Struggling to see my monitor with the vibrant light of the sun blinding me as it begins to set over the rooftops. I hit mental roadblocks in adding to this blog when too many topics cross my mind; Life, learnings, friendship, quotes, love, sadness and my journey exploring the Human Element.
A rollercoaster of a Sunday, two friends added rich context to the fragile nature of life, and in response to the warp speed of life my adopted mom said “Yes it does. Never realized it when I was 36”. The “milestones” we pass; birth, graduation, first job, engagement, marriage, children, divorce, retirement, grandkids, death of spouse, and the inevitable departure from this beautiful earth. I gave thought to my feelings of retirement for the loved ones in my life that will enter it many years before me. No doubt a well deserved milestone but a celebration for those people in which will be painful in my heart.
I remember my father as a child. My dad knew every answer, why is the sky blue, when will the light change, why do planes fly, but the toughest question of all, why did mom take her life. Since the young age of 13 I can never forget that overwhelming feeling of loss, the void and accepting that we all are here for such a limited time. My father was strong, he could pick us up, he was loving, he would rock all four of his kids to sleep every night, place our bowls out in the morning, and after mom died, never missed a beat. Dad got married, retired, and it seems he has aged double the time span since that day. The comfort of an airplane seat may outweigh the willingness to take an adventure to new places.
I thought about my adopted mom, Kathy, didn’t know I was adopted did you? Kathy, a Delta flight attendant, adopted me when I was 35 on May 1st (Jet Drag). After arriving from Europe, she caught up with me at the Renaissance Atlanta Airport. While we sat, a club of retired flight attendants gathered in the restaurant. Casual conversation with one of the members had me standing before them to share the journey. Kathy stood behind the group, hands clasped, navy blue dress, smiling, radiating a sense of pride as I shared the accomplishment achieved over the past 23 days. The guests all generously donated and signed the banner, Kathy stood with that smile. Later that evening, she texted me how proud she was of me, and that she while she could not be my mom, she would be happy to be my adopted mom.
On my birthday last year, she made dinner at my house after spending much of the earlier part of the day preparing. She checks in with me if it’s been a day or two. She encourages me to write, listen to others, captures stories and cherishes my ability to connect with people. Conversation over breakfast is always the best, and if my mother was alive today, I think that it would feel like this.
People deserve the rewards of retirement, Kathy celebrated 47 years with Delta on November 26th. Sitting here, choked up, I can’t imagine this incredibly special, beautiful spirited person not in the skies overhead. When I fly with her, I feel like I am home. Though, if anyone in this world deserves a break, it’s her. She gives all she can to her family, friends, peers and customers while asking for little or nothing in return. While she isn’t retiring soon, the day will come, I will look forward to our journeys ahead in the skies and the path of life.
I sat down thinking that I would be writing about a post from August 2013 Trust me, on the Sunscreen; Does History Repeat Itself? 24Aug2013 . Here I sit 584 words in on a completely different thought process, tears, but feeling special to think about how very special I am to have Kathy in my life.
On January 29th, 2015, with a craving for empanadas and beer, I boarded a flight to Buenos Aires from Atlanta. I met a flight attendant aboard named Kathy. On May 1st, she became my adopted mom. Thank you and love you.
Be humble, be grateful, be true to you.
(Featured Photo: Arrival into Buenos Aires, 30-Jan-2015)