Happy Easter weekend, everybody. I know many of you were on vacation this week, enjoying Hawaii, Italy, Korea. I hope you had a wonderful time and are getting home safely. We were in Korea during this Spring Break week in 2014. That same week, 300 South Korean high schoolers were killed when their ship, the Sewol Ho, sank on a school field trip from Seoul to Jeju Island. We weren’t going to take Dragon and Hannah to Jeju on this trip, but because we were in Seoul when it happened and could conceivably have changed our minds and been on that boat, the incident was too close for comfort. Daniel’s mom, who heard about the news, was on pins and needles until she heard from us. And the unfathomable loss of 300 young lives, in an accident that possibly could have been averted if the adults in charge hadn’t made it worse, was inconceivable. All I could think of was, what if that had been Dragon or Hannah, and ALL THEIR FRIENDS on a school trip? It broke my heart. I hadn’t thought of the Sewol Ho incident until Dragon’s good friend, Allie, brought it all back in an email:
Dear Mrs. and Mr. Kim,
I hope you had a wonderful break! Over the weekend, I was watching the Korean news with my mom. Politically, Korea isn’t in its most stable stage and there are some scandals going around. One of the biggest scandals of the current president is her “7-hour” disappearance the day of the Sewol Ho accident. To put it into simple terms, 300 or so high schoolers died because their ship sank during their school field trip to Jeju Island. It was just ridiculous how many of the adults survived this accident and did not escort the many kids who were still inside of the boat. Anyways, in honoring the high schoolers, there is a song that the families play all the time. It’s in Korean, but I am more than happy to translate it for you. The lyrics really reminded me of Dragon and it might provide some relief.
Here is the link to the song:
or with subtitles:
It is a lovely song. When I heard the song and read some translations of the lyrics, I realized that they were derived from a poem a friend had sent me, one that I had read out loud to Dragon at the foot of his grave. For anyone who has lost someone, I’ll post the poem here now:
Do not stand at my grave and weep
I am not there. I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds that blow.
I am the diamond glints on snow.
I am the sunlight on ripened grain.
I am the gentle autumn rain.
When you awaken in the morning’s hush
I am the swift uplifting rush
Of quiet birds in circled flight.
I am the soft stars that shine at night.
Do not stand at my grave and cry;
I am not there. I did not die.
I’d like to believe that. I’d like to believe that Dragon did not die, but that he is with us in every breath we take. That he is in the clouds that paint the evening sky. That he comes to me through the songs of his Spotify playlist. That when our golden retrievers come to comfort me when I cry, that he is right there comforting me too. That he is the soft stars that shine at night. That Dragon has indeed become the thousand winds that blow.