December 26, 2006 at 10:05 am 3 comments

그녀의 손실은 나의 손실 이다.

Noodles for breakfast, cigarettes and soju before bed. In the morning I glance out the window and there she is, in the yard, kneeling beside a large red bowl… cabbage and peppers, salt and the garden hose. Was this how it should have been for me? Does this feel right, Julia? Am I home?

I was really curious as to why I was being treated like we had always known each other. To welcome me into her home, to feed me and nurse me back to health. I let myself fantasize about this. It was just time before she told me. Told me what I was hoping – that Ajumma is my birth mother. But I never pushed her to tell me our truth.

On Christmas Eve Ajumma asked if I would go to church with her. I didn’t want to – but I felt like it would fill a need for her, so I did. After mass she stayed in her seat. “Shall we go?” I asked her. But she just sat there, staring straight ahead. A few more minutes and everyone was gone. I yawned – hoping she would see I was tired and needed, in my fragile state, to go back home. She didn’t even move. A few more minutes and she leaned over, grabbed my hand and said, “Many years ago, I birthed a baby girl.” My eyes filled with tears, my face red and flush – I felt faint. Oh My G-d! NOW?! LIKE THIS?? HERE?!  In a church?! I wanted to stop her – I wanted to cover her mouth with my hand. But I couldn’t move. Frozen.

“She was a sick baby.” (I’m sick, I thought to myself.) She paused and then she continued. “She was a sick baby… and she died.”

WHAT?! No! That is wrong! She was not sick, Ajumma, she is right here! Here I am. Is that what you told them about me? That I died?

As reality slowly crept through me I felt the tears roll down my cheek. This would be another loss. No, this was not my reunion. This was not about me, but about Ajumma and her loss which was mine as well. Her baby had died. Her baby was different. It wouldn’t be my story.

My ears plugged with the heat of my emotions. My throat full. I swallowed and swallowed. My breath taken from my chest. I could see Ajumma’s mouth moving as she continued her story, but I couldn’t hear her.

“I prayed every day,” Ajumma said. “And this is why I think you are my answer.”

Exhausted, we walked home. Hand in hand.

즐거운 성탄, 아줌마.



Entry filed under: Adoption, Korean.

Things they say… the II Happy Birthday, Emah.

3 Comments Add your own

  • 1. p&c  |  January 2, 2007 at 6:36 pm

    Your post reminds me of a movie I saw recently, Sympathy for Lady Vengeance.

  • 2. Margie  |  January 6, 2007 at 4:34 pm

    Oh, Julia. Sending you hugs, as I don’t know what words to say.

  • 3. Margie  |  May 15, 2008 at 12:38 pm

    Circling back again.

    Please give Ajumma this for me:



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Julia’s Jam

It’s just not that black & white. Not because I am taking a stand against. Just because, the issues I face are somewhere in the grey area and to weed through them, I blog. I blog. ~

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