Saturday, September 09, 2006


A close family friend in northern Virginia has passed away: a Korean friend of my mother and father, whom I always knew as "Mr. Kim ajoshi." He leaves behind a wife (strangely, she was always "Miss Lee ajumma" to us) and three daughters. The cause of death appears to have been a sudden, massive heart attack. I'm still too shocked to feel anything properly, and the tone of Dad's email indicates that things are not well, not well at all, back home. The news has hit everyone pretty hard. I just wrote Dad: "A world without Mr. Kim is hard to imagine." Unbelievable.

If I know Mom, I'm guessing she's front and center in the operations now, helping with funeral arrangements, comforting the daughters, doing what needs to be done. Mom's pretty cool that way. As a survivor of the Korean War, in which she lost family, she knows all about death. As a person who had to wrap winding sheets around her own father's corpse after he died of a heart attack, she knows all about the feelings that accompany post-mortem preparations. This is not a good time to be Mom, but it's safe to say that, thanks to her past, Mom's in her element. She'll know what to do.

If you're so inclined, now might be a good time for a little prayer or a kind thought for Mr. Kim, his family, and for those who knew and loved him.


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