Posts Tagged ‘old photos’

Sisterly love

Thursday, September 24th, 2009

I’m back in Southern California working on cleaning out my mom’s place again. I’m pretty sure we won’t be done until at least the end of the year because there is so much stuff.

We had lunch with my favorite aunt and uncle, and my dad. After lunch my aunt told us stories about my mom — stories I’d never heard before. My mother never told us stories about herself. I always knew this aunt was her closest sister, but hearing about their lives together made me miss my mom, wish I’d made her tell me stories, wish I spoke Korean fluently, and made me realize once again how much my aunt loved her and still misses her.

I looked in vain for a good photo of my mom and my aunt when they were young. Then I decided I’d settle for any photo of the two of them, but couldn’t find one in the stash of photos here. They’re probably in my stash of mom’s photos in San Francisco. But here’s one of my favorites of my own sister. She and I weren’t as close as my aunt and mom when we were younger, but we certainly are now.

My sister and me in Ohio
My sister and me: Elementary school years in Ohio

Missing her

Saturday, February 4th, 2006

We’re on our yearly Tahoe trip. I was at the Google ski trip dinner last night and all of a sudden was thinking about my mom and tearing up at the table. I’ve kept it together pretty well and I kept myself in check last night, and normally I can get through the day like anyone else, but sometimes an unexpected spike of grief’ll hit me and make my throat tighten.

I have a portable memorial that I created for the trip. A little wooden box with a small photo of her in a frame that my uncle gave me (a small version of the one we used at the funeral), a small cross, some tiny, fake pink roses I found in my room, a pink cloth to set underneath the photo, and a small candle holder and candles. My sister brought up some more pictures of her when she got here and she laid them around the little photo and candles I’d set up. I’ll scan them in and post them when I get back to Irvine.

I miss her, I think about her all the time.

Sharon Ahn (Pyong Nim Cha), baby Kathy, and goat
My mom and me with a goat. Korea.

You’re so beautiful

Wednesday, February 1st, 2006

I was driving home from Target last night after buying a new frame for my mom’s photo and some candles and every song I heard on the radio made me think of her and cry. “You’re so beautiful, it’s true…And I’ll never be with you…” I can’t remember the lyrics of the other song that really got to me, but they were similarly poignant.

We were in the truck driving to Tahoe today and we started into a curve in the road just a little too fast and Mike said, No, death. Just say no to death. And the way he said it made me laugh! But I was thinking, too, that my mom should’ve said no to death. No, death, no.

My sister took a photo of a photo with her cell phone and emailed it to me last night. I wanted to post it last night, but fell asleep before I could.

Sharon Ahn (Pyong Nim Cha) Wedding
Mom’s Wedding (I guess early 1970’s)

Comforting ourselves

Tuesday, January 31st, 2006

It’s funny the little things we do to comfort ourselves, because really, what do the dead know about the fresh flowers you buy them? Or the candles you religously burn in front of their pictures? The little altars you build for them? As if not doing these things could possibly mean you missed them less, that somehow your loss isn’t as intense as it is.

I do it anyway. Another one of those ways to keep myself busy remembering my mom.

I went to work. My co-workers are wonderful. At first I didn’t know how I was going to make it through the day, but the mindless numbness of going through over a week of email didn’t seem so bad after a couple of hours. In fact, it was reassuring — working without having to really work, without having to concentrate so hard. It made the day go by. And another night has gone by. I can’t sleep until I’m absolutely exhausted. I’m almost there.

Sharon Ahn (Pyong Nim Cha), 1969
Mom, 1969

Forty more years

Sunday, January 29th, 2006

I haven’t seen my grandmother all week. She’s been sick and everyone’s been afraid coming to the services, to our house, to the grave, would be too much for her. My uncle says sometimes she seems far away, then she comes back to and is distraught. They go out to search for her and she’s way at the back of her property, feeling her grief. I feel so sad for her, but I have my own grief and I don’t know how to help her. This is the fourth child she’s lost. She’s 97. I thought I’d have my mom for another forty years to love her and make her proud of me. I thought I’d have her until I grew old. I thought it was plenty of time for us to grow closer, to get to know each other better. I thought she’d always be there for me. I don’t know how to deal with this. What am I supposed to be doing?

I’m home now and alone again for the first time in over a week. I feel lost when I’m alone. I can’t figure out what I’m supposed to be doing. I babied my plants when I first got home before Frank left. And after he left, alone for the first time in ages, I cried, then pulled myself off the couch and tried to figure out what I should be doing. I dug through old photo albums and cried over them. I don’t have enough photos of her. I’ve been such a selfish child. I dragged out the graduation purse she gave me after college. The gift I thought was so impractical. I haven’t seen it for ages; it seems to suit me more than I once thought it did. I can’t find the jammies she bought me for Christmas. I’ve been wanting to wear them and I don’t understand where I could have possibly put them. I can’t find them anywhere and it’s drivng me nuts.

Today, I went to my aunt and uncle’s church. My aunts and uncles have been so wonderful and so helpful. This aunt and uncle arranged the pastor for the church service and the reception meals after both services. I don’t think I could’ve handled arranging all that. My aunt’s going to help with the Thank You cards for the church members. We had lunch with them after the service. It was in Korean. I didn’t understand it, but they were warm and welcoming.

We had a picnic at my mom’s grave today. It’s tradition to gather at the grave three days after the funeral. The funeral was Friday. I guess they count the day of the funeral as one of the days. I miss her. I don’t know how I’m going to go to work tomorrow. It seems so meaningless.


Mom in Korea, 1969

The OC Register obituary notice for Sharon Ahn. I swear we looked on the 24th, but didn’t see it. Jess found it the other day.