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Pepa and airports

I love airports. It's strange, I know, but maybe I don't love airports as much as the people there. I do like to people watch. All sorts of people travel by airplane, and I wonder things like:

  • who are they?

  • where are they going?

  • where are they from?

  • business or pleasure or neither?
This trip to Austin takes me back to July 2008 when my Mom got on a plane from OKC to come to VA for my thyroid cancer surgery and recovery. Did others look at her and wonder where she was going?

Thnking about airports today also makes me think of a trip I took three years ago, August 2005, right before Hurricane Katrina hit. I got a call from Mom on my way home from work. My Pepa was supposed to have a simple pacemaker procedure that morning. It didn't go well, and Pepa was in a grave situation. At 6 AM the next morning, I was on a plane at Reagan National Airport headed (via Dallas) to Abliene, Texas. I knew I had to go, and I had a feeling it would be the last time I saw my Pepa.

I arrived at 11:30 AM on Thursday. For the next three days, I read him the sports page of the newspaper, talked to him (he didn't respond as he was in a coma), watched football with him, and talked with relatives about him. That Saturday evening, Mema made the decision, with our support, to turn off the ventilator that was keeping him alive. He would have hated that we let him linger any longer than we did.

He died about an hour later. I stayed until his official time of death was called, I told Mema I would, and held his hand. The funeral was the following Monday. It was one of the most difficult yet amazing moments of my life.

When people saw me in the airport this trip, who did they see? A business traveler on her way to a conference? Or a granddaughter excited to visit her Mema after the conference? It doesn't matter who others see as along as I know who I am. However, I hope they see a person who is grateful to be here, glad to have a second chance at life and is happy to get to see her Mema!


  1. This is swell and extraordinarily touching and well written. Thank you, sweetheart.


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