Neighbours star Takaya Honda has shared the sad news that his mother, Rhonda, has passed away after several years of living with Alzheimer’s.
The David Tanaka actor shared a beautiful photo on Instagram of himself and his mum embracing in front of a scenic view, alongside an account of what happened on his mother’s final day.
The actor explained that he had received a call from his dad while out on a dog walk, telling him that “mum might not make it ’til morning”.
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After flying to Brisbane to see his mum, Takaya picked up a text from his dad explaining that his mum had received a “3rd last morphine dose”, which had happened at the same time as the actor experiencing discomfort in his legs while on the plane.
“I couldn’t fathom that he was telling me she had passed and assumed he was just preparing me for her to be unconscious when we got there,” he said. “It wouldn’t have mattered much either way, her Alzheimers had meant that she was non-verbal the last few years.”
He went on to say that his dad had met him at the front door of the care facility and hugged him, before simply saying, “Sorry”.
“Again, I didn’t think much of it. What else do you say?” Takaya said. “We walked the long walk to her room and I opened the door. The first thing I saw was my brother, so we hugged and he left Amy and I in the room with mum.
“I looked down and stopped. She was already dead. I had missed her.”
He continued: “She had died shortly after that last morphine shot. About the time my legs had become uncomfortable. I hadn’t got to say goodbye, but she had.”
The actor went on to say that his mother had “held on until the weekend after one of the biggest scenes I had ever had to film, possibly will ever have to film”, and explained that he had felt a connection with her while filming.
“On that day she hadn’t had a great day and shortly after completing the scene I read a text from dad saying as much,” he said.
“I look at that now as if that was the only way to communicate to me that she was with me for it and she was proud – something I had been telling myself that morning to aid me in the scene – something I had told myself just after they yelled ‘cut’ as I felt it was the best work I had ever done and that somehow it was for her.
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“This is all to say, she was always my biggest supporter, whether she was able to say it with words or not.”
He ended his emotional tribute to his mum by saying, “I don’t want her story to end, but I am happy, for her sake, that it has”, before sharing her birth and death dates.
Takaya’s Neighbours co-star Matt Wilson, who played David’s husband Aaron Brennan, shared his support for his friend, commenting, “Love you mate. We all do. Thinking of you”.
The actor also received condolences from Neighbours actors Jemma Donovan (Harlow Robinson), Charlotte Chimes (Nicolette Stone), Ben Turland (Hendrix Greyson), Tim Kano (Leo Tanaka), April Rose Pengilly (Chloe Brennan) and Georgie Stone (Mackenzie Hargreaves).
Takaya is an ambassador for Dementia Australia and has previously spoken about his family’s experience with his mum’s illness.
Neighbours returns on September 18, with new episodes streaming on Mondays to Thursdays for free on Amazon Freevee in the UK and US. Network 10 will retain first-run rights in Australia for the new series.
Read more Neighbours coverage on our dedicated homepage.
Reporter, Digital Spy Susannah is a freelance writer, specialising in the entertainment industry. She graduated in 2014, with a BA in English and American Literature and Creative Writing, and an MA in Creative Producing. She’s been writing for Digital Spy ever since, after first getting involved through work experience, and has written hundreds of stories for the site on a range of topics, from The Sims to Doctor Who. Susannah has also written for Reveal Magazine. Her special interests are soaps (her Mastermind subject would be 2000s Coronation Street), Marvel and Star Wars. She can also quote far too many lines from Friends and Brooklyn Nine-Nine.