A couple of years ago, my nephew Jason introduced google photo to me. After trying it for 5 minutes, I gave up. This year, again, Jason created a google photo album to share our family gathering photos. Seeing how much he liked the product, I decided to give it another try.
Those who are familiar with google photo know that one of its features is that it will automatically create some collage or photo album for you based on the photos on your PC. Because of that, suddenly, I saw a lot of Karin’s photos. My sister Karin passed away 4 years ago.
I miss Karin. Even now, I often have an urge of calling her. We used to talk often… whenever she had discover a new kitchen tool or an amazing face cream, saw a good TV show, or found a good travel package; whenever I needed a recipe, was bored, or wanted to hear her voice… Talking to her made me happy.
One day, after Karin had her chemo treatment, we went to a restaurant that she frequently visited. A waiter, who was not serving at our table, stopped by and warmly greeted Karin. I wasn’t surprised. Karin was well-liked at that restaurant. One time when one of the waitresses had a family emergency but didn’t have money to go home, without any hesitation, Karin gave her some money.
Karin definitely had a big heart. She had sponsored some needed children oversea for many years, and whenever someone asked for help, she seldom said no. I had a discussion with her about this one time. “How do you know they are telling you the truth?” I asked.
“They wouldn’t lie to me,” she said.
“In that case, I need some money, too.”
“How much?” she said, and paused. She then looked into my eyes and added, “You are my sister. If you need money, let me know, okay?”
That day at the restaurant, I watched that waiter chatting with Karin excitedly. He asked why they hadn’t seen her for a while. He wanted to know how her summer was. They seemed having a great time talking to each other. With a huge smile still hanging on his face, suddenly, he pointed at her cap and asked: “Why are you wearing that today? I have never seen you wear a cap.”
Karin struggled to keep a smile on her face; she, clearly, didn’t know what to say. She looked at me, her eyes begging for help. I didn’t know what to say either. I didn’t know what I could say that wouldn’t hurt Karin’s feeling. I didn’t know what I wanted to say.
We sat there looking at each other. I prayed that by making eye contact with her, I could somehow comfort her. Eventually, the waiter figured out. He quickly walked away.
This whole experience bothered me. I failed protecting Karin when she needed me the most. I had been thinking about this, wondering what would be the right thing to say, and I haven’t come up with anything that would satisfy me. The truth was: I didn’t want my sister get sick. I refused talking about her illness.
Recently, I spent a lot of time staring at Karin’s photos. It finally dawned on me that no matter how unwilling I was at that moment, I should tell the truth. I should have said, “Karin is having chemo. We are happy that she is doing well.”
Sometime silence hurt. I felt it then. I feel it, still.
(I miss you, Karin.)
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