My Aunt Sunny died a week ago. Her funeral was yesterday. I thoroughly despise funerals, but we went anyways. I’m glad we did.
I loved Aunt Sunny, although I can’t claim to have known her very well, not deeply anyhow. But I have always felt like there was something in her heart that recognized something in my heart – a little girl who never quite knew how to fit with her cousins, and she loved me. More over she liked me. I felt like she would like me no matter what.
She used to let me help her make bulgogi (it’s a korean beef dish she would make at almost every family reunion). I worked side by side with her, skewering bits of beef onto sticks and felt very special and very loved – she frequently shooed people out of the kitchen, but not me 😀
And sometimes she would fixed me kimchi pancakes while i sat on a barstool at the counter – she did the same for my dad when he was young. Uncle kyle is my dad’s oldest brother, and dad was the youngest brother, so i guess Aunt Sunny was kind of like an aunt to him, too. Dad’s parents were divorced and i think dad kinda got lost in the shuffle sometimes but aunt sunny really loved him – she showed him love, my dad always said.
She’d buy my brothers and i korean treats; i can’t remember the names of most of them but they were always exotic and delicious.
The few times i got to go to the korean store with her, when we were having a family reunion and bulgogi night was up, were very special events: driving around with aunt sunny, being introduced to people i could barely understand as her niece (i was so proud to be with her), smelling the strange scents in the store, getting a special korean soda in a glass bottle with a ball that you popped inside to open it… all treasured in my memory.
I went to walmart this weekend – I needed some canned coconut milk to make ice ‘cream’.
Our walmart has a very tiny oriental section. I saw the fried noodles, sesame seed oil that’s so important in bulgogi, sweet and sour sauce (i think she made her own), and a small stack of boxes of Pocky (little chocolate covered biscuit sticks i vaguely remember her buying me once).
My eyes filled with tears, because of all the memories. I got a box of chocolate pocky and shared them with my boys and my husband.
Aunt sunny’s funeral was yesterday. The pastor who did the services smiled the entire time and it annoyed me, also he didn’t even mention her being a brilliant cook and a funny aunt. In fact, he didn’t really know her at all, poor guy.
Still i was glad i went.
I could barely look into the casket as i passed by the front, but i hugged my cousins and my uncle kyle and whispered, “We’re going to miss her so much.”
I will find (or make) some fermented kimchi, and make myself some kimchi pancakes, and remember my aunt Sunny who liked me so much, and i liked her.
I read a beautiful definition of the term ‘Namaste’ once: ‘The light that is in me recognizes the light that is in you.’
That is how i felt about Aunt Sunny and how she treated me.
Namaste, Aunt Sunny. You were appreciated and loved.