Archive for the ‘family’ Category

Dreaming about mom

Monday, September 10th, 2007

I dreamt about my mother last night. I haven’t done that since she died. I don’t know if I’ve ever done that — I can’t recall ever dreaming about her, but it’s hard to remember dreams anyway.

I remembered it vividly while I slept, but now all I remember is that I dreamt that she came back from the dead and was sitting at a table with us talking about dying. In the dream, I so heartbroken. I was crying in my sleep and I woke up in the middle of the night crying.

I think it affected my entire day. I wanted to stay isolated, dwelling on my own thoughts. And now, for the first time in many weeks, I feel lonely, like I’m missing something.

The other day I saw a hummingbird on my patio for the first time since I’ve lived here. My plants are doing awesome on the patio and are blooming like crazy right now. Some of the plants I took from my mother’s garden are blooming for the first time since I’ve had them. This weekend, I looked out on the patio and saw a hummingbird in the geraniums. My sister thinks that when a hummingbird visits her, it’s mom. I don’t believe that but because she does, whenever I see one, I think of both her and my mom.

For me, there are multiple types of “writing”. There’s my hardcopy journal, my blog, my fiction, and then long personal emails. And each pulls at me at different times. I think I write in my journal and send personal emails least often, my fiction second, and my blog first. But fiction’s moving on up. I want it to win out over all the others. I dragged myself out of almost sleep last night and this morning to start a new story. Answering the call to write is natural now in a way that hasn’t been for a long time. And it keeps me sane and content and hopeful in a way I haven’t felt in a long time either.

My son, the jock

Friday, September 7th, 2007

My son called me yesterday just after his first water polo practice and I was so proud of him! Not because I want him to be some high school jock, but precisely because he’s not. I’ve tried to encourage him to exercise, to moderate what he eats and to make healthier choices. I try to lead by example and hope that my passion for running and vegetables gets ingrained in his brain and sprouts new neurons that help associate running -> mom -> good.

Treading water for a long time is hard. Even more so for someone who isn’t in physical shape. He just had his first practice but they have their first game this week. And he doesn’t have to play if he doesn’t feel comfortable, but he said he thought he’d give it a shot anyway.

He just started high school, too, so I was asking how he liked it. He says he’s getting pushed around. Walking down the hall, someone’ll just push him against the lockers. Being a girl, I didn’t know this kind of torment in high school. I think there was some mild freshman hazing in band (yes, I was in my high school band), but it was nothing. Is that because you’re the new kid? Yeah. So I guess it’s happening to your friends, too? No, just me. Porsch (his older sister) thinks its because of the way I dress. Cause they’re all gangsters.

Oh, it made my heart cringe! I was picturing him in my head in his clothes and wondering what about them might be offensive — a futile exercise really because what do I know about what’s in the minds of today’s teenagers? Not to mention teenagers growing up in a different environment than I did. I didn’t even know what was in their minds when I was one of them.

Are you going to join a gang? No, mom, why would I do that?

I’m proud of him because he’s strong and makes do. Like I do. You learn what lessons you can, then move on. Not to say that nothing gets to you and that things don’t end up festering in your heart, but there’s a resilience that makes even the worst of things bearable enough to get through. Because if they weren’t, you’d end up crazy or dead. High school isn’t forever, but it always seems like it is.

96th Birthday

Saturday, August 25th, 2007

We went to my grandma’s 96th birthday party today. Seeing me and my sister always makes my grandmother cry. And it’s hard on my aunt and uncle, too — the ones that were closest to my mom. All of which wets my eyes and breaks my heart (used to make me bawl).

Grandma on her 96th birthday with Korean and American birthday cake Me, Jess, Doug & Cousins

Grandma on her 96th birthday

Cousin Joseph, Me, Doug, Cousin Allis, Jess

Revisiting the accident

Saturday, August 25th, 2007

To attend Grandma’s birthday, we were driving on the freeway my mom died on today and it’s a regular drive for my sister, but it’s only the 2nd time I’ve driven it since my mom’s accident over a year and a half ago. As we were driving home, I was watching the side of the road wondering how the hell she drifted off into the dirt shoulder when the asphalt shoulder is so wide, but then it narrows and I imagine that must be where.

In my obsessive post death search for anything related to my mom, I found a callous post on some usenet group about her accident and it made me so upset. Just a couple of days ago, I happened across it again unintentionally and it incited some old anger in me. But it quelled pretty quickly. Death is so commonplace — it’s meaningless unless it’s personal. According to the Fatality Analysis Reporting System, over 39,000 people die a year in fatal car accidents in the U.S. (at least back in 2005 and trending upward every year). And according to the CDC, motor vehicle fatalities were only about 0.02% of all fatalities per year in the U.S between 1988-1992 (source: Atlas of United States Mortality), though motor vehicle accidents are the leading cause of injury death in the U.S. (between 1979-2004).

At over 2 million deaths a year, that averages out to close to 6000 deaths per day (rounding liberally).

It’s been long enough that I can start weaving the story of her death into my stories. Bits and pieces of that whole experience (most of which I’ve blogged here) will color both the fiction and nonfiction I write for probably the rest of my life. One random death on one day like any other, but this one was my personal death.

Still grieving…and I thought I was done

Sunday, July 1st, 2007

It’s been a year and a half now and I realized well after Mother’s Day that I’m not done grieving. And long after I thought I was o.k., I realize I’m not. I still miss her. I finally went to go talk to someone — I told myself I would much earlier, but never got around to it. The weeks before and the weeks after Mother’s Day this year were so bleak and dark that I finally felt myself snap. And I still wasn’t sure it was grief. Just everything else in my life gone wrong.

I’ve never been to a psychologist before and I’m fairly suspect of their efficacy. But I can’t argue the benefit of having someone to talk to that won’t tell anyone else what you’ve told them and that isn’t a part of your normal life. Someone you can share things with that you’ve stopped sharing with your friends and family. Because you’re worried you’ll wear them out, worried of going over the same ground over and over again, and because you don’t even realize that you need to keep covering that ground.

When I called to make my appointment I asked, what do you specialize in?. I figure they must all have something they specialize in. She said she didn’t have a speciality, but dealt mostly with work issues, grief, and life changes. I told her she was perfect and went to see her. I spent half the session talking about my mom and I hadn’t anticipated that. I haven’t told the story of the accident in so long, it was cathartic to retell it and to recall that memory, slightly faded as it was. She told me I should start reading one of the many books I’d bought on grief that I never got around to reading so I started On Grief and Grieving tonight. And the intro is already full of God so I’m skeptical, but it’s also full of dying and that’s cathartic, too.

I got a phone message this week about a car accident my mom was in before her death. And it made me sad and angry. Why do I have to deal with this? Shouldn’t this be over? But I guess life and all its responsibilities go on after death for the rest of us still living.

Death’s been busy in my life lately. I just finished Harry Potter: The Half Blood Prince. It made me sob. I recently joined a new writers group and one of our first stories is about the loss of a son. Haven’t had the heart to read it yet. My sister’s fiance’s stepfather just passed away yesterday. I only met him once, but my heart breaks for his wife.

And me — I don’t want to say goodbye. But I know I have to.

Another Mother’s Day without her

Sunday, May 13th, 2007

Our second mother’s day since her accident. We were at the grave on Saturday and I sat there wondering how much money people spend on flowers for their dead loved ones, how much money have we spent in the last 478 days on flowers for my mother’s grave? And how long are we supposed to keep it up? For the rest of our lives? I don’t begrudge the money (I only rarely am there purchasing the flowers myself), but wonder anyway.

I was at the Korean market 2 weekends ago and I haven’t been in a Korean market in a long time. I sobbed the entire way home. I had foolishly thought that I was over grieving, but that car ride home make me realize how much I still miss having her in my life. And I’ve been thinking about her ever since.

My sister made Josh and I these beautiful picture frames with photos of us with her. Josh showed me his and I started sobbing. It was a picture of her smiling and him so much younger and smaller in front of Burger King. Time slips by too fast: we age, things change in big and small ways and often irreversibly. Josh will never be that small again. My mom will never smile like that again for the camera. Life is a series of heartbreaks and disappointments and sadness. Mixed in with some less morbid stuff that makes those things bearable.

I look at her photo almost every day. The same half smile on her lips, the same almost sad expression in her eyes. Sometimes I ring the hummingbird chimes, tell her photo good morning or good night, touch the things that remind me of her, wear her ring. Sometimes days or weeks go by and I don’t think of her. And other times I can’t stop thinking about her. Sometimes I sob for missing her. But most of the time I’m fine.

It’s mother’s day and I was thinking about my son today and wondering if he worries about me. We were talking about smoking and riding motorcycles this weekend. I don’t want him to do either (not yet with the motorcycle anyway; never with the cigarettes), but I can’t tell him not to. Not when I do both. I wonder if he realizes we want to protect him, and that when we don’t want him to do these things it’s because of our years of experience, not because we want to deny him pleasure. I was thinking tonight that worrying about your child and worrying about your partner are very different things — you can love both unconditionally, but you accept that your partner is an adult and you don’t try to change him. With your child, you want to influence, change, and shape him and wonder how best to do that without taking away his sense of free will. I don’t have a partner right now, and I’m not the most influential person in my son’s life, but I worry about both anyway.

The first year of grief

Saturday, January 20th, 2007

I was at the gravesite thinking, a whole year has passed without our mom and I made it just fine. Jess is a little behind, but she’ll make it just fine, too. Not that I don’t miss her, not that I’d rather she wasn’t with us, and certainly not that I don’t have moments where I feel like I only just lost her. But we’re all still living.

The weather was nice — sunny, clear, not too cold or windy at all. The cemetary was deserted and devoid of color. Last time I visited, it was around Christmas and the graves were full of flowers — bright red poinsettias, miniature Christmas trees. Gifts and flowers and cheerfullness.

I couldn’t help but think how weird it is to visit a patch of grass and think of my mom. Her body’s there, but what does that mean? We brought flowers, we shed some tears, brushed off the gravestone, touched each other for comfort. I had my hand on my father’s calf at one point and realized he was getting thinner. Then I was thinking, god, this is how it starts. You start to get smaller and smaller and pretty soon, you’re just a little wisp of the person you used to be and your breath just leaves you. Then you end up underneath some patch of grass. And yet, we keep living.

Almost a year since my mother’s death

Thursday, January 18th, 2007

Friday is the one year anniversary of my mother’s death. And I think that coming up on it has been harder on me than I realized. I keep crying in the car. Which is somehow where I think of her most often. And I haven’t been talking about it with my friends. Tonight I told someone I’ve only recently met about the accident. Did I tell you how my mother died? Driving on the freeway, slipped into the shoulder, over corrected, went out of control, banged her head real hard on the frame. Died instantly. People said it was violent, the car rolling over and over and bouncing so high in the air. People said she was ejected out of the window. Only the violent part is true.

A friend of mine wrote me the most touching email. It made me cry — in a good way, knowing he’s keeping his fingers crossed for me and I didn’t even know about it. I went for a run at midnight tonight. I know it sounds obsessive, but in my semi fragile mental state, I couldn’t afford not to. Between the calming effects of the run, and the warm fuzzies from his email, I think I can safely fall asleep now.

Changes

Friday, November 24th, 2006

Our first Thanksgiving without our mom. It was ok. I usually do the turkey, gravy, cranberry sauce, homemade stuffing, plus occasional other holiday food stuffs. Normally I cook a pretty good turkey — not too dry and never undercooked. Well, never until this year anyway. And the gravy was off and I cooked the leftover stuffing with too much water so it was mushy. Oh well. We made it and Doug still said it was a lovely dinner :)

I magically lost 6 pounds this last month (and probably put back on a couple today). I don’t know from where cause I certainly don’t feel thinner, but aparently smoking and stress’ll help you do that.

So changes…I’m moving back to the city. Broke up with the fiance and gave back the ring that was worth more than everything I owned put together at the time that I got it (before I inherited half my mother’s estate — which isn’t that much, but worth more than an engagement ring :)

I got a letter from Wells Fargo saying I was the beneficiary of my mother’s retirement account and it made me bawl. Just thinking about her doing something while she was alive for me made me incredibly sad. And I’ve been thinking a lot about her. I suppose for many reasons — the changes in my life, the holidays, the stress and sadness of breaking up. I adored him, but in the end we just made each other miserable. He brought out the worst qualities in me. And over the last two years that I’ve been with him, I haven’t grown one bit in my life. If anything, I’ve degenerated into a more useless person than I’d normally be. But I think that demoralization can do that to you.

I always try to set a positive spin on things. And I’m excited about having my own space again — where no one will tell me to clean my crap up if I leave it laying over the floor. I’ll miss the pets, but not the responsibility. I can’t wait to move back into the city; I’ve missed it ever since I left. I won’t miss living in the remote woods where I couldn’t spend a night by myself without anxiety and where the roof rats sounded like they were as big as my cats. I’ll miss Frank, but I’m looking forward to a fresh start and a new life.

I’ll spend the New Year’s in Rhode Island again. Which seems appropriate because I spent it there last year while Frank and I were broken up for those couple of months. I’m looking forward to snow :)

Wandering in my underwear

Monday, July 24th, 2006

I was out with the dogs for their last pee before bed in a tank top, panties, and my motorcycle riding boots — no, don’t ask me why I was dressed that way. I was standing outside picking up dog poop in my panties thinking to myself, there are some advantages to living remotely. We have one direct neighbor — a family of 5, soon to be 6, and their front door is probably at least half a mile from our front door — going up our driveway, down the street briefly, and then down their driveway. And there are lots of trees giving each of us privacy in our respective yards.

It reminded of a night that we were having a dinner party at our old place and my girlfriend came over early to help, and told me I was wearing the strangest outfit ever. I’d thrown some stuff together to stay warm — I dress indiscriminately when I’m at home, and especially when I’m cold. And I remember feeling warm about that comment because it reminded me of my mom and how strangely she dressed around the house at times (and sometimes out). I remember thinking at the time how funny it was that I was turning into her. When my mom got into her accident, she was dressed in layers of clothing. I don’t know why — she must’ve been so cold to have so much clothing on. She was such a tiny little thing, too — I bet the extra clothes filled her out.

We kept those clothes for a long time. At the funeral home, I wanted everything. We got one shoe, and later one got the rest of her clothes. But not the other shoe — that ended up being in the car. There was something disturbing about the fact that her shoes were separated like that. It bothered me for a long time.

I don’t know what I thought I’d do with the clothes — I just wanted anything and everything that was hers, that was near her during the accident. The worst thing in the packet of personal items that the coroner’s office sent over was a bloody fabric eyeglass chain in a little tiny plastic baggy that said “soiled” on it. When I laid out the clothes finally, they were covered in mold from being tied up in a plastic bag wet and left to rot, and soiled with dried blood. Layers of clothes, and I imagined her wearing them, imagined her putting those clothes on her last morning. They smelled so awful and were horrifying to look at. We eventually ended up throwing them away. Some things shouldn’t be saved.

Death and the mall

Tuesday, July 11th, 2006

We dropped off Jess at the airport on Saturday and then were driving to Valley Fair Mall — Frank wanted to go to a store in there. I started thinking about my mom in the car right after we dropped off the sis. I was at that mall when my dad called to tell me, about 6 hours after her accident. I remember asking him if he went to see her at the hospital and he was trying to tell me she didn’t make it to the hospital and all I could think was why didn’t she go to the hospital? I thought at first she was just hurt. And how sad that no one visited her. I couldn’t really understand my dad. What was wrong with my mom? Did they really do everything they could? How did they know she didn’t need to go to the hospital? And how come they didn’t call us? How could they not have our contact information? They said it took some time to find my father’s information so for a while my mom was just some body with no identifiable loved ones to claim her.

I remember being mad at Frank for not coming out to get me. I had to call my dad back because I couldn’t hear him when he first called me but knew enough to be scared. I ran outside to call him back. I was out there for so long, I thought for sure Frank would come get me. I didn’t want to go back in so wet and sad. But he didn’t come out and I was mad cause I needed him, but I knew he was just respecting my privacy.

I went home and tore through everything looking for photos of her. I listened to her New Year’s Eve message over and over again. I found these stamps she’d given me with her handwriting on the package. I missed her so much I didn’t know what it would do to me. And now, it seems so far away. But every now and again, I pull it close. Cause I don’t want to let her go.

My leave

Wednesday, May 24th, 2006

i accomplished less than i wanted to over my leave, but it was good time off and away. i tried to not pressure myself to do anything and succeeded. i got started on two out of the three things i wanted to do over leave, but got much less cleaned up at my mom’s than i wanted to. actually, i felt like i pretty much left the house the way it was when i first got there.

i think the time with my sister was good. talking about my mom, seeing my dad, talking about my dad with my sister. all those things were good. i was starting to feel all shut up about my mom, not really talking about her and feeling like i needed to, but not sure with who or how, and feeling really sad and hurt and bottling it all up. my leave came just in time. i got to see my sister just in time for me not to get all crazy. and now i feel ok. i still miss my mom. i still think about her a lot, i still cry whenever i think about the accident, but i think about the accident less and less frequently.

my father’s really sort of come out of his shell lately. he called me the other day just to chat. my father has never done that in my entire life. i was touched. he talks more than he ever has. he’s very open. and seeing this side of him, i think about my sister and i and how much she’s like my mother and how much i’m like my father. i’m also my mother and jess is also very much my father, but there’s tighter coupling the other way around. and i think it’s interesting. i want my father to be happy. sometimes i think my mom’s death opened up new things for all of us. and closed some other things down.

Seven+ mile party

Monday, May 22nd, 2006

Sunday morning:

me: I thought you said you were going to use the other rollers.
jess: I didn’t say that.
me: Yes, you did, you idiot.
jess: Uh, no, I didn’t.
me: Well, I can’t use these — my hair’s too thick, I can fit enough of these on my head!

jess: you’ve been mean to me all week, you bitch.
me: you’ve only been here one day!
…one hour later…
jay: I can’t believe you and your sister were fighting over hair curlers this morning.

Look, we got three hours of sleep. I’m on pain medication, she’s a mini pharmacy. Drinks, late night, early morning…go figure. We made up half an hour later and for the rest of the day I’d laugh about that stupid fight.

We did our 2nd Bay to Breakers this year. It is seriously just one long, unofficially locally sanctioned costume party / drink-a-thon. This year we came prepared with lots of food, drink, and water. I think our first year we didn’t have enough food or alcohol. I haven’t gotten my pictures up, but Ineke has!

Moving on

Friday, April 28th, 2006

going through more of my mom’s stuff a few days ago, i was reminded of how much she expected of us. of all of us. and how difficult it is to meet someone else’s expectations of you, especially when the two of you are so different and value different things.

i was reminded again about how i knew next to nothing about her. in the car last thursday on our way to visit the grave, i mentioned to my uncle that she never told us stories about her childhood. oh that’s because she was so busy. busy doing what, uncle? well our dad died when she was 10… and somehow the conservation ended after i asked how our grandpa died. it seemed like such an important conversation, how’d i get distracted?

jess and i made a trip to the dump today. jess loved it. we were the only two women out there — everyone else looked like a professional and was male. she loved it so much, she wants to go back tomorrow morning (i think she’s just eager to throw things away :). and what a relief to get rid of some trash. we have so many more dump trips to make. and goodwill trips. and craigslist postings. and god knows what else.

i’ve been watching so much tv. i have it on all the time as background noise, when i’m eating, while i knit, hanging out with jess. never really idling in front of the tv; always doing something. little fingers busy, busy. the other night on king of the hill some kid was wearing a “praying is not a crime” shirt, which at first i took to be a nod to the EFF. though doing a search on “is not a crime” seems to indicate that anything and everything can be tied to this phrase so who knows.

so i’ve almost completed my 2nd week of leave. i haven’t gotten as much done on the house as i thought i would. and i haven’t started studying my korean again, but i started writing again and going to the gym regularly again. two out of three isn’t bad, and i still have over 2 weeks to go…

Mostly ok

Monday, April 24th, 2006

i don’t know why it’s been so long since i’ve written. i do know that i’ve thought less about my mom, don’t talk about her so much, mostly think i’m ok. but every now and again driving in the car at night i’ll start crying like i just lost her again. usually when i’m alone. sometimes when i’m in the car with frank.

i realized recently how bad it’s been for me to not talk about her. and now that i’m back home in irvine, it’s easy to talk about her. easy to feel her near when i’m living in her house. i’m on leave from work for a month and am entering my 2nd week of leave. it’s already going by too fast.

i still miss her. and when it hurts it’s as raw as it ever was, but life’s moving forward. for everyone.


Mom in 1996 graduating with her Masters in Divinty.
She still looks so young!

It’s been so long…

Tuesday, March 21st, 2006

I don’t know why it’s taken me so long to come back here. I haven’t blogged since I came back to Mountain View. The 49th day picnic was small with just my sister and I and my uncle and aunt. My dad was there, too, though we weren’t sure he’d make it. I think the 49th day is supposed to be end of the period of intense grieving. Now your altar to the dead one gets smaller. You buy fewer flowers, burn less candles, put her photo in a smaller frame. I don’t know yet if my sister is doing any of these things.

I know my grief has mellowed. I still think about her a lot. I still have my moments of quiet and reflection where I break down and sob, but just to myself. I don’t let anyone else see that; it’s a very private moment I’m having. I still have her photo. Still burn a flame.

Mom working in the office, 1980's
Mom working hard in my dad’s office, 1980s.

My dad and I came across this photo early on. He commented on how hard she always worked. She only ever thought of us.

Visiting the car

Saturday, March 4th, 2006

Seeing my mom’s car was probably the worst thing we’ve done since she died. The traffic investigator warned me several times not to go see it, but everyone warned us about everything and none of it turned out as bad as I thought it would so I didn’t give his warnings much credence. The Tow and Mo people are disorganized as hell though. First they sent me to the wrong facility, then they told me the car wasn’t released from evidence even though two days before they’d told me the car had been released for a long time, when was I going to pick it up? We meant to go see it Tuesday, but I had called and they needed the title and it took us a couple of days to find it.

The car was so smashed up and damaged. Much more than I’d imagined it to be. I thought I was pretty prepared for it after having see the news coverage video of the car after the wreck, but it’d been a long time since I’d seen it, and I had remembered a different image of the car than the one I saw at the tow place.

And there was so much stuff in the car. The officer said there wasn’t anything in it, but he was wrong. There were clothes, her other shoe (which I’d been wondering about when I’d taken her clothes out), makeup, toothbrush, coinpurse. Her glasses. Covered in dried blood. Those were the hardest to see. I thought we had the glasses she was wearing, but those were glasses that must’ve been on her person. These were the glasses she was wearing when she died and they managed not to get broken, but were completely covered in blood.

And there was blood splashed onto the seats and sides of the car, there was blood pooled in the passenger seat, there was blood in the front and back. I just imagined her in the car during the accident. The physical body is just a delicate, fragile thing when compared to a hunk of metal folded in on itself. How do you protect your flesh against crushed metal? Broken glass everywhere. How did her shoe get into the back seat? Did it fly off her foot as the car was rolling over, or did it fall out of the car and they threw it into the backseat as they cleaned up? The back seat, where they threw in the other chunks of car as they must’ve cleaned up the street.

I’d just been talking about how it felt like it was getting too easy. The car, the car ruined it for me. It was a dose of reality for both of us. Sometimes I think Jess is all I have left. My dad’s just as remote as always. And I love him, but he’s distant. Jess is all I have.


Mom in San Diego, CA. 1970

me & jess, ohio.

Other people lose their moms too

Wednesday, March 1st, 2006

I was emailing a friend of mine the other day and he told me to appreciate the fact that I’d had my mom for as long as I did. And I thought to myself, it wasn’t nearly long enough. But his mother committed suicide when he was just a few years old and I felt like an insensitive whiner for going on and on about my mom. Another good friend of mine lost his mom at a very young age, too, and for some reason when I lost my mom, I forgot all about these other folks who’ve lost their moms, too.

I was lucky to have her for as long as I did. I wish I’d known her better; I always thought I eventually would, but I took it for granted. Just like I took for granted having my mom at all. The rawness of the loss has healed over a bit. And even going through and organizing her things isn’t so difficult and I manage to do a little every day, but every now and again I find something that feels so intimate and revealing and it takes my breath away. Yesterday it was a wooden box full of quarters she collected and I pictured her putting quarters into it and it breathed life into her in my imagination. It’s probably the hardest thing now — imagining her doing very specific things and feeling her living in my head for a moment. But it’s a nice thing, too.

I couldn’t get on as well as I have if it weren’t for my sister. I think about her all the time. I mean I’m living with her, too, but I worry and think about her all the time anyway. I think about how sweet and generous she can be and what a rotten sister I’ve been. She sent me this photo the other day:


Mom. Korea.

I don’t know who all those children are, but she looks so young and has the most beautiful smile in this photo. I worry about my sister living here all alone when I leave. But hopefully that won’t be for at least a little while, so I’ll worry about it then.

I still feel like hell. I’m so conjested that sometimes my head feels like it’s in a vise. Just turning or nodding my head hurts. I worked today for a little bit, but didn’t make it much past 2pm. Then I slept until dinner time. And I’m ready for sleep yet again.

First birthday

Sunday, February 26th, 2006

We celebrated Josh’s birthday today, a few days early. Our first celebration without my mom. We invited a close aunt and uncle and they stopped by, but couldn’t stay. My grief is nothing compared to my aunt’s. She can’t even come over to the house without difficulty because it was my mom’s house. She was visiting grandma yesterday and sighted a pair of my mom’s shoes and those sent her into tears. And seeing her sobbing started me going, too.

I’ve been thinking lately how it’s gotten so much easier. How I don’t cry at night anymore thinking about her. And when I do think about her, the sadness doesn’t stay with me as long, and I think I’m afraid I’m going to lose her, to forget her, and forget what she meant to me. I’m afraid of going back to Mountain View because at least here, I’m always surrounded by her. Distance always makes me forget and I don’t want that to happen.


Pic Jess sent me…me with mom in Korea.
Making kimchee in the winter. About 1976.

I’ve been so sick lately. I woke up Friday with the mother of all sore throats and I don’t feel too physically owful, but my throat is killing me and I’m sneezing and congested. It feels more like a bad allergy attack than a virus. And if I don’t keep drinking hot water to ease my throat, I feel like I’m dying of thirst.

We keep putting off going to visit the car and talking to the investigator. And calling the mortuary about the incorrect death certificates. It’s no longer that I can’t bear to do these things, but if I keep putting it off, maybe I just won’t have to. But that’s the runner away in me; that’s too easy. Tomorrow. I’ll probably call in sick so tomorrow. I’ll call.

Fairness, suicide, and God

Thursday, February 23rd, 2006

Sometimes I think to myself it’s not fair. Then immediately refute it, because what’s fair? It is fair my sister has the physical problems of someone twice her age? Is it fair my crazy fucking ****** didn’t manage to kill himself when he wanted to but my mom died in an accident? Is it fair I have a car and a job and a roof over my head? The world and life don’t exactly balance out.

Sometimes I think about god and faith. It’s times like this that try the non-believer cause it would be so nice to believe my mom was in heaven hanging out with god. Or to believe in any sort of warm and fuzzy afterlife. A friend of mine told me he believed in god because he couldn’t believe we spent our lives connecting with other people and that there wasn’t anything else afterwards. But I think it’s the connections that keep us here on earth. Why would anyone want to continue living if there weren’t connections tying us down? Or propping us up?

I was telling someone today how all I blog about anymore is my mom, and how boring that must be for an outsider. How much of someone else’s grief can you possibly listen to? I keep telling myself I’m going to blog about something in a category other than grief, but I can’t seem to free up the brain cycles to do it yet. I’ve been reading the news, thinking about my future, but neither of these seem to warrant the attention my mother does.


Mom, me, dad, and my cousin in red with my Aunt holding him
at my dad’s graduation in 1974. Korea.