Summer experiences bring a range of emotions

My parents and I went on a trip to Hawaii, from Westlake, just before the 4th of July. This was my first trip to Hawaii and I had a great time. I snorkeled and enjoyed seeing how other boys like me were running away from the fish. I also went to Waikiki Beach and went to the Polynesian Center and really enjoyed myself.

We were still filled with joyful memories of the trip, when on Saturday, July 16, we received the news of the death of my maternal great-grandmother in South Korea.

It was 7 a.m. here in Westlake when we received the unfortunate call from my aunt. My aunt told us that our great-grandmother had passed away and that she, my uncle and my cousins were driving toward Busan, Korea, where my great-grandmother lived. When my mom had received the news, she started to cry. She said that in the past few days, she had intended to call my great-grandmother. She regretted that she did not.

My mom spent the next couple hours, calling her mom, dad, sister and brothers. I was also shocked by the news but I did not know my great-grandmother well enough to be as miserable as my mom was, since my family left Korea eight years ago, when I was five. I am now thirteen. I didn’t have many chances to meet my great-grandmother.

While my mom was talking and crying on the phone, my dad searched the internet for gravesites where my great-grandmother could be buried. Since we are in America, we could not make the trip to Korea in time for the funeral. so we decided to help our family by searching for available Christian burial grounds, where a priest could pray for the deceased.

We also sent our relatives some money to spend on the funeral and burial. After that ended, my family decided to go into the room where we kept our cross. There we prayed for our great grandmother and hoped she would go to a better place.

Finally, we started to calm down. By then it was around 9 a.m., so we ate breakfast. My mom did not have much of an appetite but my dad and I were starving. We had to clean the house since my dad’s friend had been scheduled to visit us and stay at our house for two days. Because of that event, we were forced to get back to normal, which really helped my mom not cry and become normal again. We did not want his visit to be sad.

A couple of hours later, my dad’s friend arrived by car and we had to pretend that we were all happy despite our misfortune. Still, having him with us gave us some time to be happy and keep away from our thoughts about my great grandmother. So we had a good time. My parents and the friend had a pleasant conversation. I don’t think he noticed how sad we really were. But, similar to my great-grandmother, he had to leave.

The next morning was Sunday, so we went to church. We went to church so that we could pray for my great-grandmother again. We asked our priest to dedicate the mass to her and the priest was glad to do so. After the Eucharist, there is a little time for the people to pray about anything they want, so we prayed for my great-grandmother. When we were doing that, my mom started to cry again silently and her friend tried to comfort her by talking to her.

Overall, from this experience, I have learned that when someone dies, they are only leaving temporarily, even though it does not feel that way. The ones who have passed away get to rest in peace. After you finish your visit on earth, you will one day get to meet them again. So for those of you, who are really depressed from someone’s death, you will see them again and you do not have to worry as much. I believe that this was what my great-grandmother wanted us to realize.  

Taeho Kim

Taeho Kim is an eighth-grader at Lee Burneson Middle School.

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Volume 3, Issue 16, Posted 2:54 PM, 08.09.2011