3 years later~
“If you can just sign here and here...”
Said the security guard who handed me a document of visitation. They then began to pat me down for safety reasons before letting me go inside the building. With my bodyguard Jung following behind me, we both continued to walk down the cold halls that never seem to end. It’s strange...but I never seem to get used to coming to this type of place. Who can? The cries, the painful screams, and the uncomfortable moans that echos through these walls...
“Please let me know when you’re ready to leave.”
Jung said as he stayed close to me...
“Don’t worry, I don’t plan on staying long...I just, want to see her before I leave...”
I explained in grievance once we came to a private room.
Looking around, I could see that many loved ones had also come to visit the people they loved. And although we could only see them behind a glass...regardless if they can’t see us. At least...we could see them... being in peace. With Jung offering me a seat, I sat myself down and patiently waited. But after a while, a doctor came up to me to hand me a piece of paper. Confused by what he was giving me, I looked more closely at it, only to see that it was a drawing!
“Did...she draw this?”
I asked in shock as I jolted myself off the chair!
“Yes, she drew it this morning. I apologize for bringing her out late, usually, we give them 3 hours to be outside to get fresh air. However, she was having a difficult time taking her medication so we had to... again restrain her until she calmed down. But she’s doing a lot better now and she should be- oh! There she is, they just let her out. Please reframe from tapping on the glass and just be respectful along with everyone else here. Even if the patients can’t see you, please keep your voices down since some of my patients grow anxious with there being loud noises. Have a nice day...”
Said the doctor, giving me a calming smile he took his leave soon after.
Once he was gone from my sight, I looked at the picture that I was now holding. My heart began to ache a bit as I smiled...with my hand beginning to shake I could feel the corner of my eyes getting watery and my face growing warm. Suddenly the sight of Jung’s handing me a handkerchief brought me at ease as I kindly took his kindly gesture...
“Thank you...I’m sorry, I...it’s just been forever since she last spoke. So to see that she drew somthing...I couldn’t help but cry.”
I said in a light sob as I patted my tears dry to look back at the drawing.
The sight of a beautiful butterfly was drawn so innocently, it’s cute...my sister... she almost draws like a child. But that’s to be expected considering what happened to her after what she did. As I went to look at my sister, she kept herself sitting in the corner picking up dandelions. She didn’t seem interested in getting close to anyone, so for the next 3 hours, I decided to stay behind the glass and just watched her as she kept playing in the yard. It was only when they brought her back inside to her room that I grabbed onto my necklace. Gripping the paper that she drew, I took a heavy sigh before deciding to finally leave...
With Jung driving us back to my parent’s house, I looked out the window and leaned the side of my head behind the thick glass. It feels so long since I last visited America...I think it was best for me to stay in Korea since it’s now too painful to live here. I honestly don’t even wanna think about what happened...the scene alone is enough to make me have a heart attack. The guilt, the agony, and the loss...is still too much for me to bear.
“Our flight will be leaving in 5 hours, let me know if there’s anything you need me to pack for you.”
Jung kindly said as he parked the car in from of my parent’s home.
“Thank you, but I think I have everything ready. I just have to speak with my mother before we leave.” I said to him before stepping out of the car...
Approaching the house, I unlocked the front door before stepping inside. Looking around, I took a moment to really take everything in. All my life growing up...I spent it in here within these walls. This was the home that my parents raised me in and taught me the true meaning of staying strong ...
“MelRose? Are you finally back?”
I heard my mom call out from the living room!
“Oh! Yeah, sorry I took long. They gave my sister 3 hours of playtime and I...just wanted to spend time with her for as long as I could before I had to leave...”
I explained as I made my way towards where my Mother was at. Seeing that she was knitting a blanket, I decided to take a seat right next to her.
“I see...well, I’m glad that they gave Samantha an extra hour of playtime. She loves playing outside a lot more...since it’s starting to get colder. I thought of making your sister a blanky, she loves the color purple so I think-”
With my mom explaining what she was doing, I gave her the drawing that the doctor had shown me earlier. My mother was no longer able to speak as I watched her hands shake once she took the paper from my hands. She only looked at it for a second before placing it against her chest. The sounds of her sniffles and the images of her tears wound me as I immediately wrapped my arms around her trembling body.
“I’m sorry... Melissa. I’m so sorry...as a mother. It was my job to protect you girls...but I failed. I failed as a mother-”
“No, you didn’t fail. Don’t ever say that...you are an amazing mother. And I would never ask for a stronger, lovable, and understanding mother other than you. Both you and Dad...I love you both so very much. And I know that Sam still loves you both...no matter what. I will never stop caring for all of you...”
I cried out to her as I tried my best to comfort her broken heart...
My mother still blames herself for what happened years back. But the reality is that it’s actually my fault that led Sam to an unstable emotion. The lies, the anger, the separation...I did all of that to her. And I find myself regretting so much of what I’ve done. Because if I would have just told her the truth from the very beginning...then maybe...Kai would still...
“Mel...I know you love me and your father very much. But I understand if you come to hate your sister for what she did.. you don’t need to force yourself to go visit her-”
“Mom...I won’t abandon her... because If I do. Then it would make more of a liar...I told my sister that I would love her no matter what. Even when we were kids, I was always looking after her. But...I won’t lie...after what she did at the airport three years ago, there was a point where...I despised her so much. To where I wish she never existed, but when I heard the news from you and Dad that Sam tried to hang herself with a cable cord in the mental hospital. I honestly felt like I was going to die at that point...I never felt so weak before from my body. I had my mindset...to never speak, see or even think about my sister again. But the reality of that actually happening...I hated myself for ever having those thoughts because...I never want my own child to hate anyone. This world...it will never be perfect, but having my baby girl...made all these ugly emotions that were in my heart vanished. She is the reason...why I want to become a better person. If not just for me...but for her...”
I sobbed out in tears as my mother’s grip tightened around my body.
“You’ve grown so much...my little girl. Your father and I, when we found out what your sister did to herself. I thought that my world was ending... because I don’t ever want to lose you or Sam. But it hurts me... because, in a way, we kinda did lose her. On the day that she tried to kill herself, she ended up cutting away too much oxygen to her brain. So when the doctors told me that she wouldn’t be able to wake up from her coma...I didn’t know what to do. Your father especially...I almost considered just getting her off of life support so she wouldn’t suffer anymore. But...your father was against it. But once she finally woke up after 2 weeks...I thought that maybe, we could start over again with her. To make things right... I just never would have thought that she would be permanently brained damage after waking up. The mindset of a child...is what the doctors told us, however, she will forever be too unstable to ever come home. And I understand, because I don’t even want her to put herself in any danger...nor do I ever want her to hurt anyone ever again. So I know this is what’s best for her...but it breaks my heart, only being able to see her behind the glass. Never being able to hold her again...not being able to hear her voice, her laughter, her cries. It’s nothing but a memory now for us...and I could never stop apologizing for what she did. Melissa...I’m always going to be sorry, your father and I...we’re so sorry for what happened..so sorry. If I can...I wish I could turn back time and prevent it all from happening. Because then...I know he would be here...along with my granddaughter...”
She explained in a broken voice as she went to look at me in heavy sorrow...
“I will always forgive you and dad...even though there’s nothing to forgive for what happened. I’m still healing...and I know it’s going to take a while. The last words that I heard my sister say...was that she was sorry. But ...I had nothing to say to her...but now, I wish more than anything to talk to her one last time...so I could finally apologize to her. I never wanted anyone to get hurt... especially, Kai. And I really wish...he was here too, I’m sorry Mom...but I’m just not comfortable bringing my daughter to America yet. She’s still too young to go overseas...but I promise to always video call you so you can still see her. But...are you and Dad both sure about wanting to stay in America. I’m more than willing to have you both come live with me...the house that I’m living in, it’s a bit too big...”
I said to her as I tried to calm my rapid heartbeat. The last thing I want to do is have another breakdown...
“No, I’m sure. This place...is our home. Besides, I’ll be completely mute if I lived in Korea. But most importantly, I don’t want to leave your sister behind. She’ll be all alone here if we all left... anyways, I understand why you won’t bring our grandaughter...”
My mother said in a bittersweet smile as I felt her warm fingers wiping away my tears
“Yeah... you’re right. Staying here is what’s best for you guys. And of course, when she turns 5, I’ll bring her to come to see you both. Though it might be difficult to bring her every few months since I’ll be working soon-”
“Oh! That’s right! I almost forgot to ask you, how is your salon coming? I still can’t believe that you have your own beauty shop. I really wish I could go and see what it’s like...but I’m glad. And I’m so proud that you were able to fulfill your dream of having your own shop finally! You worked so hard...after everything, you kept moving forward. But tell me, is it still hard to walk around in public? Are you still getting criticized and blamed for what happened?”
My mother asked as we both parted ways from our embrace...
“I’m always gonna have people who criticize me no matter what. But I don’t care... because I know who I am. After the incident of what happened, I became more paranoid of being in danger. But I’m glad I was able to have more bodyguards to look after you and Dad. Though I can’t count how many threats I’ve been receiving in this past year alone? You never get used to it, but I’ve learned to become stronger...and I have Zack and Jin to thank for since they’ve experienced this before.”
I said as I looked at the clock to see that it was almost time for me to leave soon.
“Well I’m glad your okay, and I know it’s easier said than done...but try and ignore those who try to bring you down. And just always be safe, I’m also relieved to hear that those two are there for you. Which by the way, has Jin already returned from his service?”
Mother asked with curiosity...
“Actually...he’s coming back home in 2 days,” I said while giving off a huge smile!
“Oh! That’s wonderful news! I’m sure you’ve missed him, haven’t you? You must be excited! Also, how is Zack doing? From what you told me a few months back, you said that he was touring in Australia?”
She questioned while placing her knitting equipment away in a basket right next to her.
“Yeah that was a while ago, he’s back in Korea taking a break. Ever since he’s gone solo on his career, I think he’s busier now than when he was part of ExEx Idol. But I’m very proud of him, he’s been working so hard and I couldn’t be happier for his success. We actually plan on visiting Jin at the airport when he lands so I’m really looking forward to that- oh! Speaking of the airport, I need to start heading back soon. My flight is almost due...”
I said to her in a depressing sigh as I stood up. I always hate it when it comes to this... having to say goodbye.
“So soon...time really goes by so quickly. It doesn’t even feel like you stayed here for a week. Wish your father wasn’t working so late, but it can’t be helped. I’ll let him know that you left. Just be safe when going back to Korea... Mel, I love you very much. So no matter what, never feel like you’re alone. I will always be here when you need me...”
My mother said so sweetly as she got up from her chair to pull me in for one last hug.
“I love you too mom...hey, can I ask you something before I leave?”
I said to her as she began to walk me out the door.
“Of course sweetie, what is it?”
She questions me as I began to put on my coat.
“Well, I’ve been meaning to ask you this for a while but I never found the right moment to ask. But...on the day when Dad told me about his past, of what he went through with his parents. Did you...ever blame yourselves or think that it was your fault that Dad had to leave his family to be with you?”
As I finished asking, the look on my mother’s face looked puzzled!
“You know what, forget it! That was a stupid thing for me to ask of you-”
“There was a time where I hated myself because I truly believed that I was the reason why your father was disowned by his own family. So I thought that maybe it would be best to get a divorce and have him go back and ask for his parent’s forgiveness...but then I took a moment to really think about it...on the day when I found out, I was pregnant with you. I realized...that your Father left his family...not because he hated them or despised them. But simply because, his family that he wanted...was with me. And I would’ve been an idiot if I told your father to go back to Korea. Because that place was no longer his home, no...his home is here...where we are.”
She explained while placing her hand against my chest where my heart would be. Smiling, I felt her place a gentle kiss on my forehead before she opened the door for me.
Waving her goodbye, I got back in the car where Jung was waiting for me. Not too long after we took off, I thought about what my mother said. I guess she even felt guilty for a while in being part of my Dad’s life. I wish there could be a day where my Father can talk to his parents... though it’s been so long that I’m not even sure if my Dad would even want to at this point. But then again, it’s up to my Father if he ever wishes to see my grandparents who I’ve never seen before.
“Please be careful and watch your step...”
Jung said to me as he escorted me to my private jet.
I responded as I stepped inside the plane.
Letting out a tiresome sigh, I rested my head back as I latched on to my necklace while looking at my phone. The image of my sweet daughter smiling made my heart flutter as I lightly kissed the screen before turning it off. After a few minutes that passed, the engine of the plane could be felt as it prepared for take-off. Looking out the window, I saw that the sun was beginning to go down. The light crimson sun felt warm as I closed my eyes...
“Hey Rose, I hope we can always be together...”
“Rose? Why are you looking at me like that?”
“Smile, you always look prettier when you’re happy...”
“Come on say it, it’s not fair that I’m always telling you all the time!”
The sounds of his deep voice, the way his warm hands always held me. And his gorgeous green eyes that always seem to look only at me, were now replaying in my dreams. It felt so real that I found myself waking up in a pool of tears! With my breath sounding uneven, I realized that I was still holding on to my necklace. As I went to look back out the window, I saw that it was already dark outside. Placing my hand up against the glass, I smiled as I watched the reflection of my own tears falling...
“I love you...I will always love you...”
I quietly responded to what Kai wanted me to say to him in my dreams...
The precious memories of what I built since living in Korea, have made my heart beat heavy. This life that I was given, was it always meant for me to take this path? It’s been filled with painful and beautiful heartache, sometimes I want to regret ever meeting him...ever falling in love. Because then...I would have been fine with never knowing what true love was and how heartbreaking it could be. But if I have never met him...then he would have never given me such a beautiful blessing.
“I promise...to be a good mommy.”
I cried out softly to myself as I smiled...
Not too long after we landed, Jung safely drove me back to the house where my special love was waiting for me. But as I reached closer to my home, I remembered what my mother told me. A home... it’s not just a house. But a place where your loved one could come to...a place where they feel the most loved and adored. So no matter what hardship is thrown my way...I know that I’ll be okay. Because the person who taught me to love myself...it was always him. I miss him...I miss him so much! I want to see him!
“Okay, were here- oh! Wait! I haven’t put the car in parked yet...”
Growing impatient, I ignored Jung’s words the moment I saw him pull up to the house! These last days that passed and the hours that I’ve been dreading on the flight have become agonizing! I want to go home...home where he’s at. Where he’s waiting for me...I need to see him! Because only then can I truly feel whole...
Calling out his name, I felt breathless once I ran to the back of the yard to see the sunset beginning to fade, the beautiful warm sun made the lake sparkle. However, my eyes were only focused on the two most important people in my life standing before me. Hearing my calls, I watched as my daughter turned her head towards my direction. I then watched as Kai followed her gaze as he carried her in his arms, his eyes that I’ve favored for so long were now watching me...
Without saying anything else, I sprinted towards them as Kai stretched out his hand to me. Smiling wholeheartedly, I instantly wrapped my arms around both of them as I snuggled into Kai’s chest. Hearing the beating of his heartbeat, put me in so much ease and the warmth of his body made all my cold thoughts vanish. This is where my heart belongs...here with him.
“Look, mommy is here. I wasn’t expecting to see you for another hour- Rose? Are you okay? Did something happen when you were in America?”
He suddenly asked once he took notice of how strongly I was holding on to him.
“It’s fine... everything’s fine. I just missed you both...”
I responded truthfully as I raised my head to look at him and then our daughter. Placing a gentle kiss on our baby’s little cheek, I looked back at Kai before planting a sweet kiss on his lips. Watching his smile, he placed another kiss on the top of my head before we went back to look at the sunset as a family...
“My mother... she really wants to meet Hana. But I told her that I’ll bring her when she’s a bit older...”
I began to explain everything about my families well being in America when I was visiting...
“I see...Rose, I’m sorry... you’ve been very understanding and patient with me. I’m always refusing to go to America after what happened...and I feel like I’ve made your parents worry. The last thing I want is for your mother and father to think I hate them. Because I don’t...I would never. However, I just can’t bring myself to...”
Seeing that Kai was having difficulty in explaining himself, I grabbed his hand and rested my head against his chest. I then went ahead and grabbed my daughter’s little hand as I smiled at her. Her cute giggles made me relax as I looked back at Kai, he seemed deep in thought and I think I knew what was troubling him...
“It’s okay if you can never forgive my sister for what she did...I’m not asking that of you. All I want...is for you to be able to put my parent’s minds at ease. My mother is always apologizing to me whenever I come to America to visit them. And they both really appreciate you paying for my sister’s medical bills. But-”
“Okay, before speak any further. I have to ask you something...why do you insist on getting a beauty salon? There’s no need for you to work. Are you forgetting that you’re rich now- ouch! Why are you starting to step on my foot now?! Our daughter is gonna see this and think it’s okay to abuse me-”
“Good! I hope she does! Our daughter needs to know that just because we’re wealthy doesn’t mean we can slack off without having any goals in life. Besides...I’m not used to being ‘rich’, it’s not really a lifestyle I would have picked for myself. You already knew when you first met me that my dream was to have my own beauty line one day. And I’m finally reaching that goal.”
I explained in a pout while sticking my tongue out at him.
“Fine...do what makes you happy. Though getting back to what you said about your parents. With the wedding ceremony coming up soon, I’ll talk with them privately when they come here...oh! Also, my Father was wondering if we can pick the flavor strawberry for our wedding cake since that’s his favorite sweet. Oh! And Zack wants there to be a candy buffet but I told him there’s no way we’re doing that...”
As Kai began to go over our wedding plans, I laughed at the ideas that were being given as we went back inside. I’m glad, that Kai and his Father were able to get along and although they still have a long way ahead to fix the scars that were left behind. I’m relieved that they can find peace finally, yet my heart is still unsettled because there’s someone who I’ve yet to see...
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
If you or someone you know is dealing with a mental crisis, please don’t be afraid to talk to someone. Know that you aren’t alone, be strong, and live each passing day to love yourself more and more.
(It’s okay to not be okay.)