Wednesday, February 07, 2007

God Bless Papa

Early on January 22, 2007, my father-in-law passed away. He had been a long-time cancer survivor, battling lung cancer for almost 13 years. Even at the end, he was still taking visitors and proudly showing off photos from his Christmas trip to Guam. Sadly, once he left for Guam, he never did get to return home. He entered the hospital as soon as they arrived in Peoria. Thankfully, my husband was able to be at his father’s bedside for the last week of his life. Literally, my husband did not sleep in a bed for over a week, never wanting to leave his Dad’s side.

My father-in-law was very active in church and cancer support groups for many years. Since he passed away, my mother-in-law has been swamped with cards and letters from people she doesn’t even know telling her how much he inspired him and helped them. I know when we went on a family cruise trip last summer, he had many strangers approach him and commend him for taking such a trip while on oxygen and moving slowly. I’m so very proud for his loving spirit and his ability to care for people. Most all, I will never forget how much he adored his grandchildren. He loved them with all his heart and soul, and even at my kids’ young age, I know they will have a lasting memory of this love.

I’m in Peoria, Illinois, now helping out my mother-in-law. From the day I received news, I started working on plane tickets, but the soonest I could get to Illinois was one week later. The kids and I missed the service, but we are staying for almost a month to help my mother-in-law get settled. She is doing well and is such a strong person. I know having the kids around helps keep her occupied as she tries to cope with losing her partner of over 40 years.

One of the things I’ve liked best about watching Korean dramas and studying Korean culture is learning to appreciate the family hierarchy. I love the way children are suppose to respect their parents in Korean culture, and in particular, how daughter-in-laws should honor their in-laws. Now, I realize that this is often idealized in the dramas, but I’ve been inspired by the many obedient, loyal, hardworking daughter-in-laws I’ve watched through the years. I hope that I can be even half as good to my mother-in-law. I will do my best to be there for her, whether by her side or from a distance in Guam.

God Bless You Papa! You will always live on in our hearts!!


At 11:07 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Julie,

I am in tears having read your tribute. You are doing a good thing, dear friend.

Hugs & Blessings,

At 3:50 PM, Anonymous Unnie said...

Sending my condolences to you and your family Julier.
Papa's 13 year battle with lung cancer is an inspiration and your husband's devotion in the last days made me weepy.
Stay strong.


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