Three months ago, on December 18th, 2006, my father passed away. I haven’t posted anything since, because it seemed that no other event deserved notice until this event was recognized. A quarter of a year has passed, and I’ve had some time to reflect upon my father’s life. It would be a stretch to say that I’ve had a perfect father-son relationship with him. In fact, if you consider the first 25 years of my life, it would be more accurate to say that our relationship was horrible. However, I am truly grateful that the last 5 years of our time together ended with a sweet reconciliation. I do not think it a coincidence that this is also the time I have been a member of the church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. I love my father, respect him, and will miss him dearly. I hope that he was able to feel of my love and admiration for him as manifested by my actions. I look forward to the day when we will be reunited in the life after.
Since his passing, I have had an opportunity to look over many documents to which I have not had access (nor knew existed). He had written several journal-like entries. He had posted numerous entries on a Korean website. He had written a mini-autobiography when he was about my age as he was applying to various jobs. Reading through these documents, it has made me focus in on his lifetime accomplishments. The most magnificent is that he immigrated to the United States at the age of 19. Although this doesn’t sound like a big deal now, this single incident has impacted our entire family – his brother, his mother, his in-laws, and of course our immediate family – who all immigrated to the U.S. with his help over the years. Back then, there were no regular phone calls back home. He had no idea when he’d be back – if he’d be coming back. As far as he was concerned, it was like taking a one-way rocket ship to another planet. Back then, there was no racial political correctness. He took a wad of cash and headed for a foreign land where he did not know a soul and did not speak the language. When he finally arrived in New York City, he was mugged and beaten up badly – so badly that he locked himself in his motel room for 3 days as he tried to recover physically and emotionally. The motivations for why he did this is hard to pinpoint. My best guess is that he wanted something greater than the opportunities availed to him in Korea.
Nevertheless, it makes me wonder how I fit into the grand picture. I wonder if I’ll ever be able to live up to this grand risk that my father took. In some ways, I feel it a responsibility – what will be my contribution to the future generations of our family? In some ways, it is a reassurance, that this adventurous blood also burns through my own veins.
I’m certain that he watches with much hope and anticipation as any father watches over his son. Sure seems like a lot of pressure, but I’ll try not to disappoint.