Evan and I visited Japan on a father-son trip in April of 2005. It was just the two of us in the springtime and we had a really special time together. We visited Tokyo and Osaka and Kyoto where we walked for hours on beautiful golden days. We ate wonderful meals, walked through many historical sites and went to Sumo matches. I was so happy to be with him in Japan and proud of him too. Evan was already a complete person at 17 and put up with me trying to be the wise and guiding father. He put up with me documenting our trip with photos, preferring to look and pass through taking only memories away. Though I had been in Japan many times, he seemed to know as much, if not more about the culture and customs than I did! Even as a small child, Evan was a fan of Sumo wrestling and his love of Japanese food was unparalleled. He had extraordinary grace at times for such a young man but could also be a goofy teen. One of his favorite books was Hagakure: Book of the Samurai. “The Way of the Samurai is found in death,” it says. He was strong and dignified right to his very end and I know that lessons learned from this book were a profound influence on his conduct during his illness.
On Monday 28 April 2014, I scattered some of Evan in a garden behind Sanjusangendo in Kyoto. Susan filmed. It was raining. Founded in 1164, and rebuilt a century later after a fire, Sanjusangendo is a temple famous for its 1001 statues of Kannon, the goddess of mercy. It’s a very potent place. The main hall holds a wooden statue of a 1000-armed Kannon, flanked on each side by 500 human sized statues of feudal soldiers. Evan treasured visiting this huge and ancient wooden shrine and felt the history there. It was bittersweet to return to a place he admired and find a quiet spot to leave a bit of him behind, leaving him to become a part of it.
I love him so much and always will. He is my cherished son who became one of my great teachers in his too short life. I think we all feel that way: Susan, Jean, Ursula and Alex and more friends and family than can be named. He touched so many lives with his powerful and wise soul. He has changed me profoundly for the better.
Thank you Evan. I love you so much forever.
- John Scofield