Regina Friend will don her son's ceremonial cap Thursday morning and take footsteps that were supposed to be his.
The mere idea of those steps gives her chills, but she will take them. Her only child worked 41/2 years to earn a diploma from Temple University, and she will collect it, proud as any other parent in the room.
"He's not here to accept it," the Cockeysville resident said. "So as his mother, and I'm still his mother, I need to get it for him."
Last August, Roswell Friend — Dulaney High graduate, college athlete, selfless friend, soon-to-be Temple alum — went for a run over a Philadelphia bridge and never came back.