Yesterday, it was mostly sunny and in the low 70′s, but because we got that “moist” heat it felt like 80 degrees and I had to go home and change into something sleeveless. It seems like we had 2 weeks of Spring and then Summer decided to show up. Anyhow, there were plenty of people outside enjoying the weather. As I passed all these people, I kept thinking, “Enjoy it now… before you DIE.”
Last blog I talked about how wonderful it was to learn so many new and sweet things about my mom from people who came to pay their respects. Funerals are a good way to learn more about people who you think of as friends.
When my parents first arrived in the country with toddler (me!) in tow, 1 suitcase with clothes, and 1 suitcase full of cloth diapers they weren’t alone. My dad had a group of fresh medical school graduates from Korea who all decided to come over together and they have maintained close contact with one another over all these years. Of course, they were all named Dr. Kim, but I want to talk about the two who really showed us how “true” they are.
Dr. Kim (Julia’s Dad) is one of my dad’s oldest friends. They have known each other since middle school. Thankfully, he is retired from anesthesiology and as soon as he found out the news he flew down to be with us. The man is a saint in my book. When people asked, is that your dad’s brother? without hesitation we say “yes”. He stayed with us through the funeral, held our hands, cried and told us wonderful stories about their lives so many years ago. I know my father will be eternally grateful.
Dr. Kim (Paul’s Dad) is another old friend who lost his wife a few years ago. He is still working as a family practice doctor. In fact, according to many of his friends, he may be working even harder because a couple of years ago, he re-married, and you know those 2nd wives. They don’t like you sitting around the house. Since the funeral was on Friday, he couldn’t make it. So he worked half a day on Saturday and drove 9 hours from Canton, Ohio to Columbia, South Carolina to give us a gift and pay his respects to my dad and my mom at her gravesite. THEN, he got back into his car and drove BACK so he could work his next shift! My dad begged him not to come because he knew how hard the drive is, but Paul’s Dad would not be deterred. Seeing his bright face gave me hope that someday the brightness would return to my dad’s face.
I feel so grateful and tearful as I remember these awesome friends of my dad and mom. There were so many other stories of people going above and beyond, I know my mom would have been so touched. I couldn’t open the door, or turn my head without seeing someone special and then new tears of gratitude would flow.
On a more sour note, there is another “friend” in Ohio, Dr & Mrs. Kang. Mrs. Kang probably talked with my mom every day. It was really shocking when they called my dad and said since they had just returned from a trip to Chicago, they were too tired to come. I can’t help but imagine how pathetic sounding that must have sounded to everyone. I hope their clothes burn for a long time in purgatory. That was mean. I’ll bet my mom would have said the same thing though. She was cool that way.
We had 15 characters and 3 lines to work with because mom is buried at a federal site. All the tombstones are uniform like rows of teeth on a pretty green face. It wasn’t easy, but we came up with:
EVER SO LOVING
WALK WITH GOD
The first draft from my sisters read:
WIFE & INVESTOR
WE ALL LOVE YOU
I’m just going to blame the grief. Thankfully this one didn’t get signed off on. I asked Mary, “On your tombstone, do you want me to make sure it reads Terrific Computer Hacker?” Then I said, “Make sure mine says something about being a YOGA MASTER”. In the end, they made the right choice.
Life goes on. Chase and Cliff are at baseball today. I need to go to the grocery.
Golden Week Starts April 29th (Emperor’s Birthday) and ends May 5th (Boy’s Day)
May 2nd-6th We go to Beijing, China
May 10th-24th My Dad is coming for visit!
Until next time…