Saturday, April 16, 2011


Obviously, there are some issues that make it difficult to live abroad. The foreign language, food, culture, ect., come into play, but being so far away when a family emergency or family death occurs is the hardest part for me. With a 20+ hour plane ride, flying in for a funeral almost isn't feasible.

Since I've been in Korea, I've lost both of my Grandma's - two wonderful women whom I adored. I don't like funerals...that's not why it hurts. In fact, the first funeral I ever went to was my Great Grandma Ruthie's. And though I was only 4 years old, I remember it vividly. Looking into a casket isn't something that is easy for me, as I still remember her more often from that moment than I do from all the other times we had together. What I miss when I'm away, is the stories we share of the person who passed - when family and friends get together and remember the good times. I always find out something special or surprising about the person I loved from other people.

At my Grandpa Charles's funeral, his sister Joyce told stories of how they were as children. They used to sit on the cows they had at their farm and "wind" them up. That is, one person would sit on the cow, while the other grabbed the tail and swung it in a circle. Sadly, once during a very cold winter...the tail snapped off. :(

At my Grandpa Vernie's funeral, we looked through all of his old photo albums. There were a ton of pictures from his time as an MP on a military base during WWII. He was such a handsome man in a uniform...and there were quite a few pictures of him with lovely ladies who were not my Grandma Helen. (gasp!)

It's a very cathartic way to observe the passing of a life by sharing memories. We should do this more while the people we love are still here.

It's also hard to be so far away when something sad happens here. Though not as difficult as losing a close family member, I lost one of my best friends recently. My Kitty. Well, I didn't lose her...I know exactly where she is...on a hill behind our apartment.

At sixteen years old, her health that had belied her age for so long, finally turned. I guess it was a blessing that she didn't suffer a long drawn out death...but the last month of her life was anything but good. Now that she's gone, I have a kitty-sized hole in my heart. She was such a little lover, cuddler, comfort, and trial. She had more personality and sass than almost anyone I knew. Jason nicknamed her Phyllis. That was my Grandma's name. My Grandma was one of the sassiest people I knew...she was like that. If you didn't know her very well...she was off-putting. But, if you were fortunate enough to really get close to her, you knew what a wonderful soul she was. I miss them both.

I want to thank everyone who helped me over the years in caring for Kitty. I had a lot of help from friends, family, roommates, ect. Especially Carley and Stefan, who were her foster family for a year, even if she didn't say it...I'm sure she was appreciative.

To all my loved ones who have passed, I miss you all and hope you are in a better and happier place. And if you're looking down on me...please close your eyes when I'm in the shower.

Wasn't she a doll?

Finding a place to hide was high on her list of priorities - suitcases were a particular favorite.

She was very good at comforting me whenever I felt ill.

Miss you!