Today is my mother's death anniversary. Both my parents, sadly, are deceased. My father unexpectedly passed away in July of 2013. I'm completely estranged from my only brother and any other family relative. With all the sickening, cruel, harsh news in the world this week, ranging from another earthquake in Japan to the devastating Beirut bombing, to the atrocious terror attacks in Paris, I find myself contemplating a lot about my family. This is supposed to be my flesh and blood but they've barely spoken two words to me in years. Aren't we supposed to come together, to strengthen our ties and support one another? This world leaves me more and more in doubt every single day. I see humans, but I do not see humanity. Where is the love? Perhaps, upstairs... are you watching over us? Because sometimes it really doesn't seem like it. Especially as of late. Are you with me? Are you with us? I am with you. I am with all of you. We are all valuable. Precious. Everyone counts and don't ever let anyone tell you otherwise. I must; we must all keep faith in the Good and remain in the Light.
Exactly ten years ago today, I watched my mother take her last breath. The last thing I said to her was, "I love you." She died from stomach cancer, fighting a horrendous battle for nearly nine months when the doctors' prognosis was even less than that. Watching her deteriorate was such an utterly gut-wrenching experience. When she lost all her hair from chemo, she, so unwilling to lose the rest of her femininity, kept the remains of her hair in a Ziploc bag. She couldn't bring herself to throw it away.
A decade may have passed, but my mother lives on through me and my brother. Her fighting spirit, her courage, and our memories are forever instilled in us. No one can ever take that away. And so, with that, I am dedicating today's blog post with a letter written for my 'ma' (as I always have called her).
My Dearest Ma,
I miss you so much. With each passing day, I miss you more and more. I still think about you every single day. A helpless feeling at times, you are constantly on my mind. I long to see your face again. To see your radiant smile which could light up an entire room, the purity of your heart could warm the bleakness of any stranger. I yearn for those sleepless nights of watching Court TV together all the while gossiping and laughing at the jokes we'd crack while snacking down on popcorn or GyeongDan hardcore. I deeply crave your home-cooked meals, the embrace of your soft, silk-like hands. Even all those cheesy, superstitious yet romantic Korean folklore tales; they were the best of stories. Hell, I even miss you yelling at me in Korean when I really got into trouble. And most of the time I was asking for it. I was difficult. And you were an angel. Still one. You're my guardian angel.
I would love to sit here and think you and Dad are immensely proud of me in all my successes/accomplishments, but the bittersweet taste of death resonates within even the smallest of victories, finding it meaningless and insurmountable in reflection to what is missing in my life; what really matters in life. Why did you have to go so soon? Are you taking care of Dad now that you've been reunited? How is Dad? I hope he is not too angry with me. I can't even begin to explain how much he missed you. When you died, he died right along with you.
Why can't I visit you and Dad in my dreams? Don't you miss me too? I hope you're watching over your son, who (I know you're very upset with the both of us) refuses to communicate with me. I have tried to reach out in every imaginable way and his message is clear. He wants nothing to do with me. Like the both of you, I'm also dead to him. This breaks my heart.
Perhaps it's because I'm far too much of a painful, heart-stricken reminder of what and who was lost. Being the spitting image of you and inheriting 100% of Dad's rock-n-roll soul, I'm sure it's tough not to link the two together. But I pray that we will one day find a resolution, and come to terms with our tragedies. I pray we see each other again soon before it's too late and one of us is lying on his/her death bed. I'm not sure how much longer I can hold on to this kind of hope because quite frankly, it's eating me alive.
Remember when I was young and dumb and how ridiculous I felt about your 'jungle safari', as I called it? Well, I've got a lil' 'garden' of my own now. Lots of succulents, flowers and plants that aren't too difficult to maintain, and I may not have a green thumb, but I'm working on it! And with that, I've grown as a person too. I've learned to take better care of myself and I hope you can see all the vessels of my heart being out-poured to the world - that you did not die in vain.
You raised (I think) a pretty capable, strong-willed and intelligent woman. It is all through your love and dedication of being the best mother you could be. Thanks for giving me a really hard time and challenging me. I am such an individual today, with no fear of my voice and the power that comes with it. My one and only - the most important part of me, most often feels like it's the only thing I've got left. And I'm really okay with it. So, really, thank you for never giving up on calling me out on my bullshit and refusing to allow a daughter to grow up to become some punk kid.
I promised to you I wouldn't be sad, but at times my heart just aches from so many losses. But then I'll see a white butterfly. One time, two summer's ago, you brushed against my cheek with one of your wings, and I knew it was you. That warm, magnetic touch was palpable. I know your visits are infrequent and short, but I soak in every moment spent with you. And I look at my boys, knowing you must have had something to do with that too. Thank you for bringing Gilles and maQ into my life. Without them, I'm not sure where I'd be. Their unconditional love always reminds me of you. So very much.
I love you with all my heart and soul. I wish you were here to share with me in all of life's endeavors, but I know I will see you soon. Until then, please watch over everyone I love. Even the ones who have deeply hurt me. To the one who are filled with hate - watch over them more so. I will continue to pray for the world.
엄마 사랑 해요
Always Love (& xx's),
maQ + suz