Dandelion Seeds

The fact that my son Noah will never get to meet my dad is one of the saddest realities I live with, in my weakest moments. The fact that my father never even had the chance to meet my little Noah is gut-wrenching to me, in my lowest of lows. For if I had to name the two biggest influences in my life? They would be my father and my son.

My husband Davy is my forever one. But I married him. I chose him.

I did not choose my father and I did not choose my son. That is blood. I am their blood.

My mother is the one who carried me in her belly and pushed me out into this world, but it is my father who shaped me most. My mother knows this. She loves this. Because, my father was unlike anybody in my life and this will be true forevermore. I know this. I love this.

Because you see, to know my father was to love him, the way you love the feeling of your feet touching the ground firmly when you jump off a swing. The way you love picking up where you left off in your favorite book. The way you love free-falling into your own bed after some time away, because there’s just no place like home. Steadfast. Solid. My dad.

And his presence was surely felt this April when my little family of three made our trip back home to New York, to be at my brother’s wedding. Noah played his part of ring bearer and flower boy to perfection. It was just about the most perfect day that 17th of April…

Noah

There were, however, countless loved ones in attendance who wished my father could be there, of course and especially my mother. But she didn’t need to tell us this. And we did not voice this sentiment to her either. We did not want to take her joyous day away…

image

But my mother shed not one tear on my brother’s wedding day, although I had, she refused to. She glowed. Her strength that day kept me strong too. I owed that to her.

Her baby boy was married. I was married. She said this out loud in Korean to nobody in particular, as we left the wedding hall, but I heard her and I know in my heart she was talking to my dad who was listening from above.

My mother carried that same glow when she joined me and Davy and Noah on our trip to the cemetery to see my dad, just a week later. We had never made it to the cemetery on our last trip back to New York in 2012. I’d regretted it immensely. But I knew it was time to pay my dad a visit, and for Davy and Noah to pay their respects for their first time.

I remember my stomach being in knots that morning, the 23rd of April, an even bigger knot in my throat. I couldn’t swallow, as hard as I tried, the significance of the day. I cried, so very much, as I prepared to walk once again upon the grounds where my father lay for the last 12 years.

I never did let Noah see me cry that day.

I owed that to him.

~

Noah held my hand and he listened intently as I spoke to him…

This is where we come to remember my papa, your haraboji, because he’s not here with us anymore. He’s so very far away that we cannot see him or touch him, I’d said to Noah.

I’d then picked up a dandelion from the plush lawn by my father’s tombstone. Because one of Noah’s favorite things to do is blow on them and watch the seeds fly away. So I handed Noah the dandelion as we crouched in front of my father’s grave.

If you blow on this dandelion the seeds will fly away and some will reach haraboji way up in the sky. That’s where he is. That’s where he will always be, watching over us. And he will always know that you are the one who has sent him the beautiful dandelion seeds, I’d said to Noah.

Maybe one day Noah will ask about heaven and hell. And maybe one day I’ll tell him about all that’s heavenly, and not. Or not. My faith has not been the same since I lost my dad. It was never as strong as I pretended it was anyway. And I don’t know if it will ever be strong again. It is why I choose not to raise Noah in the Christian faith though that’s how I was raised.

In that moment though, Noah’s eyes lit up. He blew that dandelion so hard that the seeds starting swirling around his face, tickling him. We laughed and stared skyward together, as the precious seeds floated higher and higher. It didn’t matter how far they made it. Noah was entranced with the idea that he could somehow connect with the man whom I’d just referred to as “my papa.”

Whoosh

We watched Noah run from spot to spot picking dandelions and sending seeds of love up to my father. He didn’t want to stop. Davy was surprised by how quickly Noah caught on to the idea of being able to reach my father. My mother beamed with pride. Her grandson was so expressive in his desire to be a part of my father’s world in that moment, and intuitive enough to know just what she, his halmuhnee, needed right then and there…

NoahMomz

And in that moment, all the once-tangled and painful knots inside me unraveled and I knew I was right to have waited to bring these three loves of my life together to where my father rested.

Three

It was a beautiful day, that day in April, visiting my dad. It was my very own happy Father’s Day. In Belgium, Father’s Day falls on the 12th of June this year, this Sunday, one Sunday before it does in the States. So I will be celebrating again and again. No tears. Just love.

So Happy Father’s Day to everyone, every day this month, every day of the year. Why not? For new fathers and grandfathers, fathers lost and dearly missed, or fathers found anew, fathers here and there and everywhere.

I feel you.

Loved. Cherished. Remembered.

I’m reminded always now, by dandelion seeds in the air…

~

As I finish this blog, I’ve received news that my brother is in the hospital and very sick. The doctors can’t pin-point the cause of his blood infection, but as of this morning he is out of the ICU and stable. I choose to believe this is my father watching over him. And though I wish I could end this blog on a lighter note, I have never been one to hide my emotions when it comes to my family. I ask that you keep my brother in your thoughts. Thank you everyone for your love.

Always.

UPDATE: Friday, June 10th. My brother has been released in stable health and has returned home to rejoin his new bride. I do not have all the answers, and maybe I never will, but all I need to know is that my brother is home again, even cracking jokes. The newlywedding can pick up where it was left off.

Amazing.

Always dishing,

Jun

31 Comments

  1. Djeez, give a girl some warning, would you? I actually got a little teary-eyed while reading this! As were you, apparently, I’m so close to my father, and the idea of having to gather the courage to hold in tears and explain his absence to my children one day just makes me respect you even more. I hope you do have a great father’s day, both with the father you chose for Noah and with your father enjoying the dandelion seeds!
    (Also: your momz looks like such an amazing woman, both in your stories about and pics of her, and I’m hoping your brother will return to as good as (or better than) normal soon! )

    Reply
  2. kcsmum

    The world needs your writing. My ❤️ Is with you. I pray Danny recovers quickly. He is a strong, young man. Keep a good thought, Sweetie.

    Reply
  3. debchr

    Jun,

    Blessings to you, no matter what your beliefs! I’ll pray for your family in your time of need, your brother’s sickness. The happiest day of his life not even two months past, and now he’s so sick, lying in the ICU. We should savor every moment and always show our love because we do not know the number of our days.

    Both my parents died within the past three years, and when I visit their gravesite, I’m acutely aware of the loss of them. I’m reminded, that never again in my life, will anyone ever love me as they did.

    When you’ve lost BOTH of them…

    Reply
  4. What a touching story, Jun! I lost my Mama seven years ago, and as you know, it really doesn’t get easier. My Mama knew her grandkids and great grands, but her absence is felt every day. I’m so happy that Noah doesn’t yet know the pain of death, and that sending dandelion seeds to his haraboji is a good thing. No need to teach him a ‘religion.’ Your religion is love and respect, and that’s the best kind. I’m sending you and your family hugs, and yes, I’m praying for healing for your brother.

    Reply
  5. Peg Rejent

    Beautiful Blog post but my sincere words and prayers are for your brother now because he is your living flesh and blood and when the need is there we should focus now on his needs. Prayers being lifted up for Danny. God be with him and your family.

    Reply
  6. Carie

    This was so beautifully and lovingly written. I am in tears.

    I wish for your brother a swift recovery and hope the doctors find the cause of his illness.

    Thank you for sharing so much of your world with all of us!

    Reply
  7. Wo

    Sending well wishes to your brother Jun. I hope his new bride is okay, too. What a turn of events in such a short span of time. My heart goes out to them.

    Your dandelion seeds story opened up my flood gates. I can’t seem to stop crying. So beautifully written. Whew.

    Reply
  8. Jane

    Your writing is so expressive, so lyrical, so real. The connection between generations is palpable. Noah may have never met your dad, as my children never met my dad either, but at times I see my Father in them as you do Noah. Our blood, our DNA, our love is eternal. I am so saddened to hear of your brothers illnesses. I shall pray for him. I have a strong Faith, but I do not attend the church I was brought up in. I know there is something greater than I am and I shall one day see my beloved Father and Daughter again. You are spiritual in your own way. You treat your family with love, acceptance and kindness. That is simply enough. I admire the woman you have become.

    Reply
  9. Connie Scrimpshire

    That was the most beautiful story to express the feelings of us loosing a family member ! And the continuation of the love we have for them ! Prayers for your family and your brother! Hope all is well soon ! Happy Fathers Day to all !

    Reply
  10. I cried reading this as it was written with such emotion and I felt every word your wrote. You are a true writer Jun. I love the person you are and thankful I get to be a piece of your life. I will pray for Danny as I have been and I know your Dad is watching over him and all of you. Danny is strong and praying for quick healing and strength. Love, Sue

    Reply
  11. Oh how I wish I could write like you and express feelings and emotions you do. I send prayers and healing thoughts to your brother. Love to your mother and your little family. thank you for trusting us with your words.

    Reply
    1. Shannon Drew

      So beautiful. The picture of Noah pointing at the picture on the headstone & the way he’s looking at your momz got me..I lost it. What a sweet tribute to your dad. Praying for your brother to make a quick recovery. Life is so precious.

      Reply
  12. Kimberly Tolnaip

    I lost my dad when I was 9. I understand wishing he could meet my kids, he would love my son’s gentle nature and my daughter’s strong willed fiestiness. She’s so much like him. I wonder if he would be proud of who I’ve become. Loved your blog, definitely the best one yet. Xox

    Reply
  13. Chris

    I love you and your whole family so much. I feel I’ve known all of you forever. 💗💖

    Father’s day just hasn’t been the same since my father died. I always sucked it up for the kids and Rich.
    Now they have kids off there own and father’s day has a whole new meaning to them. 💖

    I’m praying for Danny, the Drs, you Davy and Noah.

    I hadn’t read this blog when I tweeted you last night. But it still holds true. 😉

    Love you and Meathead hahaha dandelions will always mean more than a nuisance for me now. I’ll blow them to heaven for all our dad’s.

    💜💖💚💛💙❤

    Reply
  14. You write so beautifully that I could feel the love and being safe around your dad. You should put out a Father’s Day book next year, to inspire dads to live up to yours. I’m so sorry your brother is ill. May he heal quickly. Love sent your way always.

    Reply
  15. Thank you for this. My father was “found anew.” We were estranged for 20+ years and finally decided to forgive and reconnect 15 or so years ago. I treasure every moment I spend with him. I love your dandelion illustration. What a wonderful gift you gave to Noah.

    Reply
  16. Megan (@hilarios)

    So many thoughts and prayers to you during this time.

    How you feel about your papa is how I feel about my Dad. Only 2 years for me, but hard every day. Unfortunately, my mom far less caring and loving than yours. My mom loves to tell me how she is happier than ever–she started dating a man 3 weeks after her husband of 40+ years passed away.

    Some people… yet, I still play “big brother” with her, since I know my dad would want me to treat her better than she treats me.

    Reply
  17. Jaekyung

    This is why I keep coming back to this blog. You are such a great writer, I really did feel something reading this and you have such a way of expressing your emotions. I wish you the best, Jun.

    Reply

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