Me, and a little time

IMG_4988I’ve had my blog for a year now, and to be honest, I can’t believe I’ve stuck to it.  My posts are far and few, but my writing has helped me.  I used to be the girl who always loved to be around people and never wanted to miss time with friends or family, but after losing my Mom, I’ve changed.  I now need time alone.

When I’m alone, I don’t feel the burdening weight of pressure I put on myself.  I write when I have the time to reflect on the things that I would have wanted to share with my Mom and although hard at times, it also brings me joy.  My blog has helped me articulate some of my emotions, and has most importantly, reminded that my Mom will always remain with me not only as memories, but in the ways that I love my husband and family, persevere through difficult times, lovingly help others and pursue the wildest of my dreams.

In January, we celebrated my Dad’s 59th birthday (in Korean custom, he actually turned 60), and as we talked about the past year together, we acknowledged a new found sense of peace; a peace in knowing that although the coming year will have it’s own challenges, we can trust in God’s grace and power to bring us His comfort and His healing.  My Dad is the greatest example to me of how one can choose to live a life of hope and not in fear.

My Mom was an avid reader and a talented poet, and my love for poetry, writing, art and expression comes solely from her influence.  This blog has become a place for me to connect with all the things my Mom believed in and passed on to me, and all the things I’ve grown to love and now share with my husband.

Advertisements

New Year’s Day Skiing

IMG_0183

Happy belated 2015!  Sean and I spent our first day of the year skiing (for me)/snowboarding (for the hubby) thanks to my Dad’s Christmas gift to us.  I started the year learning something new, and it feels great!  It always helped to know that Sean was always close enough to be there if I ever wiped out, and we were able to capture everything on camera with our incredibly cool GoPro – a gift from Sean’s parents.

Sean and I have been so blessed to see God’s faithfulness in our lives this past year.  We were reminded of how God has His hand in everything, from the big things to the little things.  My hope for the new year is that through my faith and in my actions, others will be able to see more of His reflection in me.

May your year be filled with much love, grace, healing, joy and laughter.

Live Generously

Wednesday marked two years since my Mom passed away.  It seems like forever ago since I had the chance to hug her, talk to her, drop by to see her, or eat her delicious food.  Sean says that her yukaechang (spicy Korean soup) is better than any other.  The sharp pain in my chest when I think of missing her has not faded, and a flood of tears will still come at any moment.  Every stressful or hard day is made worse because my Mom isn’t here to tell me that like all things, this too will pass.  She was always my greatest source of comfort.

My Mom was the most generous person I know.  She would always put others before herself, and her heart was always drawn to those in need.  During this Christmas season, my eyes have been opened to the needs around me: Families who can’t afford Christmas presents or a tree, a son caring for his father who has the onset of Alzheimer’s, people who have to work Christmas Eve/Day, children and people without families or are away from their families and people who don’t have warm homes and good food to eat.

Our pastor recently said that generosity is something she feels is learned.  I’ve been privileged enough to see my Mom giving to others my whole life.  Her greatest life lesson to me has been to live generously, and like her, I hope to love on others and give to others just as she had always done.  Whenever I do things for those less fortunate, I think of her.  I think of how if she were here today, she would be doing the same thing, and in some way, it makes me feel closer to her.  One day, when Sean and I have little ones of our own, I will tell them of my Mom’s generous heart, and how God has given us much so that we may give to others.  I will tell them of the woman with two copper coins who gave to God all that she had (a story from the Bible my Mom would tell me often), and teach them of storing their treasures in Heaven, and not here on Earth.

When I look back on my Mom’s short life, I think of how many lives she’s touched, and how many people she has helped.  Her life is a testament to me of what it means to walk the Christian life.  Jesus loved the broken, poor and unloved, and with all that God has given me, and in my Mom’s memory, I want to remember to live each day generously.

“A Grief Observed” – C.S. Lewis

SCAN0000Recently, I was engrossed in a small and unassuming book entitled A Grief Observed by C.S. Lewis.  It is a heartbreaking, and honest account of the great loss of a man who proclaimed his faith to the world and who wrote about his journey through grief.  Everyone’s grief is different (so I’m told), and I believe it to be true, but all pain is pain.  All sorrow is sorrow, and we grieve those that we’ve lost, because we loved them.

C.S. Lewis lost his wife.  My Dad lost his love of more than thirty-three years.  This is something I couldn’t possibly understand, but just as my heart breaks for losing my Mom, my heart breaks just as deeply for my Dad.  My Dad’s fridge is still always filled with apples, because my Mom loved apples.  My Dad has photos of my Mom all throughout their house and lovingly remembers her in our conversations.  If my Mom was here today, she would tell my Dad that she is so proud of him for all that he’s done on his own.  She’d tell him that he’s been so strong for our family and that he is a great example for his daughter.

This past May 12th would have been my parents 34th wedding anniversary.  I’m sure that they would be the first to tell you that their marriage wasn’t perfect, but their love for each other was real.  The day that Sean asked my parents for my hand in marriage, my Dad told him, “Marriage is not about compromise, it’s about sacrifice.”  And that sacrifice that my Dad was talking about is what I was so privileged to see my whole life.

This past Father’s Day I meant to publish this post, but it just sat in my draft folder, until now.  It’s difficult to put into words how much of an inspiration my Dad has been to me.  He has taken on the role of Dad and “Mom” and I know he tries very hard to help fill the void of not having my Mom here.  My Dad packs food for Sean and I just as my Mom had always done, he always insists on putting money in our hands to buy nice meals while we’re away, and he thinks of what to buy Sean for his birthday three months in advance.  My Dad’s courage to do things on his own, challenges me to be less afraid.  I know that my Dad purposefully does things to help me worry less about him, and for this, I’m grateful.

When I see what my Dad has endured, and the courage that he has shown, it gives me strength to live a fulfilling life, one that both my Dad and Mom would be proud of.  When in the midst of pain, it is difficult to focus on our blessings, but my relationship with my Dad is a true gift from God.  I think it’s safe to say that I have the best relationship a daughter could possibly have with her Dad.  When I was little, he was my favourite play-mate, and now as an adult, he is the one I turn to for advice.  For me, there could be no better example of courage, sacrifice and kindness than my Dad.

On a side note, my Dad’s jokes are some of the funniest, and my Mom was his number one fan.  She would laugh so hard that she could barely make out the joke when telling it to me.  I never got the joke because she would never make it to the punch-line, but I’ll never forget the sound of her laugh, thanks to my Dad.

Thankful for My Mom

Mom and Me

Mother’s Day was a week ago today.  For weeks leading up to the day, I would purposely avoid card stores, I would quickly walk through the mall so as not to see the multitude of signs saying “The Perfect Gift for Mom” or flip through commercials that talked about celebrating mothers.  I was scared that if I let myself, I would become overwhelmed.  The truth is, I miss my Mom. Everyday.  Sometimes I drive alone in my car thinking of her and tears will stream down my face.  Everyday, I look at her photo by my bedside and I wish that she could hear me.  She used to always say to me, “Everything will be okay, because Mom’s here,” and I often lay in bed wishing that I could hear her say those words again.

My Mom loved me more than life itself, and if anything will fill the void in my heart from not having her here, it’s remembering how loved I truly was.  I consider myself incredibly blessed to have had a Mom who’s love was so unconditional and so powerful, and I thank God that He gave me the greatest Mom that there ever was.

My Mom always said that she had two kids: Sean (her son) and me (her daughter).  She loved Sean as she would her own son, and if she had to pick sides, it would be his.  She would always tell me to be kind to him and to treat him well.  She would always make sure that she prepared dinners keeping his tastes in mind and pack us food for days when we didn’t feel like cooking.  If Sean wasn’t feeling well, she would ask me three times a day if he was okay.  If Sean ever needed anything, she wanted to get it for him.  I’m grateful that Sean saw the love that my Mom had for him, and that my Mom got to know and trust the man that I’d be spending the rest of my life with.

 

God also gave me the most loving mother-in-law.  Sean’s Mum has always treated me like a daughter, and if there’s any woman who I could trust next to my own Mom, it would be his.  I know that she prays for us and thinks of us, and when the world forgets that pain is ongoing, she remembers.  She bought me the most beautiful pink roses on Mother’s Day, a day to celebrate her, so that maybe it would brighten my day.  I know that if my Mom was here, she would be so thankful that she is a part of my life.  I never take for granted the love that I have gained through Sean’s family.

 

There are days when my heart aches because my Mom wasn’t here to see me graduate, or she won’t be here when Sean and I begin to start a family, but my Mom never missed a moment in twenty-four years of my life.  She always took jobs that made it possible for her to pick me up from school, she never missed any of my performances at school or at church, and every birthday was special because of her.  On my wedding day, the first time she saw me all made up, she held me and said I looked so beautiful.  In every special moment to come, I’ll be thinking of my Mom and how thankful I am that she wouldn’t have missed that moment for the world.

 

Sink or Swim

IMG_3103My parents put me in swimming lessons when I was in elementary school, but unfortunately, the chlorine in public pools was too harsh on my skin at the time, and my Mom eventually had to withdraw me from my lessons just before making it to Level 3.  As I grew older, I wanted to learn, but overcoming the “shame” of learning how to swim as a teenager was too much for fifteen-year-old me.  This past fall, I enrolled myself in adult swimming lessons.  I bought a one-piece and a set of goggles and braced myself for embarrassment.  I was shaking like a leaf on my first lesson.

I went to 17 of my 20 lessons and I can now make it to the end of a pool without panicking (most of the time).  This really isn’t a great feat, but it’s more than I could’ve done 17 lessons ago.  If I’ve learned anything from forcing myself to go to swimming lessons in minus 20 degree weather, it’s that you should never let your pride, idleness or fear get in the way of learning new things.  Yes, I swallowed lots of water and probably looked hilarious struggling to come up for air, but that’s really okay.  I give myself a good laugh thinking about it.  My strokes are not perfect, and I still can’t float very well, but with practice, I hope to one day be able to swim… and not just to simply prevent myself from drowning, but to swim well and with confidence.

I decided to take swimming lessons because of my Mom.  I choose to do a lot because of her.  She was always learning.  In the last five years of her life she went back to school just to brush up on her Spanish, to learn French and Mandarin, and even became certified to teach ESL.  I remember watching her doing her assignments after work, and diligently going to her classes.  I respected her so much for her desire to learn and for her commitment to working hard.  I hope to apply the same kind of perseverance towards the the things that remain on my list of things to learn.

First comes marriage, then comes kids?

I have always loved children, I have always wanted ones of my own (whether biological or adopted), and I have always imagined being a mom.  It’s been two and half years since Sean and I exchanged our vows and it seems as though having our own little ones is the next big step.

It’s difficult to imagine being a mom without having my own Mom to help me answer all of the questions I will have.  In the middle of the night when I’m weary and unable to ease my baby’s cries, I always thought I’d have my Mom to come to my rescue.  I remember my Mom lovingly talking about her unborn grandchildren and how she imagined who they would resemble.  My Dad says she would have been an amazing Grandma, and don’t I know it.  She used to always tell me that I had the greatest Dad in the world (which is true), and I know he’ll make the best Grandpa, too.

I often think about how I will keep my Mom’s memory alive in the lives of my children when they will never have a chance to meet her or feel the comfort of her arms.  For a while after my Mom passed away, I didn’t want to have children, and there are days when I still don’t.  It’s not having children that I no longer want, it’s having them without my Mom’s presence.  It’s knowing that she so wanted to be a part of their lives, and now she never will.

When I think about what she would say to me now, I already know.  She would tell me that one day I will make a wonderful, loving mother; One who will be even more strict than she was (an inside thing between my Mom and I), and one who will finally understand the love that her own mother had for her.  As I get older, I can see more and more the sacrifices my parents made for me, and how unconditional their love is.  If my Mom was here today, she would tell Sean and I that when we’re ready, we will make two very loving and dedicated parents.

My parents always loved the fact that Sean always took such good care of me (from the time that we were just friends), and I know how blessed I am to have such a wonderful man for a husband.  I know that he would sit by me during sleepless nights, and help me through the days when exhaustion is all I feel.  I know in my heart that Sean would make the most loving and patient father.  He would be the most helpful husband, and would always insist on making sure that I don’t try to do everything myself.  I’m so privileged to have full confidence in a man who is not yet a father, but who I know will make a great one someday.

In the eulogy I wrote for my Mom, I said that it is because of her love, that I have a better understanding of God’s love for me.  If my Mom’s love for me is but a glimpse, then my Heavenly Father’s love for His children is one that moves me to tears.  Imagine the person who you love most in this world… And now, imagine how much more God loves you.

In His timing, I pray that God will bless us with a child or children to love and nurture, and to help grow into people who will learn of His love for them and show the love that they receive to all those around them.