Too Close to Home

Still 300 high school students and other passengers missing from an overturned ferry in South Korea. My heart goes out to the parents and families.

The kids had been heading to Jeju Island for a four-day trip on a school holiday. They were students from Danwon High School in Ansan, which is near Seoul. It’s gut-wrenching for me to look at the photos and read the last texts from the students on the ferry, even though South Korea is so very far away. The other side of the world, actually. People I don’t know and will never meet. A different culture, different environment, different lifestyle. But next year,  Megan will be in high school in South Korea. It hits too close to home.

I refuse to read books or watch TV shows about missing and abused children. I have never seen Saving Private Ryan and I don’t intend to. My imagination runs wild enough the way it is.  Had Megan been there this year, it wouldn’t have been likely that she would have been on that ferry, but it would have been possible. It doesn’t bear thinking about. I refuse.

Will she be safe in South Korea? Most likely. And you know, awful things can happen at home just as easily as they can happen abroad. I just have to think about the fact that usually, normal people live normal lives. Percentage-wise, nobody in my family will ever have to worry about drowning on a ferry or losing their home to a tornado. But still…

…I just can’t think about it anymore. I have to take a deep breath and wave goodbye as she gets on the airplane this August. She would be heartbroken if she didn’t get to go. She told me the other day that if I ever go back to Italy that I should be sure to take her with me. I won’t be surprised if she ends up teaching English as a second language in South Korea someday.

I’m the mom who will keep the home fires burning for my daughter with the adventurous spirit. I’ll also be on my knees for her every day, and for all the families grieving in South Korea.

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