Friday, November 18, 2005

Sad news

I am sure that there will be many events that will trigger emotions from the last few months and bring up my own feelings of grief that I have only begun to deal with.
This morning when I arrived into work I found out that my director's father had passed away suddenly last night.
Tonight my coworkers and I attended the wake for her father.
It is amazing how emotions like grief span cultures and no one escapes its grip.
When we arrived at the hospital Helen greeted us in her black Hanbok (Korean traditional dress). Most wakes in Korea take place in a special area of the hospital.
We were introduced to her family and friends, and then ushered into a room where her father's photo and casket were. Each of us was given a white chrysanthemum to place on his casket.
After a brief bow we were then ushered into an area where all the relatives and friends gather to eat and mourn.
Helen and her husband, Joseph, are holding up very well. There son was there, but unfortunately, their daughter is studying in America and won't be able to return for the funeral on Sunday.
Both I and my coworker, Whitney, have lost a parent in the last year, and a third coworker's father had a heart attack last week. It was a very difficult evening for all of us, yet Helen took the time to speak to us.
She is very close with her family, but told me that she has been very busy this last week and hadn't found time to visit with her father over the last few days. She told me that she had wanted her father to visit her new house, but hasn't had time for him to come over. I understand her guilt.
I tried to hold it together, but had difficulty when looking at her eyes - they were so sad and empty. I can truly see in her eyes how much her father meant to her.
Her mother has taken the news very badly and had to be taken to the hospital last night. In addition to the loss of her father she is very worried about her mother.
I know that our presence meant a lot to her and her family. I can only remember how difficult those first few days are.
This weekend I plan to spend a lot of time reflecting on this event and simply remembering.
The following is from an email that my sister sent me when my father was ill.
You may have read it before, but I urge you to read it again. They truly are words to live by.

Moments in Life

There are moments in life when you miss someone so much that you just
want to pick them from your dreams and hug them for real!

When the door of happiness closes, another opens; but often times we
look so long at the
closed door that we don't see the one,
which has been opened for us.

Don't go for looks; they can deceive.
Don't go for wealth; even that fades away.
Go for someone who makes you smile,
because it takes only a smile to
make a dark day seem bright.
Find the one that makes your heart smile.

Dream what you want to dream;
go where you want to go;
be what you want to be,
because you have only one life
and one chance to do all the things
you want to do.

May you have enough happiness to make you sweet, enough trials to make
you strong,
enough sorrow to keep you human and
enough hope to make you happy.

The happiest of people don't necessarily
have the best of everything;
they just make the most of
everything that comes along their way.

The brightest future will always
be based on a forgotten past;
you can't go forward in life until
you let go of your past failures and heartaches.

When you were born, you were crying
and everyone around you was smiling.
Live your life so at the end,
you're the one who is smiling and everyone
around you is crying.


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