Lost and Found

In 2019 I lost my dad to cancer. He was diagnosed in February and gone in May so we barely had time to adjust to the fact that he was sick, let alone that we were going to lose him. Together with my mom he was the heart of our family; he was the one who moved us forward, who made us all laugh, who kept us together.

He was also a great musician; a guitar player and singer who brought music into the lives of everyone he knew. I grew up listening to him play almost everyday. My dad and I listened to music together, we sang together, we performed together. Because of him music permeated every moment of my life.

When he died my life became silent. I didn’t realize it for a long time, but I stopped listening to music. I stopped singing in the shower and humming to myself while I cooked dinner. Car rides were silent when I was by myself, and I censored any songs that reminded me of my dad when I was driving with other people. There was a giant space in my heart where my dad and music had shared a home.

Then, in the Fall of 2020 I saw a commercial on tv with a catchy tune that I couldn’t ignore. It sounded like something I might have listened to when I was a teenager in the 90’s and over the moon for New Kids on the Block. Not quite the same style but something about it felt comfortable and safe. That song was Dynamite by BTS.

That song filled my brain; I couldn’t get it out of my head. Suddenly I had music in my life again. I found the video on YouTube and saw them for the first time. They were so happy and friendly, I felt like I was being welcomed into their world. I watched more videos. The music filled me up. The empty space started to get smaller.

At first I was a little (ok, very) embarrassed that I was becoming obsessed with a K-pop boy band. It felt like I was regressing into my teen years and that was somehow wrong. But as the days and weeks went by I realized that I was genuinely happy in a way I hadn’t been since my dad had died. I didn’t know it at the time, but for all those months I had been feeling guilty about enjoying music without my dad. Somehow, BTS helped me let go of my guilt and find my connection with music again.

So I stopped feeling ashamed and I embraced my newfound fandom. I joined ARMY and jumped into the rabbit hole. The last 8 months have been filled with music and comfort and a feeling of joy that I don’t feel guilty about at all. And it’s all thanks to a “K-pop boy band” that turned out to be so much more.

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