Telling my Korean dad I’m going through therapy.

As in the title above, I am in the process of telling my dad I go through therapy.

In Korea, it was deemed almost taboo for someone to go to a therapist for psychological reasons. They thought anything that was psychological was either considered a sign on weakness or insanity.

Well, these days people are taking it much more seriously- and I personally know many people who go to the therapist on a regular basis: yes, including me.

It was hard to open up to my mom and dad about this, because the first time I told them I was suffering from depression– which was way back in my teenage years, they didn’t take it very well.

My mom burst into tears. She asked me if I was out of my mind- and asked me in such a mean way “that I have it pretty good, and that I don’t understand what real suffering is.” To be honest, that is just one of the bad episodes I have with her.

These days, I’ve been dropping hints about my mental issues:

  • I take sleep medication, because I can’t sleep.
  • I can’t take the subway when it is crowded- I sometimes faint and often freak out.
  • I go to therapy to talk about these problems.

Of course- I didn’t “put a label” on it. And when I start talking about it, my dad starts to shut his mouth. He’s not ready for it, or possibly, he thinks its not an issue that I should be worried about- because ‘people have gone through that without medication or therapy for AGES’, and I can too.

I’ll never really know what he’s thinking, because he never really talks about these things with me. But one day, I hope he’ll realize that this is just a part of who I am.

The fear of being alone in grief.

A very strange sensation that occurs after the loss of a parent is the fear of being alone in grief.

For me, that moment is now. Two weeks after my mom passed.

During the weeks after the funeral, I spent my days taking care of my mom’s financial loans and inheritance.

It was burdening financially as it was time-wise and emotionally.

Every time I would look at her driver’s license or hand in some paperwork with the words “deceased” on it,

I was forced to let her go, one set of paperwork at a time.

But I still got up and went to work. I had bills to pay, my mom’s bills to pay- and mouths to feed.

Every day in the office for two weeks- I worked harder, to get the days, the weeks behind me.

“After a few days, time will heal-” … “After a few weeks- time will heal these wounds.” This is what I kept telling myself.

But as every day passed by, the more the reality of it sunk in.

She was gone and there was nothing I could do about it.

Still in my heart- it’s so hard for me to let her go. I guess I’m scared I will forget her if I don’t hold on.

The only time I spend alone is in my car. That’s the only time I cry without being embarrassed or disturbed.

At home, my partner- At my parent’s house- my father, and anywhere outside- everyone else.

I had to keep strong, just to live the life that my mom would have wanted for me. Just to give them the reassurance that though I am in pain, I will be alright.

I had the feeling that I needed to keep moving, because the lives of everyone around me just went back to normal- even when everyday, I was struggling more and more to keep up with everyday activities like getting up or brushing my teeth.

Today, I woke up and wanted to sleep forever. I wanted to quit my job. I wanted to evaporate off the earth.

I spent a few hours in the lobby of my company’s wework, crying and trying to focus.

Things didn’t get better. I told my superiors about how I just couldn’t face people right now-

How I found it hard to stay in the office without tearing up-

How I said my goodbyes with every paper I turned in-

And how the tree where my mom was buried now had a tag with her name on it.

It has begun to sink in that, I won’t ever see her again.

I keep wanting to grieve, and stopping myself from grieving at the same time- because of the pain.

I feel so alone and misunderstood. I feel that the sadness is choosing to isolate me from the people I love- yet the company of just me- not having to do anything- is quite comforting and spooky at the same time.

If time heals these wounds, I wish I knew what to do for the time being.

First mental breakdown after my mom’s death

I feel drained. My energy is low.

Yesterday, I was talking to my partner about how surprising it is that I am going through everyday tasks,

possibly even more tasks- with the inheritance issues and everything–

despite all the pain I am in.

But even though I try to express my feelings and be open about the state I am in,

It’s not easy for me to let it all out.

I cry often when I am alone. Mostly in the car, or writing on this blog

I think it’s the effect of being alone with my thoughts.

Right now, its really hard for me to keep going through things in my head, yet I can’t really seem to stop them.

With so many thing going on- time doesn’t stop for anyone.

I have a whole list of things that need to be done until the end of next December,

none of which can be compromised-

And I feel like the weight is mostly on me.

Even after so much planning, things not going the way I planned them

really messes with my head.

Finances, time, career, legal issues- none of which I can prioritize at the moment.

What do I do in times like these?

What do I do when I am overwhelmed at everything, but no one sees?

Therapy after mom’s death

I have been off my meds for over a week. No visible side effects, although I can’t seem to understand my own feelings.

Today i booked a quick appointment with my T, who looked shocked to hear about my mom’s death.

We talked about grieving and pain

I talked about how my extended family had hurt me with their words, words meant to be helpful… but caused more pain

I told him i cried in front of my dad, and he in front of I.

I told him we had two more patients moving in to our house.

I didnt have enough time to grieve, yet faced with new obstacles that must be treated

Loss is similar to pain, and grief is similar to anger.

The emotions I have, I can’t fully undetstand.

I hold back tears, even when I am broken.

Why is it so hard for me to let go and let myself heal?

Numbness, talking to myself, seeing or hearing things may happen in the span of the coming month.

Bought my meds, and heading back to work. To the gym, actually. In hopes physical strain can heal my damaged heart.

My moms funeral

Quite the contrary to my initial concern… Its unbelievable how many people were at my moms funeral.

The sheer number of visitors said a lot about the life she lived as an actress, friend, family member, and coworker.

It is very uncommon for so many tears to be shed at a korean funeral.

Most times, the visits are often quite professional, to say the least.

Many people hand in money, sign their name, say their goodbyes and leave.

My mom’s friends and coworkers still text her number, even a week after ther death.

They send her pictures of how happy they were to know her. Of the great memories they had, how exciting it was to meet her and work with her.

Flowers in my moms coffin

I hate that she left at such an early age, and of such bizzarre causes.

I wanted her to see me get married, to hold her grandchildren, to act on stage again.

But maybe, she just had enough.

This was what we wanted perhaps. Maybe those who are left are in more pain than those who have passed.

Never again, I believe will I see such a mix of emotions in a funeral house.

With nothing to pass on, with no other need to visit than just great emotions

Her life was a gift to others, and they will remember

She was an inspiration. She was pure joy. She was love in human form.

It was an honor to hold my place, in such a crowded room.

It was healing for myself too, to embrace her friends who teared up at the sight of me- because “I look just like her”

I am her living legacy, along with many countless works and films that captured her passion for acting.

And 2023 will start as a year of healing and overcoming the loss of someone very special to me.

Dying at home alone.

This Friday, my mom passed. It was just a few hours before the strike of midnight, on December 23.

My dad called at night, telling me that he had come home and that my mom had passed.

I rushed home. Everything felt fake. I thought I would be okay.

It wasn’t.

We sat there, holding on to her cold body. Her hands were clenched, her feet were shriveling.

Parts of her body looked blue or purple.

Her lips, colorless and dry.

She looked as if she were sleeping though.

We held her in our arms. My dad shed tears of frustration, something I never saw before.

He hated her for leaving us like that. He shouted at her to come back, that it was unfair for her to leave us here.

I called her name, thinking, or hoping, maybe that she would open her eyes, or let out a breath. Nothing.

We called a doctor. He told us that she had died around 5:30 pm. She was alone.

I felt terrible. It was some guilt I suppose.

My dad looked insane and empty. We couldn’t believe it. Even after holding on to her and calling her name for hours.

Her whole world revolved around me. Even to her final days.

I didn’t know what to do, what to say.

We called the hospital and asked if there was a place for her funeral to be held.

Only the biggest room, they said.


We took her to the hospital, cloth over her head.

The weather was insanely cold, and the night air was piercing.

After death, they put her in a morgue. They sprayed her with something to keep away infections.

They asked us to keep the key to her door.

Then they took us into the other room to discuss the funeral.

Even when dying, the prices of the funeral home spooked me.

We didn’t have anyone to help with the process. I called around and looked for professional help.

I sent everyone I knew messages about the funeral.

Everything said and done, we arrived back home at 4, and prepared to go back to the hospital to start the funeral around 9:30.

I couldn’t sleep. I couldn’t stop crying. Morning came, and waking up seemed like dream.

The feeling of waking up to something dreadful, felt as if I were waking up from a coma, or surgery.

I wasn’t in pain, nor was I in a state of anger.

It was just numbness. Numb, but still awake enough to feel that something was terribly wrong.

The feeling of something bad but also inevitable.

That’s how the funeral started. Empty.

Me and my dad, the funeral home, just empty.

I was scared that my mom would leave, like that. Alone. Just as she had died. It killed me to see her picture on the wall, surrounded in ornate flowers with a incense stick burning in front of her.

What do I do when my mom is dying

Death is a reality that lurks over you everyday when a family member is sick.

For me, this Thursday was one of the darkest days of my life.

My dad called at 9 PM telling me to come home and help him get my mom to the ER.

I wasn’t very shocked, she had gone through much worse at times.

When I arrived, that was when it hit me.

My mom’s eyes were blurry, mouth open. Dad had told me she hadn’t been eating for days.

He had told me that day was when things got really bad.

The caregiver who comes to our house 4 hours a day had told my dad she wanted to quit. She was scared that my mom might die in her arms.

Of course it’s scary. Scarier thing is that she might survive and no one will be there to take care of her.

Anyway, first things first. We literally heaved her up into the car.

Her body was aching, her joints were hard.

She was losing consciousness in the back of the car, laying on my boyfriend’s arms.

When we got there, the doctors at the ER told us that her vitals were weak.

I never thought I would hear that in real life.

They sped her past the waiting lines of patients and into a restricted area, and had given her multiple shots.

Dad says they had trouble finding her pulse.

All I could do, is pray.

Pray to whom, well that is still a question that I can’t answer.

They asked if we wanted life support. This is the end I thought.

The end of pain, but also the end of my relationship with my mom. I was confused, sad, angry at the world. I wanted to give in and let go of all the burden I had in my heart.

I prepared myself for loss. I said my goodbyes quietly.

Then she regained consciousness. Her eyes came back and filled with life.

I was perplexed at how relieved and worried I was.

Did I want my mom to die? Surely not. But did I?

What was this emotion I was going through?

Today, I went to my therapist. I needed it. But I had no words to say.

I felt okay. I felt sad. But it wasn’t the end of the world.

I still don’t understand the emotions that I am going through. It’s hard enough for me to have to face death, but it hurts more just to be alive for all of it.

Lies and Hope

Do you believe in white lies?

If lies existed in the workplace, would that be understandable?

The thing that annoys me about the company is that we lie to each other.

We lie about how we feel,

how things are going,

what’s happening,

who’s doing what,

our worth,

our values…

It pains me to work in an environment where we can’t be real with each other with the exception of a certain few.

Why do we trap ourselves in the ego of our outer beings when we are full of… nothing?

Rule one of moving forward: be real. look back and take a cold hard look at yourself from a third person point of view.

How do you understand being laid off

I haven’t been laid off yet.

But so many people around me have already been.

There are empty desks everyday, not to be filled again for a long time.

The thing that sucks the most about these layoffs is that I don’t quite understand where they come from.

Is it based on work performance?

Is it based on return on salary?

Or maybe just based on personal preferences?

Maybe its random?

The thing is, it’s really hard to keep cool when things like this happen.

Not being able to understand why these things are happening, and wondering if this is just my problem for choosing shitty workplaces that fire their employees like they are worth nothing….

It’s quite hard to fathom.

I just wish things would settle down after some time, so that I can learn and work in peace,

About Age and Death

This Friday, I took a half day to visit my grandparents at the senior home.

Grandpa is much shorter and weaker than I remember. His hair isn’t as clean and short as it used to be, rather sticking out on some sides.

His stern face is gone. He smiles more. I don’t remember many times that he smiled.

My grandma is still a young woman at heart. She feels sad that her hands have become wrinkled and dry.

She looks at my grandpa and her eyes are full of worry.

She has cut her hair short. She has never done that her whole life. All her life, her hair had been in curls, making her head look more volumized than it actually is.

Aging is a natural phenomenon that many people have a hard time accepting.

Every time a hair turns grey or a bone starts to ache, we notice that these are the tolls of old age.

I fear growing old now that I have seen the things it does.

Perhaps even more than death itself.