Monday, December 29, 2008

4 barking dogs, 3 duck hunters, 2 long hikes and one grieving wife

This Christmas many wonderful and fun things happened. Things I would have loved last year. This year all those wonderful things seemed to be blanketed by my sadness. It really was like this dark cloud was sucking all the life out of everything. My mind kept racing with just HeeJun's name, or I wish HeeJun was here, or gasps that I CAN NOT ACCEPT AND BELIEVE THIS IS REAL. Ugh. It sucked for my poor family. And probably for my friends. Even when talking to them it is like having to talk through cement, things just don't come out quickly. I used to not be like this. I feel bad for the people I have met during this time. I'm a totally different person going through all this. But, some good things did happen, that I do want to remember. I started to look back on things that happened in August and I literally can't remember them. Weird what numbness will do.

I went to Raleigh on the 22nd and got to visit my sweet God-daughter and her wonderful family, my fun and adorable cousins, recuperating Jacquie and my in-"love" family. (Thanks to April for sharing that term with me!) Caedmon and Sav are so cute. I just wanted to give them everything. I could give Caed a piece of scrap paper and he would light up, "wow! I love this!" It warms my heart. I got to have a sleep-over with my 6 year old cousin, who is brilliant and so fun. She woke me up in the morning at 6:45am with "Wake up. It's a brand new day!"

Snuggle Time with the Cousins!
Iain hiding his presents from his siblings!

Baby Eric-go, baby go!
The E- team; Eric and Erica!

My parents, Gabby the dog, Juneau the dog and I drove the 10 hours to Gunterville, Alabama for Christmas. We stayed in a cabin on the lake. We got to wake up to the sweet sound of shotguns since it was duck season. We ate at the beautiul State Park Lodge and went on long hikes. Brittany met us there since she only lives about an hour away. She brought her crazy dogs. Poor Kimba had to stay by her side most of the time because she didn't play well with others. We got stuck in a rain storm, and we got "lost" on a hike and ended up having to go up this incredibly steep hill. We watched lots of movies, ate Honey Baked Ham, and enjoyed spending time with each other. If only HeeJun was there...
Funk or Fu*%?

Juneau was ready to go!

Sunday, December 28, 2008

First regret of blog posting

Oops. I must have been in a very bad place when I wrote that last post. Geez. i really am not that cynical and negative. Well, I once was not that cynical and negative. Maybe that was the angry phase of grief talking. I know dogs, in-laws and people can be a pain (Do I ever!), so who am I to tell someone not to complain. Geez. Open mouth, insert foot.

Friday, December 19, 2008

I am a Superwoman

"Even when I'm a mess, I still put on my vest, with an "S" on my chest. Oh yes, I'm a Superwoman. Yes, I am".

Helping me get through today.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Time to wake up now.

I feel like I have two lives going on right now- two worlds inside one mind. (Therapist said I'm not crazy and that is normal) Last week I was in the woods all week training to be a ropes course facilitator and laughing and having fun with my co-workers. I can put on a smiling face at work, put on my crazy Santa hat and smile. But then driving home, or sitting on the couch, or laying in bed I just lose it. My mind has been rerunning that day over and over lately. I keep going over the doorbell ringing, and the troopers telling me what happened. I keep imagining what HeeJun must have been thinking or feeling. I keep wondering why he shed a tear. These thoughts mostly come at night, or when I'm driving. But then I can switch it off. But sometimes it takes my breath away. I literally gasp. Church is the worst. Will I ever feel that joy again? I can't believe this is happening. I feel like I should be able to wake up soon or pop a bubble and it will all be a dream.

I went to a young widow's grief group last week. What a strange blessing. It was so comforting to sit with these ladies that knew what I was going through. You are glad to meet them, but hate that you had to meet them. It was strange to hear from the ladies who had lost their spouse one or two years ago, and were able to smile and put up Christmas decorations this year. Will I be like that one day? It was comforting to see that when I mentioned in-laws or money situations, they knew where I was coming from. They all said that the first year was a blur. I wonder if they realized in that year that is was going to be a blur. Because I feel like I am feeling every emotion painfully and acutely. I just "happened" (GOD) to sit next to a lady who lost her husband in a motorcycle accident 14 months ago. Almost the same exact story. Strange.

I have been reading old journals at night. Last night I read my old one from college, right before HeeJ and I were engaged. It is so weird to read. How in love I was with Jesus. How much I trusted Him with our relationship. It's funny to read about some of the things HeeJun and I worried about. Those silly things really didn't matter. And I loved HeeJ so much. I was so consumed with marrying him, but I wanted to have my focus on Jesus. Geez. I found one thing ironic. I prayed one night that HeeJ and I would get married, he would have a great job, I would find a job working with kids, and then we would have babies.

This week has really been destroying me. The holidays are pretty much kicking my bootie and leaving me for stink. My thoughts have been rampant with what was going on last year at this time. At this time last year, I was puking my guts out because I was pregnant. We were trying to hide it from his parents until Christmas. We were so excited to give them their magnets and ornaments that said "we are grandparents". I remember taking the pee test just because- i didn't think i was pregnant, i just hoped. When the stick turned colors I ran into HeeJ's office and put the pee test in his face (gross) and said "what is this? what does that say?" I just couldn't believe it. I kinda thought it would never happen, because we had been trying so long. I remember having the potluck at work before Christmas break. that was the first day I puked puked puked. And everyone guessed. ugh. this year it was supposed to be like that again. I was supposed to be pregnant after our trip to Alaska. I would be 4 months now. With Hayden Jonas or Lila Piper. We would be announcing it at Christmas. He would still be here. He would be here helping me buy presents, arguing with me about the cost of presents, excited about putting on the Santa hat, excited about picking out the gag gift for his sister, laughing at me while I tried to put the lights up, getting excited over the stockings, complaining about the food, but eating all of it, loving me. It's not supposed to be like this. Damn.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Bah- Humbug

Today in church we sang Christmas carols. AHHHH! I have been avoiding all things Christmas since Halloween, turning the radio stations, no decorations, no shopping. At work I have to put on the happy face and plan the Holiday crafts and tree lighting, but I really thought I could avoid the Holiday spirit in other aspects of my life. But couldn't run out of church today. And then I heard the wind chimes on the Angel tree ringing (wind chime remind me of HeeJ), and I remembered the times that HeeJun would look at me in church and ask me why I wasn't singing. Back then it was because I have a horrible voice and did not want to subject the people around me to my toneless singing. But HeeJ would say "so" and give me the stink eye. I felt like he was doing that again. "Woman, sing. It's not about you or your circumstances. Sing". Then Pastor J said "God is Love, God is with us and God is for us" in his sermon. He was speaking mainly on that we should remember these things during Christmas time. My mind knows that. My mind knows that God loves me and God is with me. And sometimes I hope that He is holding me and carrying me. But then my heart wants to argue, if You love me, then You sure have a funny way of showing it. Lots of tears in church today. Bah- Humbug.

We...I also have a new neighbor. This has caused a dilemna. Such a simple thing, but now I have to face the questions of "how do I introduce myself, who I am now?" I have been avoiding new situations, stayed at my job, stayed at my church, stayed with friends, all these people know who I was before and they know what I am going through. But how do I define myself now? Will I one day have to change my Facebook profile to widow? What do I do with my wedding ring? What do I do with his clothes? Do I sign my name Mrs.? Do I still make jokes about being Asian? Do I still like watching Motorcycle races? Do I still read John Piper? Who will this new neighbor, or new job, or new friends...who will I be to them? Bah- humbug.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

"You done made me have to count to 10!"

What a weird week! It seems like I can go through the week normally and then save all the crying and stuff for the weekends. It almost felt like HeeJun was on vacation this week. I actually found myself enjoying time friends. I found myself dancing. Thank goodness for Britney, Rihanna and Beyonce. Whenever I am driving and it gets too hard, I just blare their songs and it gets easier to wipe the tears away.

I met for dinner with friends this week, new and old. It is so encouraging talking to them. So comforting. No one gives me advice or tells me it will be o.k. They are just there for me, just praying for me. It's nice. Little night lights in the darkness.

When people do try to say things to make it better, I want to ask, "do you know how it feels to have the Troopers show up at your door while you are unloading groceries, do you know what it feels like to hear your family screaming on the phone, to wake up and wish it was a nightmare, to feel numb, to not know how to define yourself now, to have your whole life change, to feel like a part of you is missing, to miss someone so deeply...?, then I might listen to what you have to say.

An epiphany; I have recently got back in touch with my old college rommates. There were 5 of us living in this crazy house next to Dominoes. I call it the cursed house because we had some crazy times there. I lost touch with 3 of them and through all this they have either reached out to me or I have found them. All of them are either pregnant or just had a baby. Seriously, all 4 of them. At first it made me want to scream, Why not me, and indulge in a pity party of ice cream. Then a friend reminded me of a quote by Mother Teresa, "God doesn't give you anything you can't handle. I just wish He didn't trust me so much". It made me think, well, maybe it's good that this happened to me, because I can handle this. Maybe other people couldn't. And I would not wish this on anyone. Another thing that friend reminded me of is that God sometimes uses trials to remind our own selves how much Faith we have. God knows how much Faith I have. it's me who has to remember.

The Title of this post is a funny story that happened Friday. I just wanted to remind myself that I can laugh. As Miranda said in SATC, "You will laugh when something is really funny". In the pool on Friday, one of my rascalls tried to punch another kid for splashing and I totally lost it. I was so mad, I turned around and yelled "You done made me have to count to 10!" All the kids in the pool got quiet, ( I think some of them probably peed in the pool) and then one said, " I love when you get like that Miss Erica. Your face turns red".

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Turkey Day

Thanksgiving was also my mom's birthday. We actually had turkey and mashed potatoes and all birthday cake. Man, was it tough to pull through that one. I think we all were just trying to get through it. I did not want HeeJun's name mentioned or any memories to be recalled. Because if he was on my mind, then I would have to remember how much he loved loved loved Thanksgiving with his family. He loved eating good food. His mom always went all out; ham and turkey, every side dish you can imagine, three pies. Food is love. He would test out every dish and walk in while we were cooking to complain about how long it was taking or how things tasted. He was very particular about the food and could remember exactly how items tasted last year. Remember the year Bomi put sugar in the mashed potatoes? Or the year the green bean casserole was more like a soup? HeeJun loved Thanksgiving.

If I had to think about him this year, I would have to remember that the pace I was sitting at the table, was where the trooper sat when he was calling my mom. I would have to remember that last year we went to Lowe's and got a Christmas tree the day after Christmas. I would have to remember that HeeJun never did the dishes. I would remember that we always went over to my parents house after dinner and had another meal with birthday cake. HeeJun could always eat twice. The memories would come rushing in. When I let myself remember, every little thing has a Juna memory attached. I would remember that this Thanksgiving was different.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

I am also thankful for...

7. Celebrity Gossip. I devour it at night when it is hard to get to sleep.
8. Drive- Thru Starbucks!
9. Karamel Sutra Ice Cream from Ben and Jerry's.

Monday, November 24, 2008


I have never cried through a sermon before like I did Sunday. Geez Louise. Usually I cry during the worship, but can listen (or zone out depending on the day) during the sermon. Not this week. First, the service started out with Never Let Go and I wanted to scream "Really?!" I want to feel like that, and today I do, but yesterday I was being attacked with thoughts that He did let go of me. Then, they showed a video on Thanksgiving and how even though it has been a tough year , we should think beyond our circumstances and be thankful for our life in Jesus Christ. I know in my head it is true. I know I should be thankful and I know there is a lot in my life to be thankful for, but my heart just won't let me feel thankful. When I try to count my blessings or really thank God for things, I get this empty pit in my stomach. It just feels hollow.

This quote was on a blog of a girl I know that lost her husband around the same time I did; When upon life's billows you are tempest tossed,When you are discouraged, thinking all is lost,Count your many blessings,name them one by one,And it will surprise you what the Lord has done.

Then, they announced that the worship leader and her wife, April, will be leaving. Poo. When HeeJun and I were searching, with great discouragement, for a church, we were debating between Rocky River and Christ Community. We loved the worship at RR and the pastor, so we decided to attend RR regularly. Ironic. April and Brandon will be going to CC. April seems like the kind of person that would be a great friend.

Then Pastor Jimmy began his sermon on Jonah and how during trials we need to look for God's hand. He also said that God brings trials into our lives to draw us closer to Himself. I wanted to scream, "If that is true, then I HATE HIM." Oh, that brings tears to my eyes. But it is how I felt at the time. Of course, my head knows that God will use trials to bring us closer to himself. I hope hope hope that He did not plan the death of my love, my best friend, my husband, my true companion, so that I or his sister or my sister or anyone would be closer to him. Selfish and so human of me, right? But God does things that are way beyond our understanding. Pastor J said that God cares for us during tough times and carries us along. He said that God provides for us during those times. True, I know in my head. But at that time, it seemed like a big lie. I just have to keep speaking the Truth. This too shall pass, right? HeeJun would be so upset and scared that these feelings are whirling around my head. Even during his darkest and most scared times, he knew God was in control. I remember the night that we thought we had lost a family member tragically. He said without a doubt, that there are no coincidences and that God is in control and loves us. He had a great faith.

Trying to be Thankful....

1. Family- My parents have been so strong and loving and wonderful. I remember calling my mom the day it all happened and all she needed to say was "We're on our way". They have let me cry and let me laugh and held me through all of this. I called my dad and told him I needed his logical brain because I had no idea how to plan the funeral or do the bills. Neither did he, but he has been so organized and supportive and encoraging. When we settled the estate the clerk said he was more organized then most attorneys. I hate that they are having to go through this too. I hate how stressed this has made them. I love them.
My sister, Brittany- it has always been wonderful to have a sister so close in age that almost shares a birthday. It makes us special. Through all this, she has been such a stronghold. Like a rope I can grab onto. She is noctural, so I can call her every night right before bed to keep the yucky thoughts away. In that, I guess I am thankful for her job, that she can sleep in late and stay up late to talk to me.
My extended family, Noni, UB, Elke, Gramps, Uncle Bill, Aunt Sue- They have all been so loving and encouraging. They have such kind words for me and continue to pray for me. Even though we are separated by distance I still know that they are thinking of me.
My in- laws- We love each other. My sister in law and I seem to be on opposite rough day schedules, so on the day when I need a shoulder, she is there. There are some things that have gotten in the way or caused tension, but we all recognize that we are grieving together and that we are family. They can remind me and tell me stories of HeeJun from when he was a kid. They are a part of HeeJun. He loved and respected his family so much.
2. Friends- My gratitude for my friends goes deep. Friends I haven't spoken with in years have surrounded themselves around me. It's been three months and I still don't need to cook food or clean my house because my friends are constantly caring for me. Amy calls almost daily just to chat. My crusade friends have been constant reminders that i am not alone. My friends from WCC have loved on me and cared for me without hesitation. Jacquie and Sarah call almost daily and have been outstanding! All I need sometimes is for someone to tell me a funny story or help distract me. No one needs to try to make it all go away or to make me better. I hope they all know how wonderful they have been. They do not need to worry that they will say the wrong thing, or that they can't make it better. All I need is them.
3. Church- RRCC has wrapped their loving arms around me. On Sunday, when they saw that I was a mess, they invited me and encouraged me to join them for lunch. Some of them have been through this, or know what it feels like to lose a husband, so they have been great mentors. April has been such an encouragement and is so fun. I think this will be the beginning of a beautiful friendship.
4. Alexander Youth Network- My work family has gone above and beyond anything anyone can expect from a workplace. They let me take all the time I needed to come back and have been supportive and understanding that I can not lead groups right now. On days when I just have to lock myself in my office, they understand and come to give me hugs. On days when I need to just rock it out and dance, they are there right next to me, shaking it like a salt shaker! I have some strong friendships there that are not usually made in the workplace. It's hard not to bond when a kid is throwing chairs, spitting on you, and cursing you out. We have to be there for each other.
5. Juneau the Dog- Yep, he is great. Such a fun distraction.
6.. Jesus Christ, My Lord, My God, My Savior, My Comfort.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Another week over

This week I met with some old friends for dinner. I met up with Matt and his wife- he was my boyfriend in 8th/ 9th grade. Haven't seen him in 9 years. I had dinner with friends from Thompson's. Haven't seen some of them in 3 years. I went to the Concord Christmas Parade with Ariel, Amory and her wonderful family. I danced at work. I rolled out our new Manual at work. So many things I would love to tell HeeJun. So many new things.

The Parade was my first since being a grown up. Man, this holiday season is going to be rough.

I also starting reading A Grief Observed by C.S. Lewis. Here are some quotes and my comments;
"Lewis had been invited to the great feast of marriage and the banquet was rudely snatched away from him before he had done more than sample the hors d'oevres" During Lewis' grief he asked "Where is God...Go to him when your need is desperate, when all other help is in vain and what do you find? A door slammed in your face". My own feelings towards God are all over the place right now. Sometimes I have never felt more closely the strength of His presence and at other times I feel like it is all a lie, and He is not good. At times I scoff when told He has a plan, God is good, BLAH BLAH BLAH. HeeJun would have laughed at that. I scoff uncontrollably sometimes and HeeJun always thought is was funny.

"Lewis mentions the feeling of fear..." Lewis said grief feels like being afraid. My grief feels more like being ripped in half. All of the sudden it will hit. I go about the day just fine, not 100%, but at least 60% at work, and then BOOM, i go to the DMV or Baby's R Us and I break down sobbing. But, I yearn for those sobs, those broken tears. Weird, but I look forward to them. When I am not crying and when I am doing all that normal crap, it just doesn't seem right. I still hate being told that I am healing. It feels like if I heal or start doing ok, it will take away from how great HeeJun was and how much I hurt.

- "Remember to swallow"- I have to remember to breathe.
"Forgetfullness"- I have double booked and left out and repeated myself so many times at work. I have gotten so behind on paper work. It's the little things that get overwhelming.
"Horror of those who say "Thy will be done""- Yep, I cringe and refuse to sing songs that say "brokenness is what I long for, or break me, Lord. Whatever. Those people have no clue what they are really asking.
"Soaring Joy which is in finding and winning the mate whom God prepareded for us; and the crushing blow, the loss which is Satan's corruption of that great gift of loving and being loved."
"Writing down his thoughts helped him make sense of the whirling chaos assaulting his mind"
"C.S. Lewis, the writer of so much that is so clear and so right, this strong and determined Christian, he too fell headlong into the vortex of whirling thoughts and feelings and dizzily groped for support and guidance deep in the dark chasm of grief"- Well, that's comforting...

"There is an invisible blanket between the world and me. I find it hard to take in what anyone says. Or perhaps, hard to want to take it in. Yet, I want others to be about me. I dread the moments when the house is empty. If only they would talk to one another and not me"- Yep, me too. Sometimes, it feels like I am pushing out caring words or even any words. I don't want anyone around, but I don't want to be alone, Vicious cycle...

C.S. Lewis wrote that sometimes he felt like he would be o.k. He had plenty of resources and thought people get over these things. He was happy before he met his wife. Then he said he would have a sudden jab of red hot memory and all that "common sense talk" would vanish. It seems true to me, too. At times thoughts of I will be o.k creep in. I am managing at work. I am managing at home. My house is getting clean. I am staying busy. Then I walk into the room, and catch a glimpse of HeeJun's shoes and fall apart.

"No one ever told me the laziness of grief. I loathe the slightest effort"- YEP! I can't get alot done at work or at home because I am constanlty restless. My mind goes a mile a minute. I remember I forgot to write that assessment, then while writing the assessment, I remember I need to tell Kato something, then I get sidetracked by a kid, then I remember the laundry needs to get done...

C.S Lewis struggled with the idea that God was not good after all. HE said " you never know how much you believe something until its truth or falsehood becomes a matter of death for you." A rope is strong until you have to use it to hold you. God was good and I could trust him easily, until everything else in life pointed the opposite.

I'm not done with the book yet. It has been the only book I can really get through and pay attention to. I read the Mourning Handbook, too. I tried to read 90 minutes in Heaven, but I'm not quite ready for that.

"The act of living is different all through"- Everything changes, but stays the same. I still go to my favorite restaurants. I still go the the gym (a different one now, because I ended up crying on the treadmill. It was too hard to see all those happy people who had still been working out the past three months. Didn't they know one of their members had died? Why didn't they all stop?) I still watch lots and lots and lots of tv. But it is all different.

Lewis wrote that he started to put on his own beliefs and attitudes onto his wife. If he liked things, he would say she would have loved it. I have to remember that HeeJun was not me. I see his family and I doing that sometimes, making him into something he was not. Idolizing him, I guess. I have to remember the real HeeJun. Sometimes when I am talking about him or looking at pictures, that life seems like a fairy tale, like it didn't really happen. Lewis wrote and I agree that it is appalling to say "so and so will live forever in my memory. Their spirit will live on". LIVE? And for me, I hope HeeJun's spirit lives in Heaven with Christ, sitting next to Him, not inside the deary and sad me. poor guy. that would suck if he had to live inside of me.

Monday, November 17, 2008

You are always on my mind...(sing it)

I have been thinking these past few months of some cliched "beliefs" I had before all this that I'm not quite sure were true. Things that I used to say all the time, but when really put to the test, aren't Biblical or true.

Ex. 1: Everything happens for a reason. How many times have I said this or heard it? What about those things that there are no rhyme or reason for? I do not believe there was a reason for HeeJun's death. (ugh. still cringe when i say that word) Of course, there was HeeJun's free will to get on his motorcycle and ride, and there was the physical reason and medical reason for the tradegy. But I don't think God had a reason for doing this. I can not believe that the God who loves, cares, and died for me, would plan such a thing for a reason. I DO believe He will use HeeJun's death for a purpose, and He will work it out for "the good" (still wrestling with that one), but He did not do itin order for certain things to happen. There is a difference, I think. I hope.

Ex. 2: If you are obediant to Christ, everything will work out. I never said these exact words, but I know it has crossed my mind. I even kinda heard these words in church this Sunday. Ihave heard that before you accept Christ, you are miserable and after you accept Christ, everything will be better. Bologna. I even heard people say that the reason bad things happen are because people aren't being obediant to Christ. Oh my. I can not believe that is true. When I heard these things, I wanted to scream "What about me? I was obediant. I trusted Chrisit! I do accept Christ! But I am miserable now. Bad things are happening!" I feel bad for the people who are swayed to accept Christ because they think everything will be roses and rainbows. God does not promise that. Actually, the Bible speaks ALOT about trials and bad things happening to even the most righteous of followers. But through all those times, the God promises He is there. He will carry me and those who believe during this time. He will comfort us and mourn with us. He will weep with me. He will love me. He will not leave me. Always.

Ex. 3: We will all see HeeJun again. I believe and HeeJun believed the only way to Heaven is through Jesus Christ. Gots to know and have a relationship with Christ, man. To quote HeeJun, "Dude, you need Jesus".

This article was in the Charlotte Observer this Sunday.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Stage 3 and counting

So, maybe, just maybe I am in the "resentment and anger" stage of grief. Geez. I called three pregnant women bi-otches this week and flipped out on some co-workers for being lazy. The pregnant thing I am sorry for. It just comes from my resentment, but really I am happy for my friends. I just wish it was me. It should have been me.

The co-worker thing still bugs me. Seriously, if I can get up and dance and pretend to be happy for these kids, your lazy butt can get out of that chair and dance! I can barely roll out of bed in the morning. No excuses, play like a champion!

I want to heal from this anger. So, I am going to post and look through and devour my gazillion Alaska pictures. July 25- August 1st , HeeJun and I went on the best most wonderful vacation ever. We went on an Alaskan Cruise. It was amazing. HeeJun wanted to visit Alaska for a long time and one day he came home stressed out from work, and said "today we are planning our trip". It can not tell you how incredible it is to stand next to a Glacier or to watch the ice crash into the sea with such thunderous roars! All the wildlife, the fun times on the ship, the delicious seafood, the crabs, the dog was amazing. We had so much fun. Oh, what I would give to be back there...

Denied at the Airport because we had luggage to check. I love HeeJun's face!

Finally in Seattle the next day. We missed the boat, but we flew to Junea Alaska.

In Juneau and COLD!!!!Yes, those are snow covered mountains behind me!
Mendenhall Glacier!
Dog Sledding! We got to ride in front!
Chilly on Glacier Bay! Enjoying the view!
Why, yes that is a glacier out our window...
Catching crabs in Ketchikan

Kayaking in Sitka Three eagles caught a salmon and ate in right in front of us! HeeJun loved eating the crabs we caught! Fancy dinner at the Pinnacle on the boat!

The last picture I have of HeeJun...planning his trip and relaxed.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

A little warning would be nice...

Watched my favorite Friday show last night- Ghost Whisperer. Would have been nice is the tv guide had warned me that the husband dies on the show!! My goodness, that was hard to watch.

But myabe it was good. I hadn't cried in days, weeks. I was starting to feel crazy. What was wrong with me? Why can't I cry or even feel sad? How am I going to work, getting out of bed, going to church? How is this happening? I should be on the floor screaming. My life has fallen apart, so why wasn't I crying? But last night, after watching that stupid show, the dam broke. It felt good.

I am not strong. the reason I am not crying is not because I am strong or something. And it kinda makes me mad when I hear people say "you are so strong". Like it takes away from the hurt and pain I feel. People thinking I am strong just makes me think they have no idea how broken and weak I really feel. If I have any strength it is not from me. If I am not falling apart every second, it is not because of my own strength. Even though I still have creeping thoughts that God is not good, Is till have urges to scream out BULLSH$$ at church, I still scoff at people praising God and I still question WHY WHY WHY, my Faith is rooted in the Hope and Strength of Christ. I guess, even though it doesn't feel that way, my strength comes from this knowledge. My Faith is deeper than all my doubts and stronger than my grief. It is not like I can feel Jesus right next to me saying "you can do it, it's ok". But maybe, because I have that Faith deep down, I know He is there saying that, saying "Erica, I do love you, Erica, I will carry you."

Someone close to HeeJun, texted me the other day saying that they were falling apart, can't go on. I jokingly texted back, "Dude, you need Jesus". But it is so true.

Monday, November 3, 2008

What? Really?

I have been going through HeeJun's computer tonight to try to find some songs that he liked. I found some videos of him and his friends riding together. Actually, there are a lot of videos. One in particular is of him riding on 181, same road, same spot. Up and down. Up and down. If only he knew...Why was that ride any different? What made that day special? What made HeeJun special on that day? Why him and not those other "squids" riding stupid with just jeans and a t-shirt on? The troopers said they had never seen such a tragic accident with someone who was covered in gear head to toe. What made that road different that day? He has freaking videos of him riding on that same spot!? Geez.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Hot Dogs for Dinner: For Erica

Hot Dogs for Dinner: For Erica

Halloween 6 years ago...

Halloween 2002 .
HeeJun proposed.
He kept a journal of the whole process from getting the ring, picking the day, emailing Amy for my ring size and schedule, asking my parents ("the most scary thing. Fumbling and muttering through the whole thing"), and writing down the prayers for our marriage. Here are some excerpts from that journal;

"Erica, look back on our relationship and see what God has done for us. Look at how perfect is our God. Look at where He has brought us. In 10 years we can look back and say WOW how good our God is."

"What I want to do in this journal is write down all the things I can't tell you now, but will one day be able to tell you over and over again. You have made me who I am today. You were an instrument of God in my life. Erica Andrews I love you more than anything in this world. How I long to be able to tell you that, to say that to you, to be with you, to wake up next to you, spend our lives together, to grow old together, to raise kids together. I have only thought about these things when I was young not having a person in mind. Now it is coming true and how perfect my wife is amazing...I didn't do it. God is better than I could imagine."

Halloween morning, Amy woke me up and said "I think something big is going to happen today." I said, "well, it's not HeeJun proposing!". I thought this because the night before HeeJun had purposely picked a "fight" with me to throw me off track. He said he wanted me to finish graduate school before we were engaged. I was so ready to get married and I was really upset. I actually wrote him an email that night saying that if he felt that way I needed some time to "get my head straight and my focus on Christ". Little did I know!

Amy, Andrea and I got dressed up for a costume party that night at Mendenhall. Amy and HeeJun were in cahoots about the whole thing. Amy and Andie dressed up as the fairies from sleeping beauty. I was Miss AmErica. We went to the party and then suddenly Amy wasn't feeling very well. Big faker. She asked me if I wouldn't mind going back home. We drove back to our apartment and then when we got to the steps, Amy ran back down saying she left something in the car. I was so confused. There was a note on the door that said "Welcome to our Burger King". Huh? (HeeJun first told me he loved me at Burger King.) I walked into the apartment all weirded out because it was Halloween and things always spook me during that time. I turned on the light and there were candles all over the place and rose petals. I flicked the lights on and off several times. I just didn't get it. I followed the candles into my bedroom and there was HeeJun sitting on the floor with a ring box and this journal. Music was playing in the background. He drove from Charlotte that day, asked my parents in Raleigh, then drove to see me. He waited for me to leave for the party and then snuck into the apartment. I still don't know how. Maybe Amy left him a key...

He read these words to me;

"We are almost there. I don't want to mess this up. I look at the picture of us in 9th grade. It seems so long ago. How young. Erica, from the days of Ms. Gaults' english class to many dances through the many years, to both of us coming to Christ and fighting to walk the walk and have Him as our first to this moment today. What can I say but all the glory to our Lord and King Jesus. There is nothing I like more about you than the spirit of Christ you show to me. I consider myself to be blessed beyond belief to be able to spend the rest of my life with you. Erica Andrews, I love everything that you are and everything that you will become. I love your passion for kids. I love the simple way you see things. I love how you care about others. That is just the tip of what I have to find out about you. Above all I love who you are in my life. God is so rewarding to those who fight to run the race. You are the one for me and have always been. There is no one I would rather walk this life with. Erica Andrews, would you walk this journey of life with me until God takes us into an infinitely better place. Would you be my wife?
I finally fixed the curse on Halloween"

It took my a while to process everything. After I squeeked out a yes and lots of hugs, I told Amy. The last line, I fixed the curse of Halloween was regarding the years of arguments we had on Halloween at ECU. I think we got into an argument every Halloween. Now it's got a bitter sweet curse.

I picked on him for a while about the proposal line. So not HeeJun. But he was trying to be sweet and romantic and it meant a lot to him to ask me in just the right, grandest way.

Best Halloween Ever.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Pay It Forward Potluck

Thank You Very Much

Last Wednesday, I invited the couples from the small group over for a Pay It Forward Potluck. My intentions with the party were to show them how thankful I was for their friendship and for the amazing compassion they have shown me during this nightmarish time. What amazing people they all are! HeeJun and I attended West Cabarrus church for several years and were involved in a small group of about 8 couples, give or take a few. The ladies group I went to was filled with such loving and Godly women. We have all gone separate ways, different churches, but I think the friendships and bonds we made while at WCC have only grown stronger. Some of them I hadn't seen in months before all this. Some have had babies I had not even met. But they were there immediately with comfort, prayers and love. I am so thankful.

During the potluck, I looked over and half of the guys were standing in my cramped bathroom trying to fix my toilet. "Hey, Erica, you got a flashlight?" These are good people.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Drained and then...Kellie Pickler

Apparently even though I was named beneficiary of accounts and insurance, without a will, there can be arguments and trust issues. Without going into too much detail, what a pain in the butt. It has only been two months and I am not ready to deal with financial issues or to make any decisions about the money yet. I was heartbroken that I felt I wasn't being trusted. I was mad at HeeJun for leaving everything like this; for not being clear about what he wanted people to do with his money. I was drained from having to talk about these kind of horrible things. I still can not believe he is gone. At times, when I remember that he is gone, it takes my breath away literally. My whole body tenses up and it feels like all the air in being sucked out of me. It is hard to wrap my brain around the fact that he is not here to handle these issues. He is not here to make these decisions; even the little decisions are draining to me. I had to try to mow the lawn yesterday and I couldn't get the mower started. Just another reminder. The hardest part of saying goodbye, is having to say it over and over again.

It was an emotionally and physically draining weekend. My whole body felt like jello. My shoulders desperately need a massage. My heart aches and I just miss my love. But God and HeeJun have a great sense of humor. As I am driving back to Charlotte from this horrible weekend, crying and being pitiful, a Kellie Pickler song came on. It starts off very sad and slow :When my time comes to an end. Don't be sad. Don't you shed one tear. Take me back to the place I love the most. All my best memories were made in my time here... Then suddenly it picks up and BOOM "Don't be sad or broken hearted, Spread my ashes in the shoe department...Everybody knows that's where I want be...Jimmy choo choo, saks fifth avenue for all eternity." I was laughing out loud. It just reminded me that although I am sad and missing HeeJun, he is CHILLING WITH LEMONADE, joyful and glorious. All these little nuisances like insurance and lawn mowers are nothing compared to the joy HeeJun has now. It comforts me a bit. Just a little bit.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Another 7% of HeeJun

I received a letter in the mail from one of HeeJun's co-workers. While reading it I was bursting with pride for HeeJun. The author described beautifully HeeJun's character.

"...some friendships are built on a common outlook on life. People who have little in common in their personalities can still forge a friendship because they see life in the same way...Our personalities weren't particularly alike, but we saw the world the same way. I think that is why I liked him so much. He and I viewed life so similarly, from the mundane to the profound. As for the mundane- we both loved to eat..."(This is Erica talking...HeeJun enjoyed food, especially fast food and cafeteria food. The only stipulation at our wedding, and the only thing he cared about was that he would be able to eat GOOD food at the reception. He remembers being annoyed that people were coming up to him to congratulate him and he just wanted to chow down)

"We also had similar minds for technology...I had no idea he would turn out so good at it (when he was hired). He soaked it all up like a sponge. I sincerely believe he was the sharpest technical mind in our organization. The quality that really differentiated him as a technician was his understanding of how things worked as opposed to how to do things. The best technicians genuinely understand why things happen. "
"Every lunch together would usually feature at least on classic HeeJun rant against stupidity or injustice or something else that wasn't right with the world (Slow drivers). I always found that he had an uncannily accurate sense of what was happening in our organization. HeeJun had the unique ability to see things as they really are. In a corporate culture where we spend all of our time cheer leading, trying to convince ourselves how great we are, he never bought it. Not in a cynical way, he just had a realistic view of people's faults and limitations. And he called people on it. Not in the way of those who draw attention to the faults of others, in an attempt to conceal their own, but in the spirit of a friend who slaps you in he face to get your attention when you're doing something stupid. He hated that people went through life so deluded about themselves. "

"I think this was a part of his natural personality, but I have to think there was a spiritual aspect to it as well. Isn't self deception the biggest problem with the world today? People do not realize or refuse to accept that they are "dead men walking" before God. HeeJun understood this. He understood that just as people suppress the truth about their spiritual conditions they suppress the truth about other aspects of their life. And he saw right through it. He was the ultimate realist. Yet, there was no sense of arrogance. He knew that "there but for the grace of God, go I". His mind stripped away everything extraneous to get to the heart of the matter. The world needs more people like that."

"It could have hindered his career...Now I wonder if he was right all along. If telling the truth, hinders ones career, then let it be hindered. It is said that good leaders always keep someone around who is willing to tell them the unvarnished truth when they are getting off track. I always thought HeeJun that he was the perfect person for that job. I hoped maybe he could be that for me as we advanced in our careers. "

"My life is enriched for having know HeeJun. He was not one of my closest friends, but he was one of my favorite people. I miss him".

Tuesday, October 7, 2008


Night time is the hardest time for me. Lying in bed alone. I have my moments. Yesterday was a rough day all together. And that is okay. I am able to have these falling apart moments and then pull myself back together. I have no idea how. I do not need to be rescued during these moments and I hate to tell people that I am having these moments, because it makes others worry, and then they try to fix me. I don't need fixing, though. Just someone who will listen. I have been surrounded by such wonderful people who truly care and are allowing me to lose it.

Tragedy like this teaches people a lot about themselves. I did not know I had the strength to get out of bed. I did not know I had to strength to laugh and be joyful for others. I feel guilty at times when people ask me how am I not curled up in a ball, weeping. It makes me feel like because I am not doing that all the time, it takes away from how much I loved HeeJun. And man, do I love HeeJun. Every breath literally aches. This strength is not from me. It comes from the Hope that HeeJun and I both knew deeply! (and I can only lay in bed for so long...there is no other choice for me, but to keep holding on, keep pressing on)

I will stumble, I will fall down But I will not be moved I will make mistakes, I will face heartache, But I will not be moved On Christ the solid rock I stand, All other ground is sinking sand, I will not be moved Bitterness has plagued my heart, many times before, My life has been a broken glass, and I have kept the score, of all my shattered dreams, and though it seemed, that I was far too gone, my brokenness helped me to see, it's grace I'm standing on.

I had this lie in my head and these doubts about what Heaven was. The lie crossed my mind that maybe Heaven was just a fairy tale that we told each other, like Santa or the Easter Bunny. I wasn't sure if Heaven happened immediately after death, or was HeeJun just waiting for the day when Christ comes back. Oh, I hoped not. I hoped he was with Jesus, glorious and joyful. He wrote in his journal that his favorite verse was" Better is one day in your courts than a thousand elsewere". So I went to The Truth and found these verses incredibly comforting.

JOhn 14: Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me. In my Father's house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going.

2 Corinthians 5 "Now we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands. ... Now it is God who has made us for this very purpose and has given us the Spirit as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come. ... We live by faith, not by sight. We are confident, I say, and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord. ...I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.

But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything in it will be laid bare.
Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming.That day will bring about the destruction of the heavens by fire, and the elements will melt in the heat. But in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, the home of righteousness.

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.

Phillipians 3:20-21 "But our citizenship is in Heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body".

Sunday, October 5, 2008

It's my party and I'll cry if I want to!

Birthday weekend.

HeeJun was so good with birthdays. He would leave cards and notes everywhere. In high school, he always brought these huge balloons for me. He always wanted to be unique and tried to get special flowers and original gifts. I have been trying to remember each birthday I have had with him. I want to remember every moment. Last year we went to Boston Market because I was craving their mashed potatoes and corn. That memory is vivid in my mind. I have started a journal, along with this one and my prayer journal, where I write down all my memories I have with HeeJun.

The kids at work (and staff) threw me a birthday party. They are so stealth. I knew it was going to happen so I had time to compose myself. It was sweet and kind of them to think to celebrate for me. I think it is probably good for them and for the staff to see me "going on". Truthfully, though it gets really tiring putting on this shell. I feel like I have this outer armour on that smiles when it is supposed to, laughs when it is supposed to, pretends to care...and if that shell breaks a tiny bit, I'll crumble into tiny pieces. It would be so much easier to just crawl into a ball and just get lost in the darkness. But I am holding onto the Hope and Promise of Christ. Just have to keep reminding myself of that. I have been doing a study on Heaven. I will save that for another day.

The problem with this shell armour is that because I know I am supposed to be smiling or laughing, but my insides don't match that feeling, my expresssions and responses come out inappropriately strong. I screamed extremely LOUDLY when the staff presented me with a dozen Mocha Frappachinos I knew I was supposed to be excited, but the brain responses are all messed up. I laughed incredibly loudly when told a somewhat silly story. I freaked out when a homeless man yelled at me while trying to find a place to eat with my sister. I probably would have beaten him up if Brittany hadn't been there. I lost my temper at the 911 dispatcher when I was reporting a crazy driver on the highway. I cried hysterically at work when a kid threw a pepper. Inappropriate responses. And any emotion I have; fear, excitement, joy, sadness all gets messed up and comes out super strong.

This weekend my parents came to visit. Brittany has been here since Wednesday. Her birthday was October 2nd. We watched lots of movies and tv, went out to eat and have been playing with the crazy dogs. We have been mistaken for twins three times already. We never looked alike as kids, but now we are morphing into eachother. My whole family and the crazy three dogs drove up to Jonas Ridge, to the crash site, yesterday. The cross that HeeJun's motorcycle friend put at the spot is touching and beautiful. There is a trail leading to a waterfall right near the spot, so we went hiking. It was a nice way to make the trip a positive experience.

All these things have been nice. It has been sweet to have friends take me out to eat. It has been comforting to have my family around. Wonderful to be near my sister. Fun to watch to dogs play. He is on my mind, in my thoughts, in my every breath constantly. It feels ungrateful for me to say, but I wish all these comforting and kind things didn't have to happen. I wish people didn't have to take care of me on my birthday. Because then he would still be with me.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Just breathe

I usually love this weather. Fall is my favorite time of year. My birthday is October 1st and HeeJun proposed on Halloween. October was our month. This weather ust reminds me of all that and makes my heart ache. Will everything always hurt?

This weekend was our 10 year high school reunion. I got to see some wonderful and beautiful friends. I was not strong enough to go to the shin-digs but I had lunch with the Fab Four and watched as the girls got ready. A most incredible and fun thing, but will it always hurt?

I went to church on Sunday. I tried to pick a church that I had no memories of HeeJun attached and also has almost ALL of my Crusade friends attending. (Raleigh is the new Greenville). As I watched the praise band singing with such Joy, with huge smiles on their faces, praising God, I wondered if I would ever be able to feel such Joy again. I have experienced that before. I wondered if those people whose facing were so bright, had ever experienced something like this, and if they had, would they be that joyful? Will it always hurt?

I started leading groups today at work. I led one gardening group with 8 second graders. Should have been fun and relaxing. One punk kid decided to throw the peppers and tomatoes at another. He decided it would be a great idea to hit this kid over the head with the weeds. Nothing special. This is a common occurrence at work, but I could feel the tears start to well up, and I bolted. Any emotion it seems, will make my feeling radar go berserk. I sobbed for about an hour in my office. The hysterical kind of sobbing. Over nothing. Apparently, I am not ready to lead groups. I called a co-worker/ friend in finally to help me glue myself back together.

I have had to deal with a lot of money and insurance issues. No will and no life insurance means having to split, and having to decide who gets what. Big scary situation.

I am alone for the first time today and tomorrow. Just breathe.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Missing my other half. Missing my person.

Lots of new things this week to tell HeeJun. I started leading groups at work. One of my little 7 year old girls told me "it is o.k to be sad, Miss Erica. It will probably take a year to stop being sad". I started going to a therapist. He said I was doing o.k. Baloney. I emailed a pastor in Raleigh that I really admire, and he asked if he could share my story in one of his sermons. I found a cemetary in Charlotte that I go to when I need to cry. I watched my friends get ready for our 10 year high school reunion. I had to change my status at work to widow. I had to change my emergency contact person. I realized I don't have a person. HeeJun was my person.

I miss him at 4:30, when I would usually call him to tell him I'm on my way home. I miss him while watching the Office. I miss him while holding my friends new ADORABLE babies. I miss him at church. I miss him under the lamp post between my house and Sarah's.

Music has helped me reach and sort through my emotions. These lyrics have been playing in my head lately.

"There's a light at the end of this tunnel. Shinin' bright at the end of this tunnel For you, for you So keep holdin' on" Third Day- Tunnel

"I'm falling apart. I'm barely breathing With a broken heart That's still beating In the pain There is healing In your name I find meaning So I'm holding on " Lifehouse- Broken

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Healing Nightlights

This week I felt so exhausted. Physically, I am drained. My body feels like it is made of jello and is trying to push through cement blocks. Emotionally, I am drained. No tears today at church, which is where I usually sob. I drag myself home from work and plop on the couch. However, the dog needs to be walked, bills need to be paid and figured out, insurance companies need to be yelled at (what a pain in my toocus), estate papers need to be filled out, the fence needs to be built, and the motorcycle needs to be claimed. But amidst all this yuckiness has been little bits of light.

Nightlight #1: My dog is the most well behaved and coolest dog ever. He is a little afraid of kids, but easily trained. He drags me out of bed and is a wonderful loving presence in the house. The way Gabby bullied him and protected me, brought laughter into the house.

Nightlight #2: My mom and dad were with me all weekend. My mom has been staying with me for two weeks. She has one more week until she has to leave me. Ugh! My dad is so worried and stressed out about me. Just breathe. Pray for my parents. They have been amazing.

Nightlight #3: My friend, Amory, who was the first to arrive to kick the troopers out, who has surrounded me with love, who has cared for me even though she has a lot on her own plated, invited me to a community block party that her church was throwing for a needy church. Although, I only have a little bit to give right now, it was therapeutic to be part of that. I only had the strength to to stand back and hold her adorable son, while watching her church family share the Love of Christ to others. But through that, my strength is growing.

Nightlight #4: A college friend/ pastor sent me encouraging words that although Jeremiah 29 is often taken out of context, it still shows God's character. Deep theological stuff...

Nightlight #5: I went to Rocky River today and ran into loving and caring people there, who have been a great comfort. While preaching, the pastor quoted HeeJun's favorite quote "Expect great things from God, Attempt great things for God". It was a gentle reminder.

Nightlight #6: The man who is going to build the fence in our backyard has sister-in-law, whose fiance was killed in a motorcycle wreck two years ago. All she had to say was "been there, done that", and I knew she understood.

I do not want to say that I am healing, because I still feel like crumbling inside. And healing makes me think that "I am all better now", and I don't think that will ever happen. I still ache at 4:30 when I am driving home from work and would usually call HeeJun. I still hear motorcycles and think he is pulling in the driveway. I still hurt. But all these things, these nightlights, are tiny pieces of glue, that are putting me together after I crumble.