I have so many more photos to post from our trip still, but we’re home now. It’s always disorienting to come home from a long trip. It’s like hitting the un-pause button and everything that was on hold rushes back around you. It’s also never easy saying goodbye to family and friends that you only see once or twice a year. So many goodbyes.
Mark told me something yesterday that really broke my heart. He went by my grandmother’s apartment to catch a ride with my uncle to my mom’s house to pick up our car which has been parked there during our trip. My oldest aunt, the only one who still lives in Korea of my mom’s 4 siblings has been visiting our family in the states for 3 months. She leaves this Wednesday. Mark told me that grandma was sad when my uncle came by to pick her up. It then occurred to me that this is quite possibly their last goodbye. Both are too frail and old to make the long journey to either Seoul or NY. I can’t imagine saying goodbye to your mother or your own daughter with the knowledge that you will never see them again. It’s incomprehensible, really. It shatters my heart every time I think about it. I wish all our family was near.
The girls have been saying that phrase often since we’ve been home. “We’re never going to see Tobi again”. Claudine had a hard time sleeping on our first night home. If you know our kids, then you know how easy bedtime is for the girls, so it’s saying a lot that she kept getting up every hour from 8pm-midnight. She kept saying that something was bothering her, that she missed Tobi. They both woke up in the morning and wanted to draw pictures of him (C’s is on top, Mia’s on the bottom). This isn’t the first time I came home from a long trip to a cat-less house. Unbeknown to me at the time, I lost my first cat to feline leukemia while I was traveling during the summer of 1991. I was so excited to come back and see my cat, a kitten that I rescued in Minnesota just a year before. He traveled to the West Coast with me perched on the top of my backpack during long hikes through the Redwoods and Mt Shasta before heading back East. This was a time without cell phones so I had no idea what was going on, only that I came back to no cat in sight with his things stored neatly in the closet.
I don’t know which is worse. There doesn’t seem to be any closure this way. The girls keep saying that they hear him meowing and I do sometimes feel like at any time I’ll see him sitting at one of his favorite spots around the house. His absence is felt every time I do something that I wouldn’t have normally done because I had to make our place cat proof…leaving the toilet seat up, moving a plant to a windowsill or kitchen counter, making the bed and leaving the good sheets uncovered…