Posts Tagged ‘life’

The beast bit off my hand

May 21, 2008

If I go back with my memories, tracing back to the morning of the lawn mower accident changed my life upside down, liberally I can state it as such.

On a beautiful Saturday morning, Sept.23.1989, less than month since we moved in to this tiny 3 bed room and a den with huge back yard house near my business, The Beach Store.

The most important thing I am concerned about is not how, when or what had happened, but what kind of things went through my mind, psychological aspects of it. Especially what it did to my whole being, which resulted in transformational experience.

It only took less than a split second, Clearly it was dumbest thing to do put a hand in a running lawn mower, trying to get grass out of it. It was like the beast bit off my hand in a less than a split second. The dark red blood was gushing out as the speed of my heart beat.

Oops, Oh God, Oh shit!. I screamed out silently, there were no one was there to hear me. “I must stop this bleeding, or I will die in 2 minutes if I don’t”

In a split second, I put my right hand over the bleeding hand.” Go get some help, but don’t go in the house “.My kids were eating cereal, my daughter Eunie  6, my son Eugene was 2 years old.

In a split second, I realized, “Oh my God, Oh shit, I am a handicap mother for my kids for rest of their lives”.

“It’s done deal now “.The deepest sense of loss forever will remain. In a split second, most grey and darkest, helpless feeling took over my whole being, body and soul mind. It was sort of pain and severe paralyzing shock though out my body, can’t quite pin point where it was hurting.

In a split second, that was the moment of beginning point of my journey.” Oh my God, what am I supposed to learn from this?” My question never quite answered, and it is still remaining as question not fully answered and I still ask “What is my lesson?” “What am I learn  from this experiences?”

In a split second, I knew what I must do next. I walked calmly to my neighbor’s house cross the Street, asked Donna to call 911 and bring something to tie my wrist with. And continued to give Donna instructions what to do in a such a calm collective way, maybe that’s why she was so shaking instead of me, couldn’t even talk. I had Donna write names and phone numbers. And ask someone to take my kids inside  of the house because I glanced with my side eyes, noticed they were crying and watching me from front of our house. I couldn’t bear to see them traumatized more than they have to.( That’s the reason I did not want them to visit me at the hospital, but let them know that I was fine by talking to them on the phone.) I silently pleaded in my mind “Please forgive me for getting hurt, I am so sorry…..”

I felt like it was almost a split second later after I got through with all the instructions with Donna, the fire truck came and the ambulance followed right after. I didn’t feel any pain at all until I got into the ambulance. What the heck!, I screamed out loud as I can this time, now I’ve got somebody to hear me out loud, demanding and pleading for something for my pain, but they had a good reason they couldn’t give me more. I forgot or I had no memories at all about what they said or maybe I was in no condition to understand anything at all.

In a split second, or was it a longest ride, I found myself in the emergency room at the UC Irvine Hospital. I can’t understand how my girl friend Linda got to me so fast from Los Angeles, 57 miles away, I wondered as I lay there helplessly, Then I heard my dearest girl friend Linda asking the doctor, in a whispering voice from the other side of the curtains.

“Can I give her my thumb? Is it possible?” I could not believe what she was willing to give up, her own thumb for me. “Is she for real?” In a split second, I guess I was in a shock with more shocking split moment. This time it was a different kind of shock. I could not hear what Doctor had told her. In a split second,  “Oh God, I have a friend.” Still this day I sometimes ask myself could I have given my thumb if she was injured, of course answer would be, yes, because I knew she would have done that for me. But what if she got injured first place, would I be willing to give her my thumb….I often wondered what my answer would have been……Still not sure of my answer to that….Could I have if I was a single without my kids? Or is this just an excuse for my answer toward “No”

The time went very slowly when they rolled me in front of the operation room. They left me there for a longest time like 3 to 4 hours, frankly I was in no condition to have sense of time or anything but noticed the hallway was so cold and one time I thought about what if my wounds getting rotten waiting so long…..

Maybe it was drugs that gave me to give plenty of allowance for this unfortunate accident victim to take my turn who needed operation room before me. And it was a bit of comfort to me to know my life was not in immediate danger. In a split second, I felt generous, “Oh, You can take my turn.” I mumbled. In a split second, I was assuring myself, “this is also my lesson, so, learn to give allowances”, As I awoke time to time from my drug state, “It’s O K, everything will be fine”. An assurance of  the still voice came from somewhere every time…

Finally, I awoke up, it was next morning, In a split second, I felt the excruciating pain,  throbbing left hand (in my head, as far as I am concerned my left fingers existed all of them, I felt all the nerves were there), arm and all the way to the shoulder.

In a split second, “O K, is this how it’s going to be?” “O K, is this what I am going to get?” “O K, then, I will take it!” I will take it all what’s coming to me” “I will embrace whatever coming my way, I will take it all.” “I will not turn away, refuse or try to avoid what’s coming to me.” It only took a split second to decide, I grunted my teeth, said to myself silently, and “This is it!”

The nurse came in with the needle in her hand heading to the Ivy stand, “What is it?” ” It’s for pain , Demerol ” In a split second, I said to her clearly,  “No, I don’t want it” The shock on her face, she could not believe what she thought what I really said, and said with almost a pity like  ( you don’t know what you are saying..) ” Oh, honey you going to need it. You will soon see, you will ask for more, everyone does, you don’t need to suffer you know.” It only took a split second to say one more time “No, I don’t want it.” She said  “O K, honey, let me know if you change your mind any time O K ?”

Later that morning, Doctor’s morning rounds team came in, The Doctor who was glancing at my chart, asked nurse, “What happen here?” Pointing the chart, she shook her head ”NO, She didn’t want it.” By this time all of them looking to see what they were talking about, and they all turn to look at me. I seriously forgot what kind of look that was. (“Are you crazy, stupid, or gutsy, or all three?”) I had no expressions on my face when I was watching them, like retarded little person lying in bed helplessly don’t even know what is going on.

In a split, I was already ready to take upon rain or shine, any more pains or sufferings. I was willing to extend my arms and embrace whatever it is. But “Wow here!!!” ” B… shit!,  Embrace your pain? Who said that so easily” “How do you embrace your pain?” In a split second, ” Attentively Feel the pain, all of it, be that pain, every bit of it, recognize degree of that pain, notice how much it hurts ” ” don’t try not to feel the pain, don’t ignore it, be that pain that is inside of you, an observer is observed !”

In a split second, when you become that pain, the fear of pain subside, there isn’t any more pain, because you are that pain. My son Eugene told me when he was 4th grader, “Mom, no fear, no hurts”

In a split second, I realized the degree of my throbbing pain will be lessened for sure as each day passes, In 6 or more weeks will be all over, my reward will be no more pain for sure.

The first day out after the accident to visit the U C Irvine clinic for my injury’s after care. As soon as I got out of my car as I walk toward the clinic, in a split second, I noticed that I was walking tall, head up, the shoulders open, like I own the side-walk. In a split second, I realized, I had a vision when I was in the hospital. I saw myself walking tall, not caring about being handicap (my new me ). Same clothing, my bandaged up left hand in a sling, wearing white mid length boots. In a split second, I said to myself,” This is how it’s going to be!” Autumn sun felt so warm on my skin. In a split second, “Oh God, Thank you, help me to be strong, I can never fall, who will take care of my beautiful daughter, Eunie and my precious son, Eugene. I can never fall apart for them. I have to be the rock for them. I must be strong. I have to show them how to find the light from the darkest hole ” From that moment on, my journey begun. It only took a split second.

One Sunday, about 3 weeks after the accident, my friend Tina convinced me to go to her church she attends came to pick me up. After the service was over, the Pastor Kim invited us to his office, literally preached to us for 2 hours, mainly it was all for me. In a split second, during that private talk, my deep soul mind grabbed one simple message.” When you are physically challenged, you must put your whole being in to the spiritual realm. You can not make it if you stay in physical world.”

In a split second, “This is it, I will make it, I have an answer.” In a split second again, “How do I put myself in the spiritual realm?”

I don’t remember when this AHA! Understanding came through as almost in one sentence. “Start negating what’s not spiritual!”

In a split second, the other answer followed. “Start negating things that you don’t need, materially, physically, and psychologically.”

The superficial things that were important before, no longer mattered anymore, everyday was a new challenge to reshaping new ideas, forming new attitudes. Putting  the intention in action, and staying with it. To be attentive to what I need be doing took lot of me all together, It was no room to slack off. “Be awake always” This is what it means that I have to be alert to notice every move I make, or feel the every bit of emotions that I go through each moment. I already anticipated it would be a one long journey or few.

The need base, this taught all of us be practical, frugal and less vein in my house hold from then on. “Do I need it?” ” Do I really need it ?” “Can you do without it?”

The important base, “What is most important thing for me to do today?” This question to myself every morning and throughout the day. This gave me the chance to tackle things diligently with assurance of that I am doing what’s most important to me at that time, and I am doing my very best.

No more guilt I had when I couldn’t finish, because I have done my best with what I have going with the time available to me. I noticed, when I knew when I do my very best, in a split second, I learned that made me happy, and it was my reward knowing I did my best, so there was no guilt anymore hovering over my head endlessly.

There were many times, I felt so helpless and sad when I wanted brush my little girl’s beautiful long hair, and when I couldn’t help my son put on his pants or the socks and tie his shoe laces. But in a split second, it was comfort to me to know they will grow up to be an independent people in the society. Let them grow up on their own, let this be the blessing in disguise.

When you lose something, we are in need of replacement. When I lost my fingers, I just had to get something for them. I cannot let part of my body wasted. In a split second, I just knew I needed to replace it with transformed self, that was my pure determination. It might have been my ego that wanting to replace my lost long gone fingers with something much more worthwhile (but it seems does not matter now)

I put on full gears on. Be awake! Be alert. Be attentive! Be open-minded!. And work hard.

If I express my commitment to myself, and to my kids was that I will try my best to be a full parent for them. Now without their choice they ended up having only half parent. I had no doubt that I can be a 1/2 parent, but I was willing to try to be a 3/4 of parent for them at least. In a split second, It was a choice-less choice.

The lesson is to fulfilling God-given responsibilities as possibly as I can without any sort of hesitations, like an auto pilot, never a burden, not a conditioned effort, always no motives I do it because I love them unconditionally. This was the part of my lesson too recognizing and expressing the love, in a split second, my heart is warm and full of joyous tears running down on my cheeks.

I strongly believe my other lesson that I recognized was the patience. In a split second, when I couldn’t pull my blue jeans up like I used to or zip it up, It was automatic recognition, and automatic discipline on my part. It was like choice less choice. The first time I realized real meaning of “The ch0ice less choice. It seemed like everything I did needed my patience even with simplest daily routines. I come to realize it was so many things we do, we do it with both hands. Every time first attempt failed, in a split second, I repeated to myself, ,”O K, Patience, let’s start over, and this time take your time, take deep breath, one small movement at a time. “Once you decided take your time, and it’s O K, to take time, suddenly you gain tremendous energy and creativity. You gain tolerance for the frustrations for not being able to carry out for the first time, and much more endurance and allowance were given to me. This is when I actually learned that I can cultivate patience by practicing? As I said it was a choice less choice to realize the moment.

My long time girl friend who was a nurse, is my kid’s God mother Jo, wrapped her left hand in a fist to see what I would go through every day for 24 hours. She said with teary eyes “It was really hard, I could not believe almost everything we do every day needed 2 hands.” In a split second I sad “Oh my, I have a friend.” I knew even after that day she continued to carry on to experiencing my ordeal and difficulties  in daily life.

My lesson which was cultivating patience.

 “Please God grant me the patience, but please hurry!” Ha! Ha!

 This really fits a description of me totally.

 This is under construction…..still

The courage to leave home.

May 17, 2008


My son Eugene picked me up from the airport around end of December 07, my usual trip back home once a month. On the way home, he mention that Corry, his friend is going to school in San Francisco for classes he needs to take to become a firemen’s paramedic. “Well Eugene, why don’t you go with him and take couple of classes up there?  Wouldn’t it be the perfect chance for you to go back to school, and will give you an opportunity to be in the new environment?” He reached over with his right hand to my right hand ( my left hand has prosthesis on), and said ” Thank you mom, I love you.” This is how he moved to San Francisco and registered at the City College in Jan. 08. 

He lives on the very famous street called The Clarion St. /Mission St. where there is well-known artists paintings on the wall and garage door. It is very rough area as his landlord informed me, and said, “Let’s see if he can stick it out. If he can’t, I will discard his lease, although he signed 1 year lease.” I do agree 100 %, the area is very rough-looking . I mentioned to Eugene one day that I believe it’s not safe for him to live there. But he said ” Mom don’t you know I need to see all this? I am fine Mom. Would you please stop worrying?” Well, that’s that I said to myself…… 

I love to read his blogs and check on it every day. It helps me to get to know more of him, or rather get to know him all over again. Now  he is grown up person, not only as my son. That’s where I got my blogging ideas from him . I got jealous. Beside, it’s long overdue, that I truly believe I need to express my thoughts, pour out what I have inside of me good or bad, whatever it is. My dearest spiritual friend Eddie Gabral been told me many times in the past that I needed to bring out all my writings which all tucked away like it almost don’t exist. He said it meant to sing it , not literally but in spiritual sense and people need to read about it. I never believed him only because I know  that I am no writer not in English nor Korean, because I am not good in either one. All I have done was scribble things in English or sometimes in Korean once in a while. 

Eugene lives in small studio apartment, upstairs of the Hispanic church along with 2 other Hispanic tenants. He and I both think there is a crack house across the alley on Clarion Street where he can see who is going in or out . He even took pictures of some one getting arrested at the bottom of the stairs, right outside of his apartment one night in the dark. 

The latest thing with Eugene is that he is planning to join the cycling event from San Francisco to Los Angeles for AIDS fund-raising. He pleads for someone to donate some money at the fund-raising web site ( I promised  myself not to forget to give some $s out of my pocket. ) It would be so worth it. It will make him happy. 

But my latest dilemma with his cycling to all the way to Los Angeles is not only mother’s worry, I think I have good reason to be concerned about him  over doing to prove himself that he is now normal and has no handicap issues. Their meet starts on 1st of June, ends the 7th. I know I will drive near his course if he needs something. I will meet him somewhere from the middle, like Modesto, California. I just must!!! 

“PLEASE! Eugene Listen to your body!……You already proved your potential to yourself and to the world by pulling yourself together against all odds. Your diligent efforts and never wanting to give up for yourself is a proof. Please don’t ever forget that.” Love you Eugene!

my poetry

May 12, 2008

It’s been there all along,

deep inside of me,

 attempting to scream out aloud,

echoes of the fear for uncertainty, 

 took me back to my dungeons.

There were times wanting to cry out,

 end up chocking with no air.

The life time collection of words,

faced no exits for the escape route,

bottled up inside, no where to hide,

 packed in to every cells,

yet entwined in the vast space it seems.

My heart is full with unseen,

unspoken words, so old,

 almost lost it’s meaning.

To express, painstakingly sorrowful memories,

with out a pity.

The beauties of nature inscribed in the colorful stones.

All the known for the truth,

 from the trials and tribulations,

making sentences to deliver on to next experiences.

Residual sadness for many hurts,

disappointments swallowed big lumps in the throat.

Its still there,

all mixed in together,

waiting to burst out,

through tiny crack if there is any,

To sing it in to the ears,

who care to listen.

To whisper the mystic realms,

for some one to understand.

Desperately more to give,

 instantaneously ready to release,

 the deepest kind, the motherly love,

needing to be recorded,

if not anything else.

As I regroup,

as I recoup what belongs to me,

 is my poetry.

Feb 03/08 leia cha