يرحمك الله جدي
(literally: " 'Nonno', May God Have Mercy on You")
I remember the time growing up when I found out that my grandfather, whose roots lay in the town of
On my twenty-first birthday, he and my grandmother, with I was living while an undergraduate student, took me out to dinner at a Chinese restaurant in
When I was five, a kindergartener, I was asked by my classmates why I didn’t look like my “mommy and daddy.” As a curious five-year-old, I went home and asked my parents. They told me that I was adopted, which of course I was unable to fully comprehend as I can now as an adult. Although I don’t remember this well, I became very upset when I found out that my biological father was still alive. I felt that he did not want me, not understanding that widowers don’t raise children in Korean culture by themselves, and that it had nothing to do with me personally. I also thought that my parents were trying to keep my biological father from me. They had to write a letter stating that if he ever came looking for me and wanted to see me, they were okay with that. Apparently, I had to read the letter and watch them hand it over to the adoption agency.
Until that evening almost seven years ago, I had never felt that anyone else knew what it was like to have felt that way about being adopted. I've been thinking about that evening a lot this past week, since hearing that my grandfather was in the hospital, and it's probably something I won't soon forget.
Goodbye, Nonno. Rest in peace.