At the end of May this year, my mom, Sonia Ko Park, passed away after a long bout of suffering and being confined to a hospital. We are thankful for the time we were able to see her and spend time with her.
I remember my mom, from the time when I was very little, growing up in Brooklyn, New York. She used to work as a nurse. She would work very hard, till 11 pm. She also made miyeokguk (seaweed soup) with mu (radish).
As a young child, I remember wearing fancy red shoes and going to church with my mom and dad. I remember my mom being very strict. When Jason and Jeanette were born (my younger brother and sister), I remember helping her take care of them.
She would buy crab, pick ssukat namul (mugwort greens) and gosari (type of fern, popular with Koreans) from wooded areas, plain ingredients, and then make food that was tasty and healthy.
She loved to garden, something I picked up in my later years. Although she was not eager to show it, she loved animals, and I remember having three different dogs at various times growing up: one was Lady (my favorite), then Jinho, and finally Ricky.
Every Sunday, after church, we would go to Brooklyn Botanical Gardens, and Jason, Jeanette, and I would roll down the long green hill at the entrance to the gardens.
When I grew older, she taught me how to drive. I contributed to her gray hairs when she chaperoned me driving to work, at 25 years old, for my first full-time job. She’d sit next to me as I drove to work, then, while I was at work, wait and sleep in the car for 8 hours until I was done. She’d chaperone me driving home afterwards.
After I had my own kid, I realized, even more, how much she worked and dedicated herself to her family and kids. I was barely keeping up with my then-2-year-old, whereas she had raised three kids! I called her and thanked her after my son was born.
Thank you mom for all you’ve done raising Jeanette, Jason, and me. As we get older, we realize more and more how much you sacrificed for us. We miss you, and look forward to seeing you again in heaven . . . we love you.
Merry Christmas, Mom.
This post is dedicated to all those who have lost loved ones in the past two years (and beyond), and those suffering through difficult and fearful circumstances. Life is full of pain at times, but that points us to a greater hope that lies outside the circles of this world.