I am sitting on the floor of an airport in a place you’ve probably never heard of toward the end of a trip, with a purpose that would have confused you.
I’ve come to help the elephants, Dad, to see how those who care for them live. To envision a world in which no one rides an elephant, hits an elephant or causes them pain.
I’ve traveled far from home to sleep on mattresses surrounded by mosquito nets, walked miles upon miles, cut up pumpkins, talked to an elderly village woman who had never heard English before, and took a shower by dumping buckets of cold water on myself.
I know you wouldn’t understand what I am doing, you probably would ask if my head was screwed on straight. Then tell me that whatever I am doing, you are proud of me for doing it.
I say this with hopeful certainty, and when I saw a blue elephant statue for sale at a restaurant in Thailand, I thought of you and now he travels with me.
I think of you Dad, and am sure you are watching over me. You are there when the wind blows the heat away from my tired,sun burnt face. When a stranger has given me a hand to help after another fall, the kind words are a language I do not understand but the concern and kindness are universal.
Many times throughout my teenage and early adult years my actions confused you. You were always there with love, support and a shoulder to cry on or lift me up if I would fall.
This letter will never be delivered just as the one you wrote to me, found tucked between the pages of your diary after you passed away.
Your spirit has been with me and will continue to guide me on this path and any others. They will bring me to new places, new people, language barriers and shared laughter.
I am able to do this because you taught me to be an independent person and to chase my dreams.
I write this letter in remembrance and I share with honor.
Of the love and support passes down from father to daughter.
Author: Tiffany Parker
Image: Author’s own
Editor: Sara Kärpänen