More from Kevin: A Mom's Belated Birthday . . .
I hope Kevin doesn't mind my borrowing this photograph of his mother, who passed away at 66 and would have been 70 on Saturday the fourth of May. Kevin took care of her those final months, and this is his first time to return to Korea since her death:
And now I'm in Korea, the land of Mom's birth, surrounded by people whose faces carry echoes of how Mom looked. I see her everywhere -- everywhere -- in shattered fractal iterations, all around me. Sometimes, back in the States, I would find myself inside one of the large Korean grocery stores, looking at an old woman who reminded me of Mom in some way, my throat tightening. How much more powerful, then, is that experience here, on the peninsula. But as is true of all ghosts, I know I can't touch any of these dim reflections of Mom. These people, on the street and in the shops and subways, are strangers; they don't know me. I can't start randomly hugging them or bursting into tears in front of them. But the temptation is there, and it's hard to resist.I've had experiences here in Korea distantly similar to what Kevin describes. My maternal grandmother, who raised me, was about a quarter Cherokee and bore recognizable Indian features, and every once in a while, I see an old Korean woman who reminds me of my grandma, and that brings back a flood of memories and feelings.
Go to Kevin's blog post for a heartfelt tribute to a mother from a very dutiful son, none better.