“I was afraid to go back to the places where I spent holidays with my father after his death”

Like Joanna, I wanted to keep my memories of Santorini intact. So, last year, when I was invited to Santorini to review the new OMMA Santorini, I wondered if a return would change the way I see the island and my narrative with it. As much as I wanted the colors and the culture of Greece, I feared that by returning there, I would dilute my memories and lose even more of my parents.

That’s a question from psychologist Fiona Murden, author of Defining You: How to Profile Yourself and Unlock your Full Potential and Mirror Thinking; Why role models make us human, and host of the Dot-to-Dot podcast, also had to reflect recently, when she decided to go with her husband and two daughters to a remote island off the coast of Vancouver, a place with whom she had last visited her father and brother some 30 years earlier.

“After my parents divorced, my father took me and my brother to the island where his best friend had a home,” she recalls. “It was such a remote place that we needed three ferries to reach it, but I remember we even savored that trip: getting there was such a part of the vacation; so much part of the promise of having hours, days and weeks with our father.

“Each one was special, truly magical, and each one added a new layer of truly visceral memories. After he died, I looked back on that time and my overwhelming emotion was love. He loved us so much, and he loved this island, and my connection to her is so closely tied to him and my childhood. When he showed us the island, it was like he shared a part of himself. I don’t think I reverse glazed him. I did. sincerely believe that I have already recognized that he is giving us something incredibly valuable.

Murden says she was worried about traveling there with her own family, fearing that they might not like her, or that they would find the trip by sea, which she found so exciting and full. of promises, tedious. “Obviously I didn’t expect them to have an emotional attachment to the island, but it troubled me that they might find it boring,” she admitted. “And if they did, how would that affect my relationship with him?” I also wondered how I would feel if I could not find the essence of my childhood there. I arrived full of what ifs, but thank goodness none resulted in anything. I made new memories, and I also received old ones. I met a woman there who remembered how my dad played with us for hours. His memories were a gift, a validation. I know he was a wonderful father, but to hear someone else say that, well, it was deeply moving.

I also took the plunge and decided to return to Santorini, recognizing that my Greek memories, like Greek cats, would only run further and faster when chased. So I gave up any idea of ​​retracing my steps, or trying to capture moments, and instead let them come to me.

A day of sailing with Caldera Yachting, eating the best Greek dishes – by that I mean olives, fresh grilled fish, tomatoes with a taste of sun and earth, a piece of feta glistening with olive oil and sprinkled with oregano, warm bread to soak up this oil and potato salad – reminded me how much my parents favored simplicity over sparkle. And how fancy they found the dinner that I sometimes subjected them to.

At Bar To Navagio, which has kept its promise to “serve real drinks to genuine people”, the irrepressible philoxenia (“friend of the stranger”) of the bartender – the very essence of Greek hospitality – m ‘ brought back fond memories of my upbringing, when there would always be a warm welcome to anyone who came to our door.

The most powerful emotions, however, were sparked by nature and the moving web it created. At sunrise and sunset, I found a secluded spot at OMMA and sat gazing at the caldera like my dad had.

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