my children with her hard work in school and working a job. Well done.

#4 Comment By thomas tucker On December 19, 2014 @ 1:28 pm

Very impressive accomplishments. I don’t blame y’all for being proud.

#5 Comment By AnotherBeliever On December 19, 2014 @ 1:41 pm

Congratulations, Hannah!

#6 Comment By RB On December 19, 2014 @ 1:50 pm

Hannah, I’m so happy for you! Your beauty looks so much like your mother’s.

#7 Comment By Rob in TX On December 19, 2014 @ 2:08 pm

What did she study at LSU? What are her career plans?

Best of luck to her in all her endeavors.

[NFR: She earned a BA in Mass Communications. She and I graduated from the same Journalism School (It was a Journalism School when I was there, but now it’s been rebranded). Not sure what she’s going to do career-wise, but I think it will have something to do with travel and hospitality. She’s been working in a high-end restaurant in Baton Rouge for most of her college career, and enjoys the restaurant business. — RD]

#8 Comment By Turmarion On December 19, 2014 @ 2:09 pm


#9 Comment By M_Young On December 19, 2014 @ 2:15 pm

Very impressive young lady!

#10 Comment By MC On December 19, 2014 @ 2:23 pm

You geaux, girl.

#11 Comment By Michelle On December 19, 2014 @ 2:32 pm

Congratulations to Hannah! What an awesome achievement. May she do well in her chosen path. She already knows how to work hard to achieve her goals, which puts her far ahead of many of her entitled peers.

I’m sure Ruthie is beaming with pride.

#12 Comment By Fr. Frank On December 19, 2014 @ 2:46 pm

At every Funeral Mass in the Roman Rite the Offertory antiphon is from the Book of Wisdom: “The souls of the righteous are in the hands of God.” Seeing Hannah’s graduation photo and thinking of her dad, sisters, and your sister Ruthie made me realize that the antiphon is not only about the dead. The Master taught us that our Father “is the God of the living, not of the dead; for all are alive in Him.” I am not a Hallmark Card kind of priest, as you’ve probably noticed. That Ruthie sees and rejoices with all of you is something that I’m sure you hold to be as true as the Laws governing Thermodynamics. What many don’t seem to understand or accept is that there is a multiplicity of means and modes of knowing. From things you have written before I know you are deeply perceptive of our loved ones who are already in the world to come. It is a rare and beautiful, if sometimes frightening, gift. Isn’t it a wonderful consolation to know that Ruthie was there — not only at the ceremony but, more importantly, during Finals week? All things really are being made new. As Sirach has taught us, “Love is stronger than death.” I’m so happy for your niece, brother-in-law, and all your family!

#13 Comment By charles cosimano On December 19, 2014 @ 2:58 pm

Many congratulations.

#14 Comment By Sam M On December 19, 2014 @ 3:20 pm

Congratulations. That’s quite a young lady.

#15 Comment By j. mc…faul On December 19, 2014 @ 3:32 pm


#16 Comment By Pilgrim On December 19, 2014 @ 3:44 pm

Congratulations to her. I hope she has a good life. God bless her and her family.

#17 Comment By MikeCLT On December 19, 2014 @ 3:59 pm

Congratulations to Hannah and the Leming and Dreher families.

#18 Comment By Peterk On December 19, 2014 @ 4:29 pm


#19 Comment By cecelia On December 19, 2014 @ 4:31 pm

she looks so much like Ruthie or so it seems to me – congratulations to the new graduate!

#20 Comment By Surly On December 19, 2014 @ 4:58 pm

Congratulations to Hannah–I am sure she’s going to go out and be very successful.

#21 Comment By naturalmom On December 19, 2014 @ 11:21 pm

So good to hear. Congratulations, Hannah!

#22 Comment By dhoff On December 20, 2014 @ 12:36 am

Congratulations to Hannah! She should be very proud of herself!

#23 Comment By The Sicilian Woman On December 20, 2014 @ 1:05 am

Hannah sounds a bit like her Uncle Rod. Congratulations to her and to the family who raised this motivated, independent young woman.

#24 Comment By MH – Secular Misanthropist On December 20, 2014 @ 6:40 am


#25 Comment By JonF On December 20, 2014 @ 3:28 pm

My belated congratulations to your niece. How long did she take to get through college? Seems like not so long?

[NFR: 3.5 years. Time flies, doesn’t it? — RD]

#26 Comment By JonF On December 21, 2014 @ 8:15 am

Rod, that’s commendable that she got through so quickly while working also. I had a college friend graduate in just three years (he went spring and summer too) but he had well-to-do parents who bankrolled him (as in, “Here’s a credit card. Do what you want, just don’t give Dad a heart attack”). Took me four and a half years, working 30 hours a week and dealing with a parent’s declining health and eventual passing.

#27 Comment By Anne On December 21, 2014 @ 1:24 pm

Congrats to the new Communications grad and her family. One of my daughters went into the tourism business. Lots of travel there, even when it’s locally based. But I’m sure Hannah will excel at and enjoy whatever she does.