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These parent-child reunion stories tug at a very special place in my heart. “Don’t lose hope.” How many times have I had to say that to myself over these past 13 years? Dum spiro spero.

Dear Lili,

How is it possible that 19 years ago at this very minute I was sitting in Keio Hospital waiting for the birth of my first, and as it turns out, my only child. Time just keeps slipping by, faster and faster it seems the older I become.
And over the past 13 years since I last saw you, I’ve waited for you to pick up the phone, send me an email, or knock on my door. Despite the thousands of disappointing days that have gone by since our parting, I have never given up hope that someday we can be the father and daughter we once were. I don’t know what you remember, it’s been so long. But I remember. I remember it all. We used to be very close. We laughed and sang and played silly games together. We watched Pingu and Peewee Herman and Dumbo together. And nothing could come between us. Until it did.
I still have all of your things — your baby shoes and toddler clothes, your books, your toys, and your drawings. Someday when  you want to know who you really are and where you came from, it’s all here, these souvenirs of a life once lived, of happy times a father and daughter once shared together.

I’ve never said a bad word to you about your mother, and I never will. To me, the idea of coming between a parent and a child is unimaginable. You have to decide how you feel about your parents. You and you alone. I just hope that someday you will want to know the other side of who you are. 

As I’ve said to you many times before,

You are always in my heart.

Love always, 

Daddy XOXOXO

❤ ❤ ❤

 

Souvenirs
by Dan Fogelberg

Here is a poem
That my lady sent down
Some morning while
I was away.
Wrote on the back of
A leaf that she found
Somewhere around Monterey.

And here is the key
To a house far away
Where I used to live
As a child.
They tore down the building
When I moved away
And left the key unreconciled.

And down in the canyon
The smoke starts to rise.
It rides on the wind
Till it reaches your eyes.
When faced with the past
The strongest man cries…cries.

And down in the canyon
The smoke starts to rise.
It rides on the wind
Till it reaches your eyes.
When faced with the past
The strongest man cries…cries.

And here is a sunrise
To set on your sill.
The ghosts of the dawn
Moving near.
They pass through your sorrow
And leave you quite still…
Sitting among souvenirs.

……………………………………….

“For all sad words of tongue and pen,
The saddest are these, ‘It might have been’.”

— John Greenleaf Whittier

 

I wonder if you remember going to Howe Caverns in New York with me way back in 2003? Legend has it that if you stand on this spot, you will return one day. I hope we can return to this place together.

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You are always in my heart, now and forever!

Love always,

Daddy ❤

Dear Lili,

What can a father who can’t see his daughter give to that daughter for Christmas? How can a father reach across the distance that lies between him and his daughter and somehow manage to give her something of value, something that someday she can cherish and hold dear to her heart? This is the question the left-behind father asks himself every birthday, every Christmas, every moment he wishes he could just pick up the phone and say hello, yet knows he cannot.

My gift to you is the knowledge you will come to understand someday that I fought to be a part of your life. I fought in the courts. I fought at the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo. I literally fought in the streets in the form of peaceful protests against the system that kept us apart. The pics below are from a protest march at Christmas time back in 2010 in Shibuya.

And I did help change something. In part, due to my efforts and that of many other fathers, Japan signed an international treaty known as the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction. And just this week, I read that Japan is finally considering guaranteed visitation rights for parents following divorce, a basic human right that was not available in our case.

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So I guess I changed the world a little bit in this small corner of it, and I did it for you. This is my gift to you. Someday, you will come to understand things on your own, and this is the first thing you need to know — I never gave up on you, and I have always been here for you.

Merry Christmas, Lili.

You are always in my <3.

Love,

Dad XXXOOO

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“I found of picture of you…”

Dear Lili,

Someday, I hope you will come to understand that this long separation from you was not my choice. I tried for years to be a part of your life, but I guess you’ll have to take my word for that now. There are many things that you don’t know, and once you start to search for answers to what happened to us, I will be happy to tell you my side of the story. Until then, I’ll wait, as I always have, for your telephone call, your email or your knock on my door. My heart and my arms will always be open for you.

Love always,

Daddy ❤

 

 

Back on the Chain Gang, by The Pretenders

I found a picture of you, oh oh oh oh
What hijacked my world that night
To a place in the past
We’ve been cast out of? Oh oh oh oh
Now we’re back in the fight
We’re back on the train
Oh, back on the chain gang

A circumstance beyond our control, Oh oh oh oh
The phone, the TV and the news of the world
Got in the house like a pigeon from hell, oh oh oh oh
Threw sand in our eyes and descended like flies
Put us back on the train
Oh, back on the chain gang

The powers that be
That force us to live like we do
Bring me to my knees
When I see what they’ve done to you
But I’ll die as I stand here today
Knowing that deep in my heart
They’ll fall to ruin one day
For making us part

I found a picture of you, oh oh oh oh
Those were the happiest days of my life
Like a break in the battle was your part, oh oh oh oh
In the wretched life of a lonely heart
Now we’re back on the train
Oh, back on the chain gang

.