Thursday, October 1, 2009

one year

I guess I missed it. This past September 27 marked the one-year anniversary of my return home from my walk. I wasn't entirely happy to be home; I recall feeling like a failure for having taken the "easy" way out, wintering with the folks instead of hunkering down in Oregon or Washington. But I also knew that I was out of funds, facing the prospect of hitting the Rocky Mountains in the winter, and wearing my right knee down to powder. Staying out west would have been a recipe for disaster.

What a strange twelve months it's been. If you had told me, on September 27, 2008, that I would still be here in Virginia a year later, and would be dealing with my mother's terminal brain cancer, I'd have called you crazy.

I remember how upset Mom was during the days before her first operation (she was hospitalized on April 16; the operation was on April 21). Her cognition was impaired, as was her speaking ability, but she was more verbal than she is now, and she had asked me when I was planning to go back out west. "I'm staying here," I told her, "for you." Mom glared at me, then looked away.

It's a child's lot to deal, on a near-constant basis, with parental disapproval. With Mom, it always seemed that I could never do anything right. Even up until she was hospitalized, she was giving me a sour eye. She didn't approve of my undertaking the walk, but as I wrote above, when the time came for me to leave (I had planned to restart the walk this past April 18), she didn't approve of my staying. I suppose there's humor to be found somewhere in that paradox, but laughter doesn't always come easily these days.



Anonymous said...

Kevin, my father died of cancer almost twenty years ago. I had just finished university and was planning a big trip but put if off a few months to see what i should do.

My parents didn't want me to tie up my life waiting for my father to die. I can see their point if I am being especially charitable.

They hid how sick my father was and encouraged me to go on my trip, which would last about a year. On my last day at home, my father told me he would try to hang on for me to return.

So, I left on my trip and dad died while I was halfway around the world away.

Being there while my father wasted away - well, you know what that's like, but I wish I'd been there and still feel bitter and upset that I wasn't there.

You are actually helping me with your description of the cancer's progress.

I wish I could be more articulate but what I really want to say is I support your decision to stay and hope you can retain the strength and humor this blog has shown you possess.

Kevin Kim said...

I appreciate the comment (as well as the other, unpublished comment in which you identified yourself). Others have told me that I'm "exactly where I need to be," which I think is true. I'm grateful for your wisdom from the other end of the same situation.

Chaz Stevens said...


I followed your words in days past and just "rediscovered" you - thanks to the power of "Hey... I backed up! Holy crap."

With that kidding aside, I offer my gentle and kind thoughts to you and your family in this time of need...

I will readily admit that I am not wise, sagely, or profound. In fact, most of my wisdom is borrowed from others. Even with that in mind, perhaps a lesson I learned from Tony Robbins may offer a small bit of solace to you when you ponder your "walk".

"It's okay to replace one dream with another".

As my Dad would say, rub some dirt on it and walk it out.

You keep writing and I will keep reading.

Best of luck,

Kevin Kim said...

Thanks for stopping by, Chaz. Hope we'll see you here often.