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.