Monday, October 18, 2004

My Dear Mother (Mar. 21, 1941 - Oct. 18, 1995)

Today marks the 9th year anniversary of my mother's death.

Most of us either have, or will have experienced the loss of parents at some point in our lives, which makes my situation hardly unique. But I still would like to share a few words about my mother.

My mother endured a very hard life. My father was in and out of my life until he left the family for good when I was six, leaving her to raise me and my sister alone when single motherhood was unheard of in Korea at the time. I am still haunted by the childhood memories of watching her helplessly as she struggled financially and emotionally to keep the family together. I am still bewildered by how she overcame the overwhelming odds through her difficult 54 years.

This one poignant story from her teenage years will stay with me for the rest of my life. When she was in high school, after her own father had left the family also, she found herself months behind in tuition bills. At the school's weekly assembly, the principal of the school routinely called out a dozen or so of students who were also behind in tuition bills in front of the entire student body. After her name was called, she was ordered to go and stand with other students in the same predicament in full display before her classmates for public humiliation.

That unspeakable experience along with her childhood turmoil emboldened her to make our lives much better off than her own, working long and hard hours as a single mother with little regard to her own well being. And through good and countless bad times, her faith in God never wavered.

My Mom was a wonderful mother.

My mother was a phenomenal human being.

Just two days before her death, she asked me and my sister to huddle around her hospital bed. It was our one last time for the three of us together as a family. She admonished us to keep our faith in God in so many words, and then said,

"Thank you. Thank you for having been such wonderful children."

While the dark clouds of the profound sadness and grief that engulfed my heart in the months following her burial have subsided long ago, I am still mindful of the painful memories of her hard life, even though I am certain that she has long forgotten them in the presence of her Dear Savior. My guess is God still uses them to humble me and help keep things in perspective.

Oh Death, where is thy sting?
Oh Death, where is thy victory?
- I Corinthians 15:55


At October 18, 2004 10:19 AM, Blogger Jenny said...

Dave--that was a very touching entry. Thanks for sharing with us. :)

At October 18, 2004 8:42 PM, Blogger Jenn said...

Yes, thank you for sharing. You should call your blog "The best Mother in the World"

At October 19, 2004 7:43 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

very affecting. Your mother was/is beautiful.
I'm glad you had such a powerful/loving person in your life. Mother is such a comforting presence... even from beyond the grave.

my weblog is at:
(I'm too lazy to log in, I'd rather spend the time rereading your searing words of truth.)

At October 21, 2004 9:05 PM, Blogger Jenny said...

By the way, Dave, I didn't know you went to Urbana! Did you know that I went to Urbana twice (00, 03).

At October 21, 2004 9:09 PM, Blogger David Cho said...

Jenny, so you just went to the last one in 03. Man, doesn't 87 sound like ancient history? We gotta talk about that. I used to be more active, but the activity level dipped in my 30's.

At January 14, 2005 3:12 PM, Blogger Heather said...

I'll bet that if asked, she would have said it was all worth it just to know that it brought her two wonderful kids, one of whom would touch the lives of many others by sharing her story with them. All she went through is a testament to her strength and to the Lord's faith in her. Thanks for bringing her memory out for the rest of us to learn from. :-)


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