Sunday, January 13, 2008
A Kaleidoscopic Week
Aunty passed away last week. She was 73, and had lived most of her thirty years in America right here in NYC. Toward the end she went to live with a cousin in Chicago, which is where the family laid her to rest. There were all sorts of reasons to feel sad: she was one of those Asian parents who sacrifices everything for the happiness of her children without thinking of her own; she never got to see a reunited Korea and return to the small village in North Korea where she had been born; not to mention the cancer had given her so much pain. For those of us she left behind, there was the melancholy realization that the events of life will tumble on. Like the pieces inside a kaleidoscope. But not as colorful. Nor as shiny. And much more broken. Much harder to distinguish reality from reflection. The tumbling of consciousness never stops until it's time to return to the earth. And yet Aunty's death did provide a momentary glimpse of real insight. Perhaps it was a picture of heaven. When Grandfather passed on, I saw a noble soldier who had lost his life on the field; with Grandmother, I just cried for hours, she who had carried me on her back when I was a child. But with Aunty, I felt hope. That there's got to be a perfect life after this broken world. Aunty had never seen America before boarding the plane in Korea in 1977. But still she got on it, fully believing it would carry her to a better place. I hope she was dreaming of flying before she took her last breath.