I returned to Tokyo and my family yesterday night (Thursday Night).
First off, I would like to thank all the people who commented or said prayers or just plain felt my pain. You cannot know how much that means until you are the one standing in black. My wonderful husband booked me on the first flight out and I managed to arrive 1 day after my sisters. FYI, there is no bereavement fare when you travel international. I feel badly for those who cannot be with loved ones due to money.
After I found my seat, I told the flight attendant that she was not to wake me for meals, or peanuts, or emergency landing. I asked her to make sure there was a glass of wine next to me at all times so I could take my Ambien any time my eyes opened. The last 9 days are a blur, but the flight coming over… I hardly remember it.
Another pearl of wisdom: Try not to mix grief, jet lag and platform heels. It is literally debilitating. My sister picked me up from the airport in Columbia, South Carolina Wednesday evening (Mom officially died Monday night). The house was busy with so many people but none of them my mom. Koreans are really good about death. The word of mouth network is faster than DSL, and when people hear about a death, everyone likes to score karma points. That night the church group was coming to recite the Day 2 prayers of the Novena. Having gone through Catholic school and Confirmation and never before hearing of this, I asked the “churchiest” lady in the prayer group what the prayers were for. She basically said we need to say them for people who die so they can ascend to Heaven faster. Also, while they are in Purgatory, evidently their clothes are on fire and the prayers are like drops of water helping to douse the flames. I don’t know about all that, but saying the prayers did make me feel better.
The first time I was able to “see” mom was at her viewing. That was much tougher than I expected. Dunbar Funeral Home did a great job with everything. She just looked like she was sleeping. It was so strange because when mom was alive, a lot of times she would look asleep and then when one of us would say something in the room that caught her ear, she would make a comment with her eyes closed.
Between the viewing (Thursday Evening) and the funeral (Friday Morning), I couldn’t believe all the people who showed up to pay their respects. The last couple of years, my mom was on a lot of meds, doing dialysis everyday and in a wheelchair. It wasn’t easy getting around. This kept them in, but it also kept them from going out. Despite that, so many people showed up because they had either heard about it or read about it in the newspaper. Makes me think I need to start reading obituaries.
Before I get into the funeral, I feel like I need to stop now and rest. It is all still really fresh. I will try to blog again tomorrow.
Until next time…