November 10, 1999. It took me nearly 10 years to acknowledge her death to someone outside my family.
최재란. God-fearing wife and daughter. Mother of 3. Sister to 3. High school chemistry teacher turned evangelist. Succumbed to a tumor under her left armpit in the breast, which I’m told eventually spread up to her brain. She was 38.
She fought a good fight, I’m told. Her church community and friends were devastated, I’m told. She was very loved, I’m told. She loved us very much, I’m told.
I know she did. She told us every Saturday night on the phone. My two brothers and I left Korea during her treatment. Jeremy was 13, I was 8, Daniel 5. My grandparents, my dad’s side, would look after us in the States until she got better. She sent us packages with Korean bible study books for kids. She wrote us letters: each of us got our own. It often had stick figure illustrations. Her signature sign off was two lips kissing, which looked like a 3 kissing an inverted 3. My grandma used to say she’d always been a gifted writer of letters.
For six months after her death, my dad called on her behalf and said she was too weak to talk on the phone. I vividly remember the sadness in his voice.
I can’t remember our last moment together, my mother in flesh. I remember chasing through the corridors inside a hospital with my little brother. I can’t remember her last words to me, mine to her. I can’t remember any of it. At the time it didn’t hold as much significance as it does now in retrospect. I thought we would see her again.
The last time I saw her, she appeared in my dream. I was 9, living in a small apartment in Fullerton with my grandmother and two brothers. She was in a white hospital gown. Gaunt. Skin and bones. Because we never saw pictures of her during her treatment, it deeply shocked me. The texture of the dream resembled a gritty noir film. She was running ahead of me, and I chased. I chased her through some corridors. Then she abruptly came to a stop, about 20 feet ahead of me. So did I. She turned around and looked at me across the distance, and waved. I stayed where I was. Her face was difficult to read. The next morning, I excitedly told my grandma about the dream. At the time I thought it was just a dream. Some six months later I would learn that she had died that weekend.
According to a journal entry from April 8, 2010, she has appeared in my dream once more since.
In this dream, I was handed her corpse in a grey bag and told to cremate her body. I took her to the crematorium. When her corpse turned into powder, I dug my hands deep; it felt like beach sand. I held her close to me. Then she appeared next to me and we hugged affectionately for a very long time. It felt as if I was dreaming inside my dream; her body didn’t feel corporeal. It was like two spirits hugging.
I wade through memories in my effort to memorialize her. I remember how she let me cut my hair short and wear boyish clothes like my brothers, and how she gave away a closet full of my frilly dresses, gifts from my grandparents from the states, to my friends’ mothers who were just beside themselves.
One time we sled down a snowy slope together and crashed hard at the bottom. I remember the first thought in my head was to check whether her wig had stayed on. It did. She glowed.
Another time she spanked me with the neck of a broom for stealing candy at a local supermarket. I remember the door closing behind me when I got home — her friend at the supermarket had spotted my friends and me. It’s funny in retrospect.
One time she told me her favorite color was yellow.
Another time, I was on an errand at the market for her. I used a pay phone to ask her if I could buy pancake mix. She said no.
Another time, I had a really bad fever — she had me strip down to my underwear and sweat out on my bed. I was keenly aware that my brothers’ friends were in the living room. She closed the door, dabbed me with a cold wet towel and prayed for me in tongues.
These hazy snapshots seem random and vapid with respect to her larger character, but it is, ineffably, what stuck over the years. The more I try, I realize to my frustration that I know very little. Because I remember very little. But I recognize that she lives in me and through me, genetically, spiritually, beyond my conscious awareness. I am my mother’s daughter. 나는 내엄마애 딸이다. For the first time, these words stir in me a deep sense of pride.
30 Aug 2014 / 12 notes
David Brooks (via observando)
Virginia Woolf (via observando)
David Carradine (via observando)
The last words said by Black youth murdered by policemen.
This shit is chilling and made me tear up.
the shame of a nation!!!!!!!!!!!
late night impulse to share. stay tuned for the fully produced track to be released very soon.
16 Aug 2014 / 0 notes
Walt Whitman (via observando)
James Baldwin (via cosmofilius)
Although at first glance this may look like something right out of a horror film, the concept behind the project is quite endearing.
Tahereh Mafi, Ignite Me (via quoted-books)
"Page 46 of the iOS 7 terms and conditions"
How did yOU EVEN FIND THIS WHAT
when they say simpons did it already
they’re not fucking kidding
Joan Acocella on Savion Glover’s “Om,” a “truly extraordinary dance show, one that you can tell your grandchildren you saw”: http://nyr.kr/U4ro0O
Photograph by Richard Termine.
Malaysian artist Monica Lee draws amazingly photo-realistic images with graphite pencils.