Archive for September, 2011

I am cramming a whole lot of living during my final months in the United States. The minutes, days and weeks are flying by and I want to savor every moment. Two-week vacation in Hawaii with my mother  and brother to celebrate the end of her chemotherapy. Weekends at the beach  with friends filled with long walks, games, food and laughter. Visits up north to Vancouver, BC for my best friend’s wedding and baby shower. I know that everything is about to change and this will be our last visit before we have children. Trips to the Korean spa will soon be replaced with children’s museums. And even then it will be many years before I return to Seattle with my daughter, surrounMy brother and I enjoy shave ice at Waiola Store – lychee is my favorite!ded by my community, friends and family.

The other morning I was walking my friend’s son to day care. Every time we crossed the street, he reached up to hold my hand. When we arrived on the sidewalk he’d drop my hand and speed ahead with the energy of a 4-year old boy. People walked by and smiled at us, at the happy image of a mother and son. And in that moment I realized this would be my life. Next year, I’m adopting a daughter in Vietnam.

Last weekend, I was reminded to live in the moment – don’t dwell on the past or skip ahead, all we really have is this moment, this breath. My mother and I attended a 3-day workshop at Harmony Hill, a cancer retreat center in Hood Canal. My mother’s treatment was completed five months ago and her CT scan and blood tests have come back clean – she’s cancer-free!  Every time my mother tells people she has cancer, I correct her with “had” cancer. Many of the retreat participants have had recurrences, and most survivors live with this ongoing fear. These women and men were amazing, and despite the statistics are trying to live each moment with joy. Caregivers also expressed their challenges, and I was able to let go of my guilt for leaving my mother to move to Vietnam. This past year has been phenomenal, and I don’t regret a minute of my time in Seattle. My mother will have tests for the rest of her life, but I need to move on with my life and go to Vietnam.

Tomorrow, I head to New York for two weeks on the East Coast with family and friends in New York, Connecticut and Vermont. It’s my final journey back east and there will be many goodbyes. In November, I return to Southeast Asia starting in Bali and Vietnam. And there will be many more hellos.

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