I hope you can understand why I haven't blogged in the last few days. I am sitting here in the room alone with Andrew as he is heavily sedated and on his last leg of his journey here on earth. The past few days have been an extremely emotional and physically draining. Relatives have started coming in from all over the country. Yesterday, Uncle Chan Soo, Aunties Jeannie and Cindy came in from the west coast. And of course my brother and Andrew's favorite, Uncle Albert and Auntie Jennifer and cousin Margot came in as well. Many tears were shed as they said there final hellos and goodbyes.
Today, was the toughest day. This morning Jennifer and I had the difficult task, that no parent should have to say to their children, to tell Andrew there is nothing else the doctors can do and that he is dying.
Andrew was semi lucid and opened his eyes ever so slowly to hear us. We asked if he understood the situation and whether he knew he would go into the arms of Jesus as passes from this ever so temporary earth and go into eternal glory with God. He nodded yes. We knew going into transplant that Andrew had given his life to Jesus Christ and understood what John 3:16 says in the Bible:
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son (Jesus Christ), that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
Andrew understood where he was going. He may not have had a lifetime to grow in his faith, but he acted out his faith in so many ways! I will elude to this later.
We later asked if he was scared and he nodded and told him to not be. We told him Jesus is waiting with open arms and he would be smiling in his perfect body glorifying God in eternity! We told him not to hold on for us and that his family would be okay. We told him we didn't want him to suffer and that it was okay to goto Jesus. He nodded!
Andrew was being so brave as he tried to hold off more pain meds to stay somewhat lucid to "see" his friends and family. That's what kind of strong boy he is! Jenn and I believe he has hung on so far because of others! With that being said, he had his Hinsdale Central boys come by: Ryan, Cameron, Andy, Marc, Jonathon and Ritchie. The next thing that happened blew me away!!! We told Andrew his friend from Central were here and from his eyes being closed, HIS EYES FLEW WIDE OPEN AND HE SMILED!!! HE HASN'T SHOWN ANY EMOTIONS BUT PAIN ON HIS FACE THE PAST MONTH IN ICU AND HE SMILED TODAY!!!!!
The next surprise came when Andrew woke back up after the boys left and looked at me. I asked Andrew for a kiss and he puckered up, I kissed him and he SMILED AT ME!!!!!! I will never forget that kiss and smile. It was as if Andrew was saying Dad, it's okay, I will be okay. He proceeded to pucker up for Grandma and Grandpa, Jennifer, Yun and his sisters. He was so cute as he lied there with his lips all ready to smooch. He made everyone's day! The Park side of the family all showed up: Auntie Sunny, cousin Sophia, Auntie Tina, Uncle Dom, Baby D, Uncle Richard and Auntie Jeannie and baby Anderson. Andrew so loves his Aunts and Uncles! He loved Baby D and the little cousins! But the Uncle and Aunt he loves the most is Uncle Albert and Auntie Jennifer. The blessing of what those two have done for the kids over the years cannot be repaid!!!
There was some levity as well during the day. We talked about Andrew's taste for Cheetoes and how he always had a stash of chips, mints, gum, candy and gatorade always at the ready in his back pack. We spoke of how Andrew would have as much Hooter's wings in heaven without he fear of pancreatitis. Most of the family's funny and heartwarming stories were always associated with food! We talked of how Andrew and his Grandfather (ha-bah-ghee) would be able to play unlimited golf in heaven and have as many 10th hole foot long hotdogs;-) We tried to laugh and celebrate his life today as well. But I know it was particularly tough for my mom and dad. I have never seen my dad cry like he did! You just don't see first generation Korean men do that. It showed how much my dad loves Andrew!
More visitors came and left and Jennifer and I are exhausted! But with the help of my best friends Dan, Don and Pastor Michael, I made it through this incredibly difficult yet joyous day. These men understand that you need not speak to a person that is grieving, but just be there for them. Just be.
Again, no one should have to tell their kids they are dying, but on the other hand, I have the honor to pass my son to his Heavenly Father who has and always will love him more than I could ever have. So with that reality, I have a modicum of piece in my heart. Again the peace that Philippians 4:6-7 speaks of:
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
As I am looking at my sick child, I have divergent feelings. On one hand I am sad that Andrew is suffering and broken, but on the other hand, I am glad he will be in eternal peace. I know there will be many day ahead after Andrew is gone where it will be painful for our family, but I know God will not forsake us or leave us. Hebrews 13:5:
“...Never will I leave you never will I forsake you.”
One of Andrew's friends asked why Andrew? And I replied why not. Andrew lived a "full" life in his 17 years here on earth. I believe he was put here to bless others. I don't know if you remember, but one constant prayer I have had for the kids throughout their lives is that they would bless others! Well, Andrew did that.
-Pray Andrew would be at peace as he goes to Jesus. Pray he would feel no pain!
-Pray for Jennifer, Yun and myself that we would have the strength to be there for Bry and Emily and that we would be able to grieve in a healthy fashion.
-Pray for my parents and family as they grieve and try to process Andrew's imminent passing and ultimately his death.
***As far as funeral arrangements, Jenn, Yun and I will decide on how to celebrate and memorialize this life. Please respect the decisions of our family. We will try to have a intimate gathering for family only and then a celebration service for the throng of loved ones of Andrew.
Love You All!