A Mentor’s Death

On one of my recent trips, I flew through Miami International Airport. I had been through, or more like ran through, it some weeks ago, but this time I had a longer layover. Many folks were still masked in the terminals.

While I was walking around to find coffee and grub with my travel companion I saw an older man who seemed to have a familiar walk and thin greying hair. I couldn’t see his face due to his mask, but I instantly thought of my mentor from UIC. I emailed him hello to see how he was when we settled down for a meal. Something. Something. Lead me to search for his obituary and I found it. 81. May of 2022. Recent.

I didn’t realize he was that old, but I felt his presence in that airport. It was the most uncanny thing. I hadn’t spoken to him in years. He invited me to his home for a visit in Miami as soon as COVID calmed down … I’m so upset I didn’t get to make that trip.

He believed in me and helped me when my anxiety was at its worst. When no one else seemed to believe in me, he knew how smart I was. He probably didn’t realize how bad my anxiety really was or how much he helped me. I would never have gotten into grad school without him.

I can’t believe he’s no longer here. But I know I felt him in that airport, even if I’ll never get a reply to that email.

4 thoughts on “A Mentor’s Death

      1. Btw I wanted to ask do you have any Spanish in you? Because I realised that some Spanish people have a resemblance to you lol. Then again your surname is Polish, the family history must be interesting.

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