My mom was born on October 13, 1938 in Seoul, South Korea. She had two older brothers ,now deceased; and two younger sisters who are living in Korea and in Los Angelas respectively.
She grew up in Korea and she received her bachelor’s degree in Korean Literature in Korea. She met my dad in 1968 and they were united in marriage on May 28, 1970 at a Roman Catholic Church in their hometown Junju. My brother was born in 1972 and I followed two years later.
We moved to New York in February 1982. We moved a couple of times before settling in White Plains, N. Y. In the late 80’s my mom decided to study fashion and she received an associate’s degree in fashion at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City. She worked hard as an assistant fashion designer for many years before retiring in 2003 at the age of 65.
In retirement, my mom kept busy with her many hobbies including sewing, gardening and painting. She loved to take a plant and make it multiply. The last time I saw my mom at her house, she was surrounded by about 20 tiny baby plants all grown from a single plant.
She had never painted until retirement, but it was amazing how quickly she picked it up. My mom was great with her hands and she had an eye for color.
This still life painting was one of my favorite and it hung in my kitchen for the last couple of years.
My mom painted this for Soso.
She was always trying new things and she had a passion for learning that lasted her whole life. This passion served her well in life and I know that it will serve Soso well in hers. I’ve realized only recently how much she takes after her Nana.
Most of all, she enjoyed spending time with her family, especially her granddaughter. She took special joy in watching Soso grow.
My mom had a beautiful Catholic Mass at St. Mary Queen of Angels in Russell. Father Charlie, the pastor, incorporated little facts and anecdotes of my mom to make the Homily personal and truly special. She was beautifully dressed in a Brooks Brother’s suit thanks to my brother with a simple string of pearls.
She had a great turnout of people who knew her however briefly and people who love and respect my brother. I know that she would have been happy with that. We were the most important thing to her and how it must comfort her to know that my brother has so much support in a place that’s so far from family
I read the First reading from the Book of Wisdom.
The just, though they die early,
shall be at rest.
For the age that is honorable comes not
with the passing of time,
nor can it be measured in terms of years.
Rather, understanding is the hoary crown,
and an unsullied life, the attainment of old age.
Those who pleased God were loved;
they who lived among sinners were transported–
Snatched away, lest wickedness pervert their mind
or deceit beguile their soul;
For the witchery of paltry things obscures what is right
and the whirl of desire transforms the innocent mind.
Having become perfect in a short while,
they reached the fullness of a long career;
for their souls were pleasing to the Lord,
therefore he sped them out of the midst of wickedness.
But the people saw and did not understand,
nor did they take this into account.
I feel like my mom died early, though she was 72. Then again, I don’t know the age that I wouldn’t have considered early. Still, I’m comforted in knowing that my mom lived a full life in the “short” time she was here. I’m comforted that God spared her a long period of pain which she would have surely experienced with advanced lung cancer. Watching her in pain even for the short 2.5 days was excruciating. I’m comforted knowing that she’s at peace.
As Soso wisely said at the age of 7, “I’m OK because I know that Nana is now OK.”
Rest in peace Mom and know that we who are left behind are at peace, too.