It was a rainy day, I had just arrived at the Ekoin Temple in Mount Kōya, the mountains just south of Osaka, Japan. I was spending the night in a Buddhist temple surrounded by the most magnificent Japanese scenery. I took of my shoes, was led to my room by a monk, laid down my bag and checked my phone…
“Your Dad is Dead.”
I looked outside. The world hadn’t ended… only a piece of mine had.
I don’t remember how I reacted. I remember a moment of calmness, and then it hit me. A confused monk politely asked what was wrong.
“My Dad is dead.”
“Would you like some tea?”
How many cups of tea can fill that gaping hole in your heart after losing a parent?
My father was a car-racing, PhD earning overachiever. He travelled the world and throughout his life called 3 countries home. His life involved times of hanging out with the Rat Pack in Hollywood, teaching ethics in Indonesia, and basically anything in between, Including multiple marriages and having a daughter (or two).
We did not have your typical father-daughter relationship. Even though he bought me my first guitar and took me to Disneyland, his paternal moments were fleeting. My Dad did not teach me to ride a bike or play that guitar, nor did he help me with my homework after school or attend school concerts.
His main excuse was that he lived in another country. The main flaw in his excuse was that he chose to.
But “He is still your Dad”, people would tell me.
He was still my Dad. He would post photos of me and share my achievements on Facebook (the modern-day mantlepiece), he would email me updates of his life and send messages of support when I needed them. Even though I resented him at times, I hated that we had so much in common.
I inherited my fathers sense of adventure, a longing to make the most of my time on this beautiful planet and to explore it as much as I can.
There is so much I will never know about my Dad, he will always be a puzzle with many missing pieces. I have chosen not to regret our relationship because I don’t think if I went back in time I would be able to act any differently.
But thank you Dad for inspiring me, for being proud of me,
for the pointy eyebrows, for “still being my Dad”.
And yes, I will need more tea.