Two Years

How much is she missed?

How often have we wondered what it would be like if she was here? Would she have run in this ice-cold weather, as crazy as she was? What wisecrack would she have said at the women’s retreat this weekend? What surprising, piercing wisdom would she offer to a new or old friend encountering another stage in life or hardship?

Every once in a while, I think to myself, “I wonder what she would have thought about that.” Or, “I wonder what she would have said…” I knew her well enough to guess.

And how much has she missed?

Audrey turning 10, Lindsay turning 13, Shannon turning 16, and me turning 40, for starters. Shannon starting to drive and getting her black belt. Lindsay starting horseback riding and navigating middle school. A few hundred nights of reading books and snuggling with Audrey.

So much missed so far, and so much more to miss.


This weekend marked two years after So Young’s death. The girls didn’t want to go to the grave (too sad, they said), so we decided to go out to dinner to remember her. We had a great time, but Audrey cried at bedtime, so we snuggled and talked until she felt better.

Nothing really makes losing your mom (or spouse) completely OK, but we have a lot to be thankful for these days. God is in the business of restoration — big-picture and small-picture healing. When the big-picture healing is complete one day, Jesus will say, “Behold, I make all things new.” Meanwhile, I’m grateful for the daily, “some things” healing He provides.

I think of her often in one way or another, but the thoughts have slowly become less grief from a tragedy and more memories from 20 years of life together. Emily has also been an instrument of God’s daily healing for all of us, unafraid of So Young’s memory, a true, godly partner and companion to me, and a loving, adoptive mother to the girls.

When a young person dies, it’s natural to think mostly of the tragedy at first, but how much more does it honor her to remember the way she lived and reflect on where she is now? The sadness and beauty of So Young’s passing is that she is painfully and acutely not here, and yet she is wonderfully and eternally somewhere else now, in heaven.

If you could hear me now, So Young, I’d say thank you for the legacy that continues to this day of being my wife and friend and a godly mother to the girls. You lived joyfully but with the weakness we all share. You struggled much in death, but even then, your faith and hope inspired us. Your young, strong body was ultimately frail, like we all are, but nothing could take the grace of God from you, and Jesus never left your side. Even as we continue to reluctantly say good-bye, we look forward in hope to being restored with you in heaven, in a little while. Until then…


6 Responses

  1. Was praying for you and your family the other day James. Thanks for posting.

  2. Great post, she’s remembered fondly brother. Mike Woo

  3. Hi.
    I do not mean to discount or deny any of you your grieving processes, however….
    You do not need to remain so “Earthbound” in your focus.

    There is no “if” to So Young’s ability to hear…

    It might be fun/ healing to go through “Heaven is for Real”, as a family. It’s perspective is consistent w/ Scripture and comforting in that it helps convey the perspective that this life is part of a seamless relatedness to our Creator/Savior. Hebrews 11,12,13 is pretty plain & was written to Believers who were in circumstances like our persecuted Brethren in Syria, Iraq & Libya.

    Best Regards,

  4. What a beautiful post, thank you for sharing your journey with us. ❤

  5. Words cannot describe how much So Young meant to our entire family. Her loss has had so many ripple effects. My wife had no closer friend in this world, and I don’t think she ever will. “SYP,” as Kim affectionately nick named So Young in middle school (shorthand for So Young Park) was truly in a class all by herself in terms of being genuinely an amazing human being. Since the death of my daughter in 2000, I’ve often thought that death would never sting as much. And though always sad, I have rarely cried at a funeral since then. But So Young’s passing was devastating because in so many ways, her friendship buoyed my wife. They were such kindred spirits, and SYP was one of the best real life examples of true Christian character that we were privileged to know.

    So Young truly ran a race worthy of the high calling that Paul wrote of in his epistles. And as you so aptly described, her stellar character remained so, even throughout her entire ordeal. God was glorified through her life, and as painful as it is, He will continue to be in every cherished memory of one of the best friends that any of us could ever hope to have in this life.

  6. Thank you for sharing your thoughts. I miss her very much and often think of her when I am running especially on the trails. Hugs to the girls.

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