It's always a bittersweet day for me the day after Valentine's. Today would have been my mother's 60th birthday. Every year I try talking myself into breaking free and 'letting go' of acknowledging or even remembering certain dates and occasions associated with her and the rest of my family, but each time, 365 days later, my feelings are only stronger than ever before in keeping the spirit of her and others loved ones alive. No matter how painful it may be, I cannot help but celebrate and honor them. Who I am is all because of my parents. How could I ever forget about them?
There was a powerful scene between Enid and Glenn from last night's season premiere of The Walking Dead. [SPOILER ALERT] By the way, IMO, this was probably one of the best episodes in the entire series. If you don't watch the show because it's all about violence and zombies, then you are mistaken. The entire show, really, is a story of how people respond to unimaginable horror. Some simply don’t have the backbone for it, some thrive in it, and others have their fates decided at their own personal snapping point, the point at which they change. While searching for supplies inside a church together, Enid finds a scripture written on the wall from James 2:26, "Faith without works is dead." Enid tells Glenn that, in terms of fleeing or fighting, she wanted to run before they had reached the church. Glenn immediately explains that's how you lose people. Even after they're gone. Confused, Enid asks what he means by that and he replies with, "The people you love made you who you are. If you stop being you, that last bit of them that's inside of you is gone." Faith without works is dead faith because the lack of works reveals an unchanged life or a spiritually dead heart. There are many Scriptures that make it very clear that true saving faith will result in a transformed life, which is demonstrated by the “works” we do. So to me, if you change as a person, even if it's trying to hide the pain deep inside you, you will not grow or strengthen as a person let alone survive. Death is certain, life is not. If I stop remembering who I love and where I came from, I'm not sure who I'd be anymore. For me, it's not even an option.
In other words, you can't run from the pain. Go towards it. Most people who don't know me on a personal level think I got my passion for photography from my husband. The truth is, he has definitely had an influence on me, but the first person to ever peek my interest in photography was my mother. She was also the first person to get me a camera. And when I sift through the photos she'd taken over the years, one thing is true. She had quite an eye, actually, she was exceptional. Perhaps (or at least I'd like to think) that's where I inherited my 'eye'. My father wasn't half-bad either as you can see from the photos he took of us.
I still have the camera she used through those years we had together. It's an old point-and-shoot film camera, a Freedom III Minolta, that I still use it from time to time, but only for special occasions. Film is just too darn expensive these days. But you see all these photos of my mother and I on the beach in today's post? They're all from the same camera! How cool is that? Call me a sentimental fool, but these memories are all I have left. And I don't care what anyone says, I will cherish them until the day I die. It's important for me to show these photographs to my own children one day too, as it is just as imperative for them to know where they come from, going back many generations. #KoreanPride 🇰🇷🇰🇷🇰🇷
When I was going through the photos I have of me and my mother today, I wanted to pick a warmer, summer-like theme. It's Monday, I've got the Winter Blues, and I miss my West Coast Cali girl vibes! Even though it always makes me a little sad looking at some of the photos, I couldn't help but smile remembering some good times from this California trip. I was in second grade and it was the very first time I'd gotten on a plane. I remember our layover in Chicago. I remember losing my favorite stuffed animal from this vacation, and was nearly heartbroken from never finding him. I remember it was the first time my mother's parents met my Dad. They didn't speak English so my mother was their personal translator. I remember grandpa catching something while fishing with my dad, and as an elder, he had trouble reeling in what seemed to be Moby Dick! My Dad assisted him with the line and when he pulled it up enough for everyone to finally see what is was, a baby hammerhead shark hung from the hook! Seconds after our discovery, a hungry duck swam by and snatched the shark for lunch! We laughed and laughed and laughed until our bellies hurt. Well... everyone except the boys who lost their 'prize'! Ha! Ha!
My mother's Korean name is Sun-Hui (pronounced Sun-Hee) but when she came to the States everyone had trouble pronouncing it so she just told 'em to call her, 'Sunny'. If you ever had the pleasure of meeting her, you knew why that nickname was perfectly suited for her. I even inherited her Americanized name, being my middle name is 'Sunny'. I miss her dearly but I know that she lives on through me and my brother. I can't wait to see her again, and this I know for sure. My faith can never be broken. Until then, keep shining down with your Light & Love, Ma. Happy Birthday. I miss you. I love you. Always. From your lil' 하마 xoxo.