On Saturday I flew home from Minneapolis to New York City. As I walked from the plane to the baggage claim area I became aware that the corridor was empty, and I wondered, “Jeez, where did everybody go?” The plane had been packed and the airport seemed to be its normal bustling self. It was odd. The hallway narrowed and I found myself alone.
But not really.
Suddenly I was five years old again. No joke. Five years old. I was waiting for my father to return from a trip. My whole family was there. We were excited to be at the airport, there was something thrilling about watching the planes pull in and out of the gates. La Guardia Airport was spiffy then, and my father had told me it was named after the mayor of New York City.
I saw him ~ I was him ~ as I walked. For a few minutes I could remember Jack Roche clearly: young, confident and happy to see us all. He had black hair and wore an overcoat. He held a briefcase. I have no idea where he was coming from, what business he might have had. In those days, flying was a big deal, as a little girl, it was a wondrous mystery.
I haven’t thought about my father in a while, which is shocking to me. He would be a hundred and one years old. When he died, almost twenty years ago, I didn’t know how I would live without him. He was the only one who really loved me, I thought. Death is strange ~ I suppose that’s an understatement ~ life really does go on. But I’ve had these visits from him, once in a while in a dream, sometimes it’s a fleeting moment, and when I do it’s as if he’s very much alive in me and around me.
My dear father. I love you Dad, and always will. Thanks for dropping by. You remind me that life is a circle, a spiral, and your soul echoes again and again through mine.