Friday, July 24, 2009

I'd rather be in Alaska

Today as I was sweating in the HOT afternoon sun during the Summer Carnival at work, I remembered that last year on this day I was in Alaska. Kinda took my breath away to have that realization.

Ps. Can you believe there is a National Conference on Widowhood? Maybe next year...

Thursday, July 23, 2009


Holy Moly Macaroni!

I had to sit in a CPR training class today. If only the guy knew what was really going on in my head! I had some friends who noticed the tears and gave me encouraging nods. Mostly my brain just thought about that day. I am still haunted by that day. All the time. I wonder when that will stop. I wonder when the good memories of HeeJun and our life together will overpower the memories of that day. Counselors say the more you talk about it, the easier it becomes.


I remember going for a walk the night before and holding his hand. I commented on how soft his skin was and he said "i use soap."

I remember he was amazed at the Chinese drummers in the Opening Ceremonies of the Olympics that night. I fell asleep while he watched it. I don't even remember going to bed.

I remember shopping at Target and Lowes that day. I asked the lady where to find the bread. I bought two flowers for my mother- in -love at Lowe's.

I remember the knock at the door and worrying that the shirt I was wearing was too tight. I will never wear that shirt again.

I don't remember their faces or their names. I remember they said "it's bad". I remember screaming that they were joking. I remember they put their Trooper hats on my coffee table.

I remember laying in the bathroom calling B. She didn't believe it was him. She thought they had the wrong person.

I remember my mom saying, "we're on our way". I remember Amory coming in while I was on the couch and saying "we're here". Did I call her? Did the troopers? How did they get that number? I remember Poppen coming over and the Olympics were on. When did the troopers leave? I remember Pastor Jimmy came by. My parents came. His parents came.

I remember shaking and not being able to stop.

I remember Doug came and I walked out to hear how it had happened. I remember my dad's hands holding me up. Brakes, trees, CPR, a lady named Beverly stopping to help, ambulance, a tear,...

Yep, that's what i was thinking while this guy is trying to teach me to do 30 compressions and two breaths.

I know it sounds like I'm in a bad place tonight. I'm really not. I can't wait to dance it out to So You Think You Can Dance! And I get to see my sweet ECU friends this weekend.and I get to hold adorable and miraculous babies! I have the new Black Eyed Peas song "I've got a feeling...that tonight's gonna be a good night" stuck in my head. So don't worry. I'm ok. I'm familiar with this and recognize how to acknowledge it and keep moving.

Just keep swimming- Dora from Nemo.

Monday, July 20, 2009

ahh, the waves of grief

I made it through the weekend, stayed busy, kept moving, embraced the day, tried to be present in my emotions. I even thought maybe something was wrong with me since I wasn't shedding one tear.

Then Monday happened. whoa. I couldn't breathe. I couldn't think. I couldn't be...I just needed HeeJun to be there. I wanted to talk to him. I needed to have him near. I wanted my old life back. Yep, I was not in a good place.

I had to leave work for a while and just go sit at a cemetary nearby to cry it out. Haven't cried like that during the day in a while.
I went to this place...
because I couldn't be at this place...

I went to a grief group today- a little different than the therapuetic grief group I've been attending. It was more about learning and finding new ways to think. Super deep! I haven't thought like that, maybe. Discussions about object and subject permanence. Whoa!
We were asked to think of metaphors for our life; I picked a drowning victim, swimming in calm water than suddenly drowning, fighting for air, fighting for life, fearful, hopeful that someone will come...then I changed it to someone swimming with a life boat or life jacket and the jacket is taken away. Not so scary, since I'm a lifeguard, right? I can do this. I can fight. It's still scary to have what you thought was there, taken away. It's still sad, but I can swim. Then I thought, how could I fit God in there? Is He a larger life raft near by, or is He actually the ocean that I am swimming in, just throwing some waves at me once in a while? Maybe the ocean I am in is actually a kiddie pool? ahh, deep thoughts by erica...

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Happy Birthday My Love

July 18th. You should have been 31. We should have gone to visit you family and your sister should have made you a cake... Or maybe they would have come here. Your mom would have made Kalbi and PiBiPop. You would have grilled out and been proud of your master grilling skills. They would have bought you shirts and you would return them the next day. Maybe we would have had a baby by now. Maybe that would have been your gift. If you were here and I know what I know now, it would all be different.

Last year his parents came to visit us. i tried to plan a big party since he was 30, but it fell through. He didn't care. He just wanted to spend it with his family. He said Alaska was his big present. He got a lot of presents for our Alaska trip . His sister bought a cheesecake and made a cake. If only I had known in 23 days, everything would change. If I knew...I would hold on and not let go. I would enjoy every moment.

This year, I knew I needed to get out of town. If not, I would have done the "what if, and the why, why, why's". I knew I wasn't strong enough for that. Doug and Angela were kind enough to take me hiking up to Linville Falls and around some beautiful trails on the Blue Ridge Parkway. We also visited the crash site. I know it was hard for Doug to be there. I am so grateful for them and their willingness to hike with me on a day that I was most zombied out. I honestly didn't process the ride there and can't remember now which park we visited. I was just there for the ride. I did make it a point to enjoy the beauty around me and to enjoy spending time with good people. Being outside and enjoying the day was the best thing I could do. I think HeeJun would have liked that i was doing that. Although, he would have hated the hiking and the bugs (He would have said Asians don't hike.) I was so tired afterwards that i just zonked out and had no time to cry.

Juneau's pack for the day!

So I thought I would cry today, but still the tears are won't come. What is wrong with me? Even at church today- (ps. I went to a church where the preacher had a fo-hawk and blonde tips. how cool is that?!)- no tears. which most likely means they will come at the weirdest time.

Well, Happy Birthday to my HeeJun. I wonder if someone had told you at your birthday last year that you only had 23 more days on Earth, would you have seen it as a gift to be with your Savior in 23 days?

As Beth said, "you are where you would most like to celebrate your birthday".

Tuesday, July 14, 2009


Reading a lot of the blogs I follow of widows, it seems God was up to something this time of year last year. A lot of us are going through "the year mark". Geez.

I am getting so much out of reading "Believe" by Jennifer Silvera. She understands the "moving", but being in a fog. She gets the contradiction between enjoying life, but missing your other half. She understands the desire to hold on to God but struggle with Faith at the same time. She understands my gratitude towards all the wonderful friends and family that help get us through the days. She gets the desire to just "do" something, so we don't wallow. Then the "doing" becomes therapeutic and healing. Yep, I'm liking the book. That is one thing that is slowly returning. I can sit and read a book now without having to read the same paragraph over and over.

As I was reading the book, I was amazed at how introspective the author is. I feel like sometimes things just happen to me and I don't even acknowledge what is going on, let alone really think about it. Really think about how I'm feeling or what I'm believing right now. Just trying to make it through the day. I made it a point to actually sit for a while and write down what is going on in my heart, what's going on in my Faith, what really going on. I have found that I am much more "in my head" than I was before HeeJun died. Yep, still have trouble writing that. We were so naive then. Sorry, two different topics swirling in my head right now; how naive we were, and how I didn't acknowledge life before. I guess they might be the same thing; I took life for granted. I didn't even realize how awesome life was. Didn't think about it enough.

So, today was a beautiful day. HeeJ would have loved it. He would have been itching to ride. I didn't even acknowledge the beauty of the day, didn't even realize it was pretty. Until today at work someone mentioned it. I looked up to the blue skies and breathed in the smell of summer, and almost choked on my sadness. It literally hurt my chest to acknowledge another beautiful day, but then I decided to embrace it. What does that mean, exactly, I don't know. But I made a decision to acknowledge the beauty of the day.

I was grocery shopping (for Frappachinos, of course) and saw an older gentleman on a motorcycle today. My mind shouted, "I bet he's been riding all his life. HeeJun wanted to be that guy. He wanted to get a Goldwing and ride around the country in it when he grew up. I bet that guy has no idea.Lucky bastard." I almost choked again on the tears and the screams. But again, I decided to acknowledge this sadness, instead of trying to push it aside and run away. I looked at the guy and almost wanted to tell him my story, but poor guy would have thought "uh...crazy lady...leave me alone." At least that is what HeeJun would have thought.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Engaging therapy

I engaged in life this weekend and it was so therapeutic.

My Amy brought her baby and hubby to visit me this weekend. I can not describe how amazingly healing it is to hold her beautiful daughter and to see my dear friend. I remember hearing about Amy's pregnancy and having so many strong emotions. Now holding sweet Cora only brings peace and sweet joy.

I also was spoiled tremendously by dear Liz and her adorable baby girl . This quote reminds me of Liz. "We find that our circles of friends shift...We are surprised and disappointed that people we thought were good friends became distant, uneasy, and unable to help us. Others who were casual acquaintances become suddenly close, sustainers of life for us..."_ Martha Whitmore Hickman. I find that i can breathe around these sustainers of life, even if it is only for a little while.
I worked on HeeJun's scrapbook. Should I call it a life book? Or a love book? I was actually excited about putting those pictures together and finding just the right arrangement for the pictures. At times it felt like HeeJun was right there in the pictures, so real. I could feel his smile, his touch, his presence. I almost turned around a couple of times or shouted out, "Hey HeeJ, remember when we went ski-ing with Sarah and Richard? Remember Great Gatsby day? Look at how silly I look in that homecoming dress! Look at how young we look?"

I finally got the energy, the oofph, to buy the paint to re-paint our kitchen. I hate the flaming yellow we painted it. Big Bird yellow as Matt called it. But HeeJun painted it, so it was harder than I thought to buy the paint. one small step.

I found this blog site with these hilarious "widow cards". I laugh every time I look at them. I printed out the "You'll have to excuse my lateness. I'm a widow" , "You'll have to excuse the mess. I'm a widow" and the "You'll have to excuse me for forgetting your name, again" cards.

I danced tonight like Cameron Diaz dances in the Holiday. Except I danced to Playing for Change. Hands in the air. dancing and imagining my HeeJun dancing with me.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

The dreaded countdown

July 9th. Month 11.
At this time last year we were planning our trip to Alaska. I was trying to organize a birthday party for HeeJun. We had no idea.

The countdown begins today. 11 months today. I have felt this cloud of dread for the past couple months, since the summer started, knowing that a few horrible things were quickly approaching...
HeeJun's 31st birthday would have been July 18th. 9 more days. tick tock.

The year anniversary is August 9th. tick tock.

My 30th will be October 1. I will soon be older than he ever was. It's not supposed to be like that.

Tick tock.

WomanNShadows finished my mother-in-love's quilt. Omani's birthday is the day before the accident. We were supposed to be driving down the next day to celebrate. I don't think she is going to celebrate this year, but I plan on giving her the quilt anyway.I hope it brings her comfort. WomanNShadows is also making one for me out of all his t-shirts and all those special shirts that I know. When I picked up the quilt today, I saw a pocket she had beautifully crafted into the quilt. I know that pocket.

I started reading Believe by Jennifer Silvera. oh my. I can only get through maybe one page a night. She writes the words I feel. I know that feeling of hearing the doorbell ring and thinking nothing of it. I remember being worried about the shirt I was wearing when I heard the doorbell ring. Now a doorbell rings and I don't worry about what I'm wearing. It's a whole other worry now. She writes of visiting her husband at the accident site. That thought never crossed my mind. To go there. Maybe because it was far away. Maybe because I did not know it was an option. I wonder why I never thought of it. I was too stunned to think that day. I didn't see HeeJun until 3 or 5 days later (was it 3? was it 4?) at the funeral home. Jennifer writes so beautifully. It's almost like that car wreck on the side of the road deal...I know I shouldn't read it before bed because I will cry to sleep, but it is so hard not to read it. I almost feel as though I will find the "answer" in how to Believe in her pages.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

love letters

I was going through some letters that HeeJun and I wrote each other to see what to put in the scrapbook and I found this note. I remember finding it on my doorstep the night I returned from Nova Scotia my sophomore year in high school. We were "just friends" and hanging out with each other every day. Ahh, young love.

Hello. Welcome home. Everyone missed you very much. Ok, everyone probably missed you but I can't tell you for sure, but I know I missed you very much...I was lying in bed last night and thinking about us and how we are. I decided that all I want for my birthday is for you to be my girlfriend. When you called the other day, I wanted to say I love you really bad. I want to see you every second. Always remember that I love you and that I will be there for you.

Then he quoted the country song, "If I could make a living out of lovin' you, I'd be a millionaire in a week or two." What a geek.

I also found a note that said, " I can't wait to grow really old and grey with you." Ouch, there goes my heart.

wonders and ramblings

I wonder when I will be able to pass an accident on the road without becoming hysterical.

I wonder when my jaw will stop hurting from holding back the tears.

I wonder when it will be ok to shed one tear without it feeling like a dam will burst. I wonder when I decided my house is the safe place to cry. I wonder if he is standing by me when i imagine that he is there. is that just my imagination? I wonder when it will seem real. when will the gasping end? when will i be able to breathe again? i wonder when my brain decided to hold its breath? I wonder if i will ever be able to take a deep breath with friends without crying. I wonder what made me decide to hold in the tears, as if one tear will let an ocean through. i wonder if that little squeak and gasps of sobs will ever become familiar to me. i wonder when it will feel like he is not on vacation again. I wonder when I will start cooking again.

Some things have become easier. I don't need to go to the grave site anymore. The stone is now here and I didn't need to sit there for hours this time. Shopping at the Target that I was at while he was riding isn't so hard anymore. Watching his favorite shows doesn't take my breath away anymore. Holding babies doesn't make my heart ache as much anymore. Kids throwing peppers at me at work doesn't make me go into hysterics. I wonder when these things became easier. What made that happen?

Some things I have heard from other widows going through the faith issue; if God is the Author of this storm, it means He is either...
A. A punisher. He did this to punish me for disobeying him, for wishing others were dead. If that is the case, then how dare I miss HeeJun or be sad for HeeJun. Because then, all this is my fault.
B. A disciplinarian. God wanted to grow my character. If that is the case, I'm growing into someone I don't even recognize now.
C. Maybe He thought this life would be better for me...(like Edward Cullen in New Moon, yes, I'm a dork and yes, I just compared God to a vampire. Watch out for lightning soon.) But some people say or think maybe God had better plans for you. Really? Drinking frappes hourly, and seeing friends more often, and having the good side of the bed, and watching my shows without interruption is absolutely not better than having my husband near, here.
D. God is in control and still loves me, and cares for me, and hurts with me. That is a hard one to digest sometimes, but if I keep holding onto that, even when it seems that He is all the other things, maybe it will become easier to believe. I am starting to read Believe by Jennifer Silvera. I think it's going to be very comforting and will help me hold onto the Truth.

Saturday, July 4, 2009


I've been working up a pretty good angry and upset cry today. God had other plans (as he normally does in my life). I turned on the tv and one of my favorite movies was on. Signs with Mel Gibson. It just happened to be at the end where Mel is saying,
"See what you have to ask yourself is what kind of person are you? Are you the kind that sees signs, sees miracles? Or do you believe that people just get lucky? Or, look at the question this way: Is it possible that there are no coincidences?"

I have seen that movie a gazillion times, but never with these eyes. Never with the eyes of a widow, a hurting widow. Then i remembered the night HeeJun and I were up all night worrying about a loved one that we thought was dead. We got the call that they were alive. I remember HeeJun saying immediately after he hung up with the police officer, "there are no coincidences. God is in control."


Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Just call me Bella Swan (New Moon, chapt 3-5)

I'm back from Nova Scotia.

It rained a lot.

I read the Twilight series a lot. I slept a lot.

I spent time with family, relaxing a lot.

I missed HeeJun a lot.