A piece of sunshine

In memory of my aunt

Those who try hard to build a better future talk about "the world since thepandemic" by means of such issues as "sustainability, resilience, solidarity via connectivity, great reset, deep change", as in the 11th Asia Future Forum held from Dec. 2 to 3.



With those topics, our lives go on ... My community had a three-day "gimjang" (making winter kimchi). On the first day, I received a Kakao Talk message from the sixth daughter (my elementary school alumni) of my aunt, saying "My mom went to God at 11 a.m."


So, instead of making kimchi, I went to the funeral of my aunt, So-Jeo (Magdalena) Park who passed away at the age of 97 on Nov. 19, 2020. My aunt was three years younger than my mother.


In general, she was healthy, but she couldn't move properly for several years due to a stroke. In the end, she had to stay in a nursing home. Then, almost with bare-bones, she was moved to her home just two months before her death, and her second daughter took care of her until the end.


She struggled with pain. Her fourth daughter, a Christian church deacon, prayed for her most sincerely on her dying bed. Finally, she took the last breath and dropped her arm when all her daughters had called her, saying "I love you, mom".


Among her seven daughters, two are Catholics, four are Christians of various denominations, and one is non-religious; but they had been very collaborative and supportive of their mother who always felt sorry that she had no son.


When my aunt was young, she learned to write by watching over my mother's shoulder at school.


She was very sociable and warm-hearted always greeting people with a smile. She was kind and listened to others. She danced with her shoulders when she was happy and played "janggu" (a kind of drum) well.


I still remember how she was proud and joyful to see us, two sister nuns, when my elder sister and I visited her.


When she had her mobility, she liked to organize sightseeing groups in the village. When she gathered 20 or 25 neighbors for sightseeing tours, she could go on the trip for free.


Like my mother, she was born Catholic, but she became inactive in her faith for many years due to the hardship of her married life. In front of a bowl of water, she prayed to Heaven and Earth to have a son. Then, only after the death of her husband in 1983, she returned to the Catholic faith.


She liked to wear traditional Korean clothes; she bundled up her head and wore it with a hairpin.

Even though she had little, she was fond of sharing with others. When the Sunday bus came to pick her up for Sunday Mass, she never forgot to give something to the driver and the secretary of the Church.


Looking back, I recognize that she truly knew how to share with others and to enjoy her life. With good skill, she even made her clothes such as Jeogori (upper garment), Baji (loose pants), Chima (skirt), and Jade Durumagi (overcoat).


My aunt's ossuary is enshrined in the place just below my parents in a Catholic mountain cemetery. May she rest in eternal peace in Heaven!



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