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Volume 16, Number 2
February 6, 2010

opinion

Also in this section:
Editorial: Ditching the rule of law, for what?
Bernal, Predatory power
Jackson, Looking ahead --- and above
Sirias, Pacifying the gatekeepers
Leis, Neither censorship nor violence
Kim, Mom
Weisbrot, Why Washington cares about countries like Haiti and Honduras
Obama, State of the Union address
McDonnell, GOP response to the State of the Union address
Reporters Without Borders, US marines censor Haitian photojournalist
Human Rights Watch, The successors to Colombia's AUC paramilitary
Amnesty International, Recommendations to the new Honduran government
Weeks, Ecuador's trials with democracy
Haperskij, Europe and Cuba
Fillion-Robin, Harper and Canadian parliamentary democracy
Hursthouse & Ayuso, ¿Cambio? The Obama administration in Latin America
Carlsen, Isacson, Smith & Barry, Obama and the Americas
Letters to the editor

Define: Mom
by Angela Kim

Many events happened in the year 2009. There was the inauguration of the first African-American president ever, Barack Obama. The outbreak of the H1N1 influenza virus filled everyone's hearts with fear. And the tragic losses of Patrick Swayze and the "King of Pop," Michael Jackson, made the world grieve. All of these incidents affected me greatly. However, there has just been one that has changed my life completely. Last July, my mother was diagnosed with thyroid-gland cancer.

My mind was still in shock when I returned to Panama --- all by myself --- from Korea. I wanted to stay longer with Mom, but I had to come back earlier since school was to start a week before her surgery. For the first time in my life, I was separated from my mom. This was different from the Girl Scouts' Camping Nights or the slumber parties at friends' houses. This separation involved tears, nightmares, hallucinations, and moments of depression. Of course, it wasn't just me who was affected. Mom's kitchen seemed lonelier than ever, her seat in the dining room stayed untouched; our dog Maxine lost her energetic aura; and Dad, well, I can't even describe the extent of his distress.

Unexpectedly, the excruciating pain and overwhelming fear ended up enlightening me. Until I faced this experience, I never noticed the big space Mom occupied in my world. Her existence had become such an obvious part of my life that I trivialized it, instead of cherishing and appreciating it each day.

Now, with Mom's sudden absence, I immediately noticed the vast gap in my life. When I returned home from school, I didn't have my friend to gossip with about high school drama. When I was hungry, craving for a snack, I didn't have my personal chef to make me something delicious. When I was depressed, or going through a mood swing, I missed my counselor and her wise advice. And when I had trouble focusing on my studies, I wished for the dictator's return to motivate my brain. I realized then that Mom didn't have one, single role in my life: instead I learned that she had been everything I needed her to be.

As soon as Mom was diagnosed with cancer, various permanent changes came into her life. She won't be able to carry heavy objects or scream on the top of her lungs anymore. She will have to take hormone pills every day, go to check-ups every six months, and live with the pink scar the surgery left on her neck. But the factor that worried our family the most was the possibility of a relapse. It is true that this possibility is very low. Yet, on the other hand, the chance of actually being diagnosed with thyroid cancer was only five-percent and Mom was unfortunate enough to fall into this small category. Knowing this, it was not easy to let our guards down, even after the surgery's successful result.

But Mom, who was the actual victim, refused to be seen as a pitiful weakling. She understood what had happened to her and what could happen in the future, but she didn't mope, and neither did she ask others to mope for her.

"I'm not dead, and I won't die for another 30 years. I may not be able to do the same things I did before, but the fact that I'm alive won't change," she said without a trace of doubt in an unfaltering voice. With this statement, Mom assumed an unprecedented role in my life. For the first time, I saw her as a fighter who acknowledged reality but denied to give in to its tricks. She became my greatest role model, someone I could look up to and say, "Wow, I wish I could be like her."

If someone asked me to define the word 'mom,' I would give the definition that's in Wikipedia: "a biological or social female parent of an offspring." But if I'm asked to define my mom, I wouldn't know where to start or where to finish. The only thing I'd be able to do assuredly is to smile and reply, "Let's just say that she is one amazing woman whom I love very much."


Angela Kim is a junior at Balboa Academy



Also in this section:
Editorial: Ditching the rule of law, for what?
Bernal, Predatory power
Jackson, Looking ahead --- and above
Sirias, Pacifying the gatekeepers
Leis, Neither censorship nor violence
Kim, Mom
Weisbrot, Why Washington cares about countries like Haiti and Honduras
Obama, State of the Union address
McDonnell, GOP response to the State of the Union address
Reporters Without Borders, US marines censor Haitian photojournalist
Human Rights Watch, The successors to Colombia's AUC paramilitary
Amnesty International, Recommendations to the new Honduran government
Weeks, Ecuador's trials with democracy
Haperskij, Europe and Cuba
Fillion-Robin, Harper and Canadian parliamentary democracy
Hursthouse & Ayuso, ¿Cambio? The Obama administration in Latin America
Carlsen, Isacson, Smith & Barry, Obama and the Americas
Letters to the editor

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